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Increasing the odds of successful co-parenting after divorce

Making co-parenting work can present some unique challenges for former spouses in Pennsylvania, some of which may be less of an issue if the best interests of the child are kept in mind. Parents are often advised to acknowledge the importance of the other parent in the child's life. Discouraging a child from talking about that parent or disparaging them may create unnecessary emotional issues or cause a child to identify more with the alienated parent.

While differences in parenting styles are a common contributing factor to divorce, having consistent rules in both homes can make the transition less stressful for children. This could simply mean defining basic expectations for everyone in each household, such as being respectful to one another. Even when visitation schedules are clearly spelled out in a child custody agreement, children may inadvertently make plans with a parent that create a conflict. Clearly posting a calendar or schedule in each home may minimize such occurrences.

Communicating in person or by phone post-divorce sometimes leads to increased animosity between ex-partners. Co-parenting communications may be easier when using a co-parenting website that allow communications involving school and medical matters to be recorded. Confirming details with texts or emails may further reduce confrontations. Children also tend to benefit from age-appropriate honesty about the main causes of the split and details of serious new relationships a parent may be involved in, especially if remarriage is being discussed.

If occasional scheduled visitations are canceled or a child is brought late, it may be possible for parents to work these issues out among themselves. However, if a custody dispute involves clear violations and habitual problems, a lawyer may step in and write a formal letter in an attempt to resolve the issue. Additional mediation efforts are sometimes required before enforcement actions are filed. Should these efforts fail, an attorney might suggest modifying the custody order and time share plan.

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