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How can a parenting agreement help me to co-parent effectively?

Divorce is often a time of immense acrimony.  Tensions may naturally be high following any divorce.  When children are involved, it becomes essential for parents to put aside their hostilities in order to co-parent effectively.  Our Midland Texas child custody lawyers discuss how you can develop a parenting agreement that will allow your child to flourish post-divorce.

The Importance of Co-Parenting

Divorce can be hard on all parties involved, including young children.  Studies have shown that co-parenting successfully will help children to cope with divorce.  Co-parenting involves supporting the other parent’s relationship with your children.  A strong co-parenting plan will allow both parents to play an active role in the child’s life, which can be reinforced with a co-parenting schedule and conflict free transfer of children from one parent to the other.

Creating a Parenting Agreement

Even knowing the immense benefits of effective co-parenting, it can be extremely difficult for divorced parents to work together when emotions are running high.  One of the first steps you can take is to draft a parenting plan or agreement. Your parenting plan may be drafted with the assistance of your child custody lawyer.  In your parenting agreement, you will include your custody schedule.  This should be done with consideration towards the emotional needs of the child.  Make your schedule clear so that conflicts are less likely to arise.

In addition to a schedule, your parenting agreement should lay out how you will handle exchanges.  You and your ex can further stipulate to a list of parenting guidelines, or rules that each of you agrees to follow.  Guidelines could range from bed times to alcohol use around the children.

Support Each Other’s Relationships with the Child

Newly divorced parents should strive to support their child’s relationship with each parent.  Allow your ex the freedom to parent and spend time with your child, so long as it is safe.  Avoid derisive comments about your ex that will not benefit your child in the long run.  While it will not always be easy, focus on the end goal of ensuring your child is secure in his or her attachment to both you and your ex.  Your child custody attorney can assist you in creating a custody schedule and parenting plan that will best serve your you, your child, and your ex.