When parents in California get a divorce, they may need to continue cooperating with one another as co-parents. Parents should try to focus on what is in the best interests of their children. However, they may need more specific strategies to help them accomplish this.
Communication and cooperation
First, parents need good communication. Depending on what their relationship is like, they may want to agree on just using email or text to communicate about custody and visitation. There are also software programs that can facilitate communication between separated or divorced parents. These programs keep records of their exchanges in case it is needed later. Parents should make an effort to be civil with one another. They should also avoid interfering in the other parent’s time with the children. For example, a parent should avoid phoning children frequently if they are with the other parent.
Even parents who have a good co-parenting relationship may run into some challenges. A common source of conflict after divorce is the role a new partner may play in the child’s life. Another is one parent’s inability to keep up with child support payments. In the latter situation, it is important to understand that this should not be conflated with access. A parent who has fallen behind on support should still be able to see their children. In the parenting agreement, parents may want to agree to mediation as a way of addressing unresolved conflicts.
A good way to approach co-parenting is with the understanding that it is not a static situation. As the child grows up, their needs will change. This might in turn lead to changes in how co-parenting is done and even in the custody and visitation agreement.