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How can couples succeed at co-parenting?

Many of the Charlotte couples going through a divorce enter proceedings with a "winner-takes-all" attitude. This attitude can be particularly prevalent when deciding on the issue of child custody. Disputes over how custody should be determined are often difficult to resolve without the intercession of the courts. Yet those parents who go into custody hearings assuming that they'll be awarded custody often leave disappointed. Statistics compiled by the community service website Divorce Peers show that when parents take their custody disputes to trial, 40 percent of those cases end in a joint custody agreement, as opposed to only 25 percent ending with such an agreement through mediation.

It is possible for divorcing parents to successfully co-parent their children if they are willing to work together. Setting up rules is one way to accomplish this. Such rules ensure that parents' differences remain between them while allowing their children the opportunity to develop lasting relationships with each parent. The nonprofit group Help guide offers the following suggestions to help maintain a successful co-parenting relationship following a divorce:

  • Separate feelings from behavior - Don’t allow strained feelings to dictate actions. Parents should pay attention to both verbal tone and nonverbal communication. 
  • Be willing to compromise – Parents should be prepared to give in with some issues in order to keep disagreements from turning into disputes. 
  • Avoid pulling children into a dispute - Issues should remain between parents and children should never be used as messengers between both sides. 
  • Commit to being consistent - Expectations should be the same from both parents regarding things like rules, discipline, and schedules

While not intended to be a substitute for legal advice, parents may find them helpful in creating a successful co-parenting relationship with the other parent.

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