New Jersey parents who are divorcing may still be looking at years of negotiating with their former spouse while raising a child. If they can become good co-parents despite the divorce, the years ahead will be better for both them and their children.
Thinking of the other parent as a partner in raising the child the same way a teacher would be is a good first step toward effective co-parenting. It may be difficult to remove personal feelings from the equation, but a parent can avoid arguments by refusing to engage in them. For example, if one parent is angry about a scheduling error, the other parent can turn the focus to finding a solution rather than fighting about who is to blame. A parent who needs to make a change in custody can also start the conversation by discussing solutions.
In all of these interactions, it is important to preserve boundaries. Even if one parent does not agree to them, the other can make a decision to focus only on discussions about the children and to gently redirect conversations back to that. It may be possible to write those boundaries down in the parenting plan. Above all, parents should keep in mind that the children are what is important and should not give up on working to effectively co-parent.
A parent may want to work with an attorney to create this parenting plan. An attorney may be able to advise the parent on what it is possible to include in the plan and how agreements with the other parent can be enforced. A judge will consider several factors when deciding on issues such as custody and child support, but above all, the court relies on determining what is in the best interests of the child.