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Tips for healthy co-parenting

With spring break approaching and summer vacation not far behind, many divorced Florida parents will be spending more time with their kids in the upcoming months. This means likely having to interact more with their ex as well.

Even if your post-divorce co-parenting got off to a rocky start, it's never too late to work on your co-parenting skills for the sake of your kids. If your relationship with your ex isn't healthy, you may believe that you'll never be able to engage in healthy co-parenting. However, that's not true. You can do what is in your power. If you're fortunate, your co-parent will eventually respond in kind. Following are some healthy co-parenting behaviors.

Keep your communication with your ex on the subject of your kids. No good comes from relitigating past wrongs. By all means, don't use your kids to communicate with your ex for you. If you can't have a conversation without it descending into anger, find another way to communicate, such as text or email. If even that ends up getting combative, there are co-parenting apps that let parents keep in touch about their kids without having to communicate directly with one another.

Don't argue with your ex or speak disparagingly about him or her in front of your kids. Even if they aren't in the room, assume that they can hear you if they're in the house or nearby (even with earbuds in). No matter how you feel about your ex, this is their parent. You don't have to like your ex, but it's essential that you show respect to him or her. That means respecting your co-parent's time with your kids by not being late to drop them off and not constantly calling them while they're with their other parent.

Perhaps the most important trait of healthy co-parenting is reinforcing to your kids (and yourself) that you're still a family. Regardless of your relationship with one another, you're still your kids' parents, and you want what's best for them.

If you believe that your parenting plan needs to be more detailed to avoid disputes with your ex or that changes need to be made, an experienced Florida family law attorney can help you seek to improve it.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "5 Traits of Healthy Co-Parenting," accessed March 02, 2018

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