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Texas parents: tips for smooth co-parenting after your divorce

Divorce is never easy for either party after all the negotiating and compromising that is involved in the end of a marriage. When children are involved the need to get along with your ex is extremely important for the wellbeing of your kids. After child custody is determined and visitation agreements are sewn up and both parents remain committed to being involved in the upbringing of their children, the concept of co-parenting begins.

One licensed psychologist and marriage and family therapist offers several tips for making your co-parenting efforts run smoothly after your divorce. Her first rule is to comply with the divorce and custody agreement. After spending as much time and effort as you did in hammering out the details with your divorce attorneys it is important to stick with the plan and if things change, work out the changes with your ex-spouse in advance as much as possible.

Sharing of important information, such as medical issues, school related functions and other items that affect both the parent and the child can be a huge help for everyone. If there is a recent success in the child's life, the other parent may want to celebrate that with their child when he or she has time with the child.
Talk about holidays, birthdays and other milestones several months in advance so there are no surprises for either the children or the parents. Keep the other parent involved in doctor and dentist appointments, especially if they occur on the other parents schedule with the kids. They may have other plans that could affect these appointments.

Be on time when you are supposed to either pick up or drop off your child. It can cause anxiety and stress for both the child and the parent if they are unexpectedly left waiting for a scheduled custody exchange. And lastly, make sure your child has everything he or she needs to visit with the other parent, including any medications, homework, school books and clothing. Agree with the other parent in advance on what items stay at which home and what needs to be returned.

It is possible to effectively co-parent your children after divorce if you both respect the other parent's time and involvement with the kids.

Source: The Huffington Post, "The 5 C's of Divorced Co-Parenting," Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., July 6, 2012

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