You may be asking yourself about co-parenting if you are going through a divorce with children. Perhaps you and your future former spouse had no trouble deciding that you want to make sure the children suffer as little as possible as your marital relationship ends. You even acknowledge that each of you is a good parent, and the children need each of you in their lives as much as possible. 

The problem is you aren’t sure what goes into creating a healthy co-parenting relationship. You may see stories about celebrities who go on vacation together as a family, spend the holidays together and engage in other activities as a family and as if the divorce didn’t happen. Do you and your ex have to do this in order to co-parent? No, you don’t. However, healthy post-divorce relationships do have certain things in common.

What elements do good co-parenting relationships share?

Below are co-parenting elements you can strive for and even provide a foundation for in your parenting plan:

  • Don’t lose sight of the fact that each of you provides value to your children’s lives. Even though the marital relationship didn’t work out, it should not take away from either of your abilities to parent and remain a part of your children’s lives.
  • Set some clear boundaries. As long as the actions of the other parent do not hurt the children or jeopardize their safety, you have no right to say anything about it.
  • Attend school, extracurricular and other events in your children’s lives together. Your children want to know that you and the other parent are there for them when they succeed, and when they fail, and seeing the two of you rooting for them together goes a long way toward providing a secure, safe and loving life for them.
  • Create a parenting schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Other obligations could interrupt the schedule periodically, but it should prove the exception and not the norm.
  • Even so, flexibility is a must when co-parenting. Changing your schedule occasionally doesn’t hurt, and it could come in handy when you have a scheduling conflict.
  • If you need a babysitter, give your ex the “right of first refusal.” The other parent may appreciate some extra time with the kids when you cannot be there.
  • If you do need to change the schedule, talk to the other parent about it as soon as possible to give time to change plans.
  • You don’t have to particularly like each other for your children to believe you work well together for their benefit.
  • You aren’t always going to agree, but when you do, have a plan for resolving conflicts.
  • Another thing good co-parents don’t do is attempt to manipulate or control each other.

If you incorporate provisions in your parenting plan that foster the above, it lays the foundation for a healthy and successful co-parenting relationship, and your children will thank you.