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Planning for co-parenting during a divorce

The number of couples here in California and across the country who are resolving to continue to parent together after the marriage is over appears to be on the rise. People are more aware of the impact that divorce has on the children and want to be sure that both parents continue to be in the children's lives. Effectively co-parenting requires planning, which should take place during the divorce.

Despite the emotional upheaval that the parents are feeling, the children often have it worse because their world is changing, and they have no control over it. They need to know that no matter what happens with their parents' relationship, they are loved. It can be tempting to "go easy" on the children, and each parent might have a different way of expressing that sentiment, but it would not be in the best interest of the children post-divorce.

The children will be looking for stability, continuity and security. Therefore, parents need to determine what the rules will be -- regardless of whose home they are staying at on any given day. A routine needs to be established that is specific to the children and is adhered to by both parents. Discipline needs to be agreed upon since children will misbehave, especially under stress, and letting it slide now would be detrimental to everyone in the long run.

Any California couple who has underage children will be required to enter into some sort of child custody agreement before a divorce can be finalized. Many of those agreements include a parenting plan. This is the time to set out what co-parenting means for the family because in the immediate aftermath of the divorce, everyone will be emotionally drained. Being able to rely on the arrangements made during the divorce process could relieve some of the pressure and stress.

Source: The Huffington Post, "4 Reasons Why Co-Parenting Post Divorce Matters More Than Ever", Dana Westreich Hirt, April 11, 2016

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