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Ways to support peaceful co-parenting

Divorces can be messy in Virginia and across the country. Even when both parties agree that ending a marriage or romantic relationship is in the best interest of all parties involved -- including the children -- the emotions often associated with the process can often complicate the decision-making process. However, when there are children involved, parents who are dedicated to peacefully co-parenting may be able to smooth the transition for their children, leading to interactions with less conflict.

While parents obviously must make decisions regarding how custody will be divided and whether child support will be paid, there are other decisions that parents can make to help reduce contention and conflict. For example, some parents agree that both parents can attend a child's activities. Additionally, they agree that neither parent will enroll the child in an activity that will involve the other parent's time and money without discussing it first.

Other decisions involve how the parents communicate with one another. Including the other parents in meetings with professionals who are involved with the child, such as teachers and doctors, can help reduce tension. Informing the other parent of the contents of a discussion when that parent cannot attend as soon as possible can also be beneficial.

Perhaps most importantly is agreeing to how each other will discuss the other parent in the child's hearing. For example, many parents committed to successful co-parenting agree that they will refer to the other parent with respect so as to avoid disparaging the other in the child's presence. While many parents in Virginia worry about how the end of a romantic relationship will affect their children, often parents who are committed to working together even though they are no longer married can be more beneficial than parents who are together but fight constantly.

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