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How to be a good co-parent after a divorce

Parents in Pennsylvania who are getting a divorce should learn to work together in a way that prioritizes the best interests of the child. To that end, they should try to establish rules between their households that are consistent. The rules may need to be fairly general since disputes over parenting styles may have partially caused the divorce.

A parenting schedule that is clear and easily accessible to parents and children can help reduce the likelihood of conflicts or confusion. Parents can use text, email or online tools to communicate about scheduling. Children should not be dragged into the middle of conflicts or made to feel like they must choose sides.

Parents should not give their children false hope that they will get back together. If they do get back together, they should wait until everything is resolved to let children know. Furthermore, the parents should reassure their children that the divorce is not their fault, and they should offer simple but honest reasons for the split that do not place blame. They should also be cautious about introducing children to new partners early in the relationship. These relationships should be well-established first, and new partners may want to think of themselves as "assistant parents" rather than trying to assuming a full parenting role.

Negotiating child custody can be a difficult process, but parents should keep in mind that barring serious issues such as abuse, children should spend time with both parents. A parent may seek supervised visitation for the other parent if the child's well-being is in danger. Otherwise, the process of negotiating child custody may help establish a basis for healthy co-parenting after the divorce. However, even contentious litigation does not mean parents cannot effectively co-parent in the years ahead.

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