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How can parents navigate co-parenting?

For many Minnesota residents, the dream is to get married and start a family. Even when this dream is achieved, it is not always everlasting. Married parents are often faced with the difficult decision of dissolution. And, when they decide divorce is best for them, both parents must focus on how their decisions during the process could impact their children.

How can parents navigate co-parenting before and after divorce? If joint custody is the child custody agreement determined, a co-parenting relationship is often the most suitable. But, this is typically the best scenario for divorced parents who are able to keep the communication channels open and collaborate through any issues that might occur.

In order to maintain a strong co-parenting relationship, it is usually best to stay out of court as much as possible. If parents are willing to work together, they will be able to resolve disputes through negotiation tactics.

However, entering a co-parenting situation does not automatically mean that both parents will know how to communicate effectively during and after dissolution. Thus, seeking help is always beneficial. Using a mediator could help progress the process, helping both parents overcome obstacles and communication problems.

In the post-divorce environment, it is important for parents to remember that his or her children are not their messengers. Therefore, any important messages should be communicated between parents whether it is face-to-face, on the phone, through text or by email. It is also paramount to note that the ex-spouse is still the child's parent, so they still have a say in parenting and an influential role in the co-parenting relationship.

Other factors to keep in mind include not talking poorly about the ex to the children, and keeping the children out of any disputes. Be careful to listen to the needs of children, and find the best communication tools that work for the entire family. The key is to always work together and stay united on parenting decisions and remember that co-parenting is an arrangement that focuses on the happiness of the children.

Even when divorced parents have a positive outlook when devising a co-parenting relationship, problems and pitfalls can still occur. It is important to understand how to navigate these situations and protect the rights and interests of everyone involved when trying to resolve these problems.

Source:, "13 Tips For Co-Parenting After A Divorce," Samantha Darby, April 14, 2016

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