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Cooperative co-parenting reduces child custody issues

| Nov 1, 2012 | Child Custody

It’s a sad fact that a lot of Minnesota marriages hit hard times. Many options are available to work through the rough patches. For some couples, the best decision may be a parting of ways through a divorce. This may be hard for parents with children, but the decision does not diminish their love for the children and it doesn’t have to scuttle any parent-child relationships.

In fact, according to one recent study, those parents who focus primarily on what their children need instead of their own particular wishes regarding child custody, usually wind up with much happier children.

By the time they are 18, half of all children in the U.S. will have lived through a divorce, statistics show. The recent study on family relations in such circumstances looked at 20 mothers between ages of 26 and 49 who shared legal and physical custody of the kids with their exes. Of those, nearly half — 45 percent — had tense co-parenting relationships with the ex, 20 percent were on friendly terms. The remainder said things improved after the divorce.

What the authors determined is that to have a successful co-parenting relationship, ex-spouses must make strong efforts to get along. Instead of viewing the relationship between parents as a failed marriage, another expert says they should look at it instead as a business partnership — with the business goal being to raise a content, well-adjusted child. She says that by committing to that approach, children are happier, do better in school and have stronger family ties.

Not surprisingly, experts indicate that the biggest conflict between ex-spouses over custody arrangements is lack of communication, such as not clearly sharing and coordinating over schedules. The expert said ex-spouses should chat by phone or email weekly to set a common calendar that works. Doing it out of the earshot of kids is best in case any conflicts arise.

Divorces involving children can be difficult. Children may have a tough time adjusting to the new reality. Still, it is not impossible to weather squalls if both parents vow to cooperate and unite in meeting the best interests of the children.

Source: Deseret News, “Parenting under two roofs: Focusing on the children after divorce,” Rachel Lowry, Oct. 21, 2012

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