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Preparing a co-parenting plan

As divorced New Jersey parents may know, co-parenting can be difficult after a relationship ends. However, it is in the best interests of the child for divorced parents to make an attempt to get along and keep the child as the primary focus.

Divorced couples dealing with a joint custody arrangement may be interested in learning some helpful tips. One suggestion is for parents to distance themselves emotionally from their former partner. This may be accomplished by treating the former partner as if they were a co-worker or business acquaintance instead of someone with whom a former relationship existed. Another suggestion is to keep any conversation focused on the child and not allow a conversation to turn into criticisms or anger over past hurts.

Another parenting plan tip is to reach accord with an ex-spouse on house rules and manners of discipline. Consistency in scheduling and setting boundaries for children may help provide an easier adjustment for children who share two households.

Making decisions about major expenses ahead of time might lessen arguments with a former spouse and help prevent hard feelings. Payment of doctor, dentist and orthodontic bills for expenses not covered by insurance is an important consideration, and information on these visits could be shared with the other parent. A child's school participation might include more than just attending classes. Sharing information about after-school activities, such as sports or special projects, with the other parent not only benefits the child but may also foster more accord between parents.

When faced with divorce, the welfare of the child is an important consideration. An individual planning a divorce may benefit from consultation with an attorney. An attorney may assist in setting up a workable parenting plan to present to the court.

Source: Helpguide.org, "Co-Parenting Tips for Divorced Parents," Jocelyn Block and Melinda Smith, Accessed Feb. 12, 2015

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