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Co-parenting after divorce, does it work with young children?

Co-parenting is a term that essentially refers to a parenting arrangement after divorce that focuses on equal parental involvement. Both parents attempt to focus their efforts on the children, instead of one parent playing the role as the sole provider and the other having occasional visits. 

Parents may question whether such an arrangement works for preschool and elementary school children. A publication in Psychology Today discussed this type of arrangement, noting it can provide many benefits for young children. Mainly, the piece notes that involvement of both parents is generally beneficial for the young child, as long as the parents can limit any exposure to parental conflict. A few tips to better ensure a successful co-parenting relationship from the child’s perspective include:

  • Routine. Kids thrive with routine. Attempt to get into a regular schedule so the children can become comfortable with their post-divorce routine.
  • Overnights. Having overnights with each parent allows the child to strengthen his or her bond at a different level than daytime visits. Having bedtime rituals and establishing trust that the parent is there when needed in the middle of the night and again when the sun rises and the day begins can deepen the parent-child bond.
  • Short separations. If possible, keep the time separate from each parent relatively short. Instead of school year with one parent, summer with the other, consider an every other week schedule.

Developing a parenting plan is not a “one-size fits all” procedure. Each family is different, with different needs and expectations. As such, it is wise to seek legal counsel when putting together a parenting plan. An experienced family law attorney can help tailor a parenting plan to meet your needs and better ensure a successful transition after the divorce is finalized. 

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Courtney ∙ Clark Law, P.C.
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