Rules for Co-Parenting after a Divorce

    1. 1. Do not speak negatively (or allow others to do so) about the other parent (or their loved ones) within hearing range of the children. If you disparage a parent you disparage half of your child, who shares DNA with this parent.
    1. 2. Do not allow children to know about legal or financial issues between the parents (especially if they make either parent look bad).
    1. 3. Do not argue or have heated exchanges in front of the children.
    1. 4. Do not treat the child as a spy, informant or messenger.
    1. 5. Do not make arrangements involving the child/children during the child’s time with the other parent without first contacting the other parent. Do not discuss your plans/hopes to do so with the children before you have the permission of the other parent.
    1. 6. Do not drop by to see your children during their time with the other parent without the other parent’s permission (again, do not ask the child to ask the parent if it is ok for you to do so).
    1. 7. Do not spend excessive amounts of time talking on the phone with your children during their time with the other parent.
    1. 8. Do not spoil the children in an effort to win favor at the expense of the other parent (Disneyland Dad/Mom).
    1. 9. Do not assume what the children say is accurate without first checking with the other parent.
    1. 10. Do not undermine the other parent’s authority or interfere with the other parent’s discipline of the children (unless it is clearly inappropriate and you are sure your information is accurate).
    1. 11. Do not try to alienate the child from the other parent or put the other parent in the bad guy role.
    1. 12. Do not make your children feel they are deciding between their parents: do not ask them where they want to live, or let them dictate the parenting time schedule. (When the children are older it will be important to be more flexible.)
    1. 13. If your children say they want to be with you during their time with the other parent, tell them you understand it is sometimes hard for them to go back and forth, but it is important for them to have a good relationship and time, with both parents.
    1. 14. As children move into adolescence, and/or if issues between children and one or both of their parents arise, they often want to have more control over their own schedule. Assuming both parents are fit and share custody, both parents should be supportive of the children’s relationship with each parent and should encourage the children to resolve any differences with the other parent. (It is easy to unintentionally subtly support the children’s rejection of the other parent especially if they have similar complaints about the other parent. It can be a difficult line to determine what is validating the child’s concerns and what may unreasonably be alienating the other parent.
    1. 15. Do communicate with the other parent and be as consistent as possible about routines, rules and discipline.
    1. 16. Do make decisions based on the best interests of the children.
    1. 17. Do show respect for your child’s time with the other parent. (Incessant phone calls, visits, requests to see them during the other parent’s time is not being respectful.)
    1. 18. Do encourage your children to have a good relationship with the other parent and to feel positively about their time with each parent.
    1. 19. Do keep each other informed about all important aspects of the children’s lives (school, medical appointments, sporting events).
    1. 20. Do try to remind yourself that the other parent loves the children as you do, and wants what is best for them.
    1. 21. Do remind yourself that although you may not like everything about the child’s other parent, you would not have your amazing children without the other parent and you should always be grateful to the other parent for that.

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