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The basics of co-parenting after a divorce

Above all else, divorced parents in Maryland and elsewhere are advised to keep their children's best interests in mind. This is just one piece of advice typically given to divorced individuals looking to successfully co-parent after a marriage ends. Barring dangerous situations, it's often best for a parent to not keep a child from another parent who may be unreliable or have other flaws. Doing so may cause them to falsely idolize that individual.

When it comes to co-parenting after a divorce, it can also help if the same basic rules apply to both households to maintain consistency. Confusion involving scheduling may be minimized by using an annual calendar with important dates highlighted that's kept in both homes. If there's the potential for conflict between former spouses, it may be better to confirm arrangements via email or text message instead of with phone calls.

Co-parenting post-divorce can also be more effective if parents avoid using the kids to communicate with one another and be honest about why they split in a way that's appropriate for the children's ages. Even reiterating that a child is not responsible for the divorce could ease divorce-related guilt. When new relationships develop, parents are encouraged to be cautious about to whom a child is introduced, so he or she doesn't form attachments and get hurt emotionally if things don't work out. One role of a step or "assistant" parent that may become part of the equation is to enforce parenting decisions.

If minor disagreements over co-parenting develop, it may be possible for parents to work out these issues themselves. However, if more serious problems with visitation rights or custody violations occur, an attorney is often able to suggest appropriate legal options. It may also be possible to adjust visitation schedules or make other co-parenting modifications if unique circumstances develop, such as one parent relocating.

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