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Co-parenting isn't easy, but it can work

Divorce is very difficult for adults to handle, but even more so for children. Now that you and your husband have agreed that divorce is your best option, it is time to decide how you will continue to successfully parent your children.

While you know that your divorce is not going to be 100 percent friendly, you know for certain that you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to the kids. Co-parenting will not be easy, but the both of you understand that it will provide stability and closer relationships with your children versus the typical court ordered custody arrangements. A New York attorney can help you negotiate a plan that works for you and your future ex-husband.

Once you and your spouse put aside your relationship issues in order to effectively co-parent, there are many tools available to help you conquer the many challenges you will face. Read below for tips on how to successfully co-parent after divorce.

Consistency is key

An important part of growing up is learning how to be flexible and to look at things from different perspectives. However, it is important for your children to have structure. This means that the rules and expectations at your house should be the same or similar to those at their father's house. For example, you should both enforce the same curfew, homework rules, and prohibit the same activities.

You and your spouse should have similar systems of discipline if your children break the rules. The discipline should also carry over from one household to another. If your 10-year old son is grounded by his father for a full week starting Monday, you should enforce that grounding when he comes to you house on Thursday.

Joint decisions

You and your husband should discuss certain decisions regarding medical issues, education, and financial requirements that are crucial to your children's welfare. You should either attend doctor appointments together or keep each other updated in order to effectively handle health care needs. Also, discuss the cost of maintaining two separate households and set a realistic budget.

Handling potential problems

Communication and respect are two major factors in making a co-parenting plan work. Regardless of your feelings toward your future ex-husband, remain focused on the needs of your children. Be considerate and tactful when you are letting him know about scheduling issues such as school or extracurricular activities.

Don't focus on minor disagreements and save your energy for bigger issues. Be willing to compromise on small issues such as bedtimes. Keeping the communication channels open and staying flexible will keep stress level down and be more beneficial to the children.

Child custody does not have to be an ugly court battle. For advice on developing an effective co-parenting custody plan, contact a local New York attorney experienced with family law.

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