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Post-divorce co-parenting lessons

Ending a marriage in Texas doesn't mean the end of parenting responsibilities, especially when children will be spending time in two homes. When obligations involving the kids are shared among divorced couples, it may suddenly become clear that each individual has a very different parenting style. Other times, there may be lingering issues between people that can make it difficult to co-parent effectively. What some parents forget when making the transition to a post-divorce life is that it's about their kids' best interests.

Once child custody issues have been resolved, a common recommendation is that both parties have a no-belittling rule to prevent badmouthing one another in front of the kids. This guideline also applies to the ex-spouses' new partners. When tensions do arise, it can be helpful for someone to take a deep breath or walk away and calm down before dealing with whatever matter requires the attention of both adults. Doing so can also prevent children from learning unhealthy relationship management habits.

Some divorced couples get into the habit of saying yes to everything a child wants out of guilt. However, children tend to benefit more from firm boundaries and limitations that are established and reinforced by each parent. When possible, some degree of consistency between households can ease the back-and-forth transition for children. Also, having a solid communication plan in place, whether it involves using a website with a family planning calendar or setting up protocols with emails and texts, may help prevent misunderstandings with arrangements or confusion over certain dates important to children, like sports-related events and birthdays.

Should a custody dispute arise that parents are unable to work out themselves, a family law attorney may make an attempt at mediation before getting the court involved. If negotiation attempts fail, possible solutions include seeking a modification to existing custody or visitation arrangements. In the event that the actions of one parent could be harmful to the child, a divorce lawyer may recommend that a person seek sole custody. However, most courts prefer to keep both parents involved in a child's life when possible.

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