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Tips For Cooperative Coparenting During a Divorce

Tips For Cooperative Coparenting During a Divorce

When you’re a parent, getting a divorce takes on a whole different meaning. Not only are you focused on making sure the divorce proceedings go well, but you’re worried about your kids. Ideally, you should be able to engage in some cooperative coparenting to keep your children from feeling like they’re losing a mom or a dad just because your marriage hasn’t worked out.

The concept of cooperative coparenting is pretty much as it sounds. When people decide to co-parent, they collectively take on the task of raising and guiding their kids. In fact, as one coparenting curriculum has noted, cooperative coparenting is all about sharing child-rearing responsibilities.

If you’re diving into a divorce situation and you have children of any age, cooperative coparenting could be a good way to make sure your youngsters don’t feel too confused or left out. Even if your children are older, including teens and young adults, cooperative coparenting can help you and your soon-to-be-ex concentrate on what really matters.

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The Advantages of Cooperative Coparenting

Not quite sure that you could ever enter into a cooperative coparenting agreement with your husband or wife? You might want to consider it for the advantages that it offers.

The first upshot of cooperative coparenting is that you might have to spend less on family attorney fees. Though we’ll talk about lawyering items in a bit, it’s worth bringing legal professionals into the picture. The more in tune you and your ex are about cooperative coparenting, the less time your lawyers will spend arguing. In turn, you’ll pay less out of pocket and save more of your money.

A second positive impact of cooperative coparenting is that it shows your kids that you’re taking their needs seriously. No, you can’t continue with your marriage as-is. However, you aren’t about to forget about your parenting duties. That’s important for children to understand. It also helps them feel less like they’re going to get lost in all the confusion and stress.

What’s a third reason to cooperatively parent your kid or kids? You’ll help them follow suit if they end up in the same position later in life. For example, if they happen to get divorced as adults, they’ll be more likely to consider cooperative coparenting to raise their own families in a healthy, satisfying way.

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A final upside to cooperative coparenting is that you’ll have less stress over what happens with your children. Many divorced people say they feel like single parents for at least for a little while. Having a cooperative coparenting plan laid out from the beginning bypasses that concern.

Ready for some tips about how to implement cooperative coparenting into your divorce proceedings and beyond? Read on to find out how to cooperatively coparent, as well as how to anticipate the “little things” that come with cooperating with an ex-spouse.

cooperative coparenting

Finding Your Lawyer

As part of your divorce, you should make finding a good family lawyer one of your main goals. If you’re going to engage in cooperative coparenting, find a family law lawyer who believes in this type of arrangement. Believe it or not, some legal professionals are not as supportive of cooperative coparenting as others. Or, they might not understand how to set up a cooperative coparenting arrangement.

When you’re interviewing potential lawyers to take on your divorce case, make sure to ask them about their experiences with cooperative coparenting. The more you know about their expertise in this area, the better. You can even ask them for some examples of how they’ve helped other couples successfully coparent during and after a divorce.

As a final note about finding a good lawyer who values collaboration as much as you do, be sure to read online reviews from past clients. You’ll get a good sense of how well the lawyer was able to guide other people through coparenting issues during the divorce situation.

Considering Mediation

Depending upon the state where you’re getting your divorce, you may be required to undergo divorce mediation. Even if you’re not expected to try mediation, you might consider it. Mediation is a lower-cost method to get you and your ex on the same page without the need for lawyers at the bargaining table.

For instance, a professional divorce mediator would sit down with you and your spouse. The three of you would talk about everything from financials to cooperative coparenting. Though the mediator wouldn’t make suggestions, the mediator could help you come to agreements on a number of factors. You and your spouse could then take your agreed-upon items back to your respective lawyers to add to the documentation that your lawyers present to the court.

Again, mediation doesn’t work in all situations, especially if you have a contentious divorce. Nevertheless, it could be worth looking into.

divorce proceeding

Keeping Cooperative Coparenting in Mind During Divorce Proceedings

It can be very difficult to focus on cooperative coparenting when you’re in the midst of a heated divorce. Even if your spouse seemed to be fairly laid-back about the divorce at the beginning, things could change rapidly. Bringing child custody matters, not to mention child custody attorneys, into the mix can exacerbate problems and ignite emotions.

Above all else, try to remember that you’re not cooperative coparenting for yourself. You’re doing it for your kids. Saying this over and over will help you feel less angry when your divorce proceedings don’t go as planned.

Keeping Your Kids at the Center of Everything

Along the aforementioned lines, you may want to jot down some of the pros of cooperative coparenting. Having them written out will help you focus on the needs of your children, rather than worrying about your own needs all the time.

For instance, outline all the ways that cooperative coparenting will help you in your specific circumstances. Will it allow you to fret less about where your children will be living? Will it lower your worries about suddenly becoming a single parent? Cooperative coparenting can be a blessing. You just have to get through the initial rough patches.

Along the way, you may want to ask your child custody attorney to explain child custody law to you. That way, you understand what to expect from your cooperative coparenting arrangements. Many divorced moms and dads forget that their cooperative coparenting agreement has to be in line with the law to be legally binding. Be certain to have a discussion with your attorney to stay informed.

Determining child support

Determining Child Support

Contrary to popular belief, child support is not determined by the divorcing parents. Instead, it’s issued by the court. However, the court may take your cooperative coparenting agreement into consideration when deciding on the right level of child support.

Usually, the parent who makes more gives money to the parent who makes less. The exact figure will vary depending upon a host of issues and circumstances. Even if you’re coparenting and sharing physical custody of your children with your ex-spouse, you may still need to pay child support if you earn more. That’s only fair because the money will go toward helping pay for things your kids’ needs, like braces for children or private school tuition.

Dealing With Disciplinary Needs

When you’re coparenting, you will eventually have to deal with disciplinary situations. These happen whether you’re divorced or not, but they can seem more overwhelming when you and your ex aren’t in the same location.

Though you don’t need to talk about every disciplinary action, you and the other parent should speak before making major disciplinary decisions. For example, grounding a child for the rest of the school year can mess up everyone’s schedule, and it might be too extreme a reaction. Then again, it might be totally appropriate if the child did something particularly bad.

Before making any long-term or harsh disciplinary choices, always talk to the other parent as per your cooperative coparenting agreement. Yes, it can seem silly to essentially “seek permission,” but think of how you’d feel if the roles were reversed. You wouldn’t want to be told that your son or daughter lost their phone if you use the phone to stay connected when they’re not with you.

Splitting up Child Caring Responsibilities

What should your cooperative coparenting plan actually look like? That’s really up to you and the other parent. You can start by thinking about everything you do for your kids, from taking them to childrens dentistry practitioners, to driving them to and from soccer practice.

You might be surprised at all the responsibilities that you don’t think about when you’re all living under the same roof. For instance, many parents who divorce have to get accustomed to dividing up arrangements that used to come naturally. When parents aren’t living together, they have to make extra efforts to share tasks. Have patients with this process. In time, it will become much more natural.

Getting Creative With Housing

Getting Creative With Housing Arrangements

One of the best parts of any cooperative coparenting arrangement is that it’s completely unique to the situation. There isn’t any one-size-fits-all answer. That means you get to construct a plan that’s right for your changing family’s needs and beliefs, including where everyone lives.

Though it’s by no means commonplace, some parents who wholeheartedly embrace cooperative coparenting decide to share living in the family home. Essentially, they allow the kids to keep living in the same house, but the parents “swap” living arrangements every week or so. The parents may even share living in an offsite apartment. This way, the children have less disruption in their lives, and the parents still get to spend time in the house they love.

Again, this type of unusual cooperative coparenting plan isn’t for everyone. Some couples would never see eye-to-eye to make it work. However, it shows just how imaginative you and your ex can be. If your kids are older, or you simply like to bring them into all decisions, you could even see what they suggest. You might be amazed at what you can come up with in terms of making the divorce less of a negative experience and more of a positive one.

Keeping Things Consistent at Both of Your Homes

As mentioned before, most families engaged in cooperative coparenting do end up living in separate households. This means that the children wind up moving back and forth at pre-scheduled times.

In order to make the moves from household to household less jarring for the kids, try to keep everything as consistent as you can. For instance, a very young child might like having the same type of baby bedding at both houses. Older kids might not care so much about the types of furnishings they have but will want access to their favorite personal care items like soaps, shampoo, conditioner, creams, toothpaste, and even makeup.

Do your best to streamline everything between households. Don’t negate kids’ needs for stability and consistency, either. It’s important for them as they become more accustomed to your new family arrangement.

Dealing With New Romantic Partners

Eventually, you or your ex is going to start dating and getting involved with romantic partners. During your initial talks about cooperative coparenting, you may want to discuss this possibility. Namely, how is it going to affect the way you deal with your kids? Are you going to agree not to go on dates on the weeks when you have your children? At what point in time is it appropriate to introduce your kids to a romantic partner?

These are very tough questions. There’s no clear answer. Yet they are topics that need to be brought up sooner rather than later. Understanding how to deal with dating will help you and your spouse avoid blow-ups about the subject.

Final Thoughts on Cooperative Coparenting

Divorces always involve strong emotions and difficult choices. That’s just par for the courses. Still, you can try to reduce your difficulties if you’re a parent by adopting the philosophy of no-holds-barred cooperative coparenting.

Talk to your ex, if you can, about cooperative coparenting, as well as your family law attorney. The more information you have on this practice, the more you’ll know if it’s the right course of action for your family’s situation.

Tired Mom Supermom uses personal experiences and research to help you in your parenting journey. Tired mom supermom is not a psychologist and you should seek professional help and advice if you are having difficulties with raising your children.

If you struggle with getting your kids to listen without nagging, yelling or losing control, join this absolutely FREE ONLINE CLASS that teaches parents how to battle common parenting struggles!

Resources

Divorces always involve strong emotions and difficult choices. That’s just par for the courses. Still, you can try to reduce your difficulties if you’re a parent by adopting the philosophy of no-holds-barred cooperative coparenting.

Elizabeth is a mom of 3 and has a passion for helping children reach their human potential. She enjoys helping parents raise confident and healthy kids by explaining how to handle situations using positive and peaceful parenting.