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What's the secret to successful co-parenting in divorce?

Like most Illinois parents, you always have your children's best interests in mind. When you divorced, you were no doubt determined to cooperate and compromise with your ex to develop a supportive atmosphere for the kids and move forward with the least amount of stress possible. However, saying that and doing it are two very different things. You can't control another person's actions and successful co-parenting takes two.  

If you and your former spouse disagree on a child-related issue, you are definitely not alone in your struggle; in fact, this type of situation may be more common than not running into any obstacles at all. How swiftly you're able to resolve issues may depend on the type of support you rely on. It's always a good idea to seek advice from close friends or family members who have gone through similar experiences. It's also wise to have access to experienced legal support.  

Useful tips for co-parenting after divorce 

Your children may have good days and bad days, just like you, as you all come to terms with your situation and adapt to a new lifestyle. The following parenting tips may help you avoid stress with your ex: 

  • Discussing your feelings or concerning issues with a confidant or counselor may help diffuse problems before they get out of hand. 
  • Taking time to emotionally heal from the break-up of your marriage benefits your own health and may help you be more successful at co-parenting as well.
  • It's common to have a lot of hurt or ill feelings to work through after divorce. However, the less you expose your children to the negative aspects of your divorce, the better. 
  • Focusing on your ex's positive attributes as a parent may help you stop thinking about the faults he or she had as a spouse. 
  • Agreeing to disagree on some things allows each parent to have an opinion without it erupting into a contentious battle. 
  • A spirit of cooperation is a key factor to success. It also helps to be flexible, such as if your spouse needs to change a time or date regarding a planned event with the kids.  

While determining to work together and get along as well as possible is good and will likely help your kids fare as best they can, you do not have to sit back and do nothing if a problem arises that impedes your parent/child relationship or has to do with your court order. You have rights, and you have the ability to protect your kids' best interests regarding custody, support and visitation issues. Being proactive and knowing where to seek support can help you achieve your co-parenting goals. 

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