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Consistent rules help co-parents succeed after divorce

Texas couples who struggled to get along while they were together might lack confidence that they can cooperate as co-parents after their marriage comes to an end. If their children are young, the parents will have to work out a child custody schedule. During this process, they should create a clear set of expectations for their children that applies at both parental homes. This approach prevents children from viewing one parent as lenient and fun and resenting the other parent as demanding and obsessed with rules.

Shared values could form the starting point for parents to develop standard behavioral rules for both homes. Listing these values during a discussion will help parents focus on planning instead of arguing over differences of opinion. They should also understand that building a consistent home life for their children could ease the family's transition to separate households and reduce opportunities for children to get away with defiant behavior.

After parents create their list of house rules for both homes, they need to enforce them. Consequences and punishments should also be established for breaking rules so that children will know what will happen regardless of which parent they are living with that week. If a child gets grounded by one parent, then the punishment should carry over to the other household during the duration of the punishment.

In addition to rules for the children, couples will likely need to make other decisions about custody and visitation, like who gets the children for which holidays, which school will children attend or how relocation could affect the parenting agreement. They might want to have the help of their respective family law attorneys when negotiating the agreement.

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