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On co-parenting, and how you can make this tough task work

Divorce is hard enough -- but when you enter kids into the equation, it can become even more complicated and difficult. This doesn't mean that a dispute has to arise over custody. In fact, many couples are amicable and agreeable enough that they enter into joint custody. However, it's the steps that follow that joint custody agreement that can prove to be tricky.

Co-parenting is very difficult. Let's just get that out of the way up front. It can be made a little easier, and the two spouses can act in appropriate ways to make co-parenting less of a chore. But in the end, it is a tough task. This really is an important place to start for co-parents: admitting that the task in front of them is truly a challenge. There will be schedules and life events and alterations all going on while the backdrop of an emotional divorce lingers. It's tough for everyone involved.

But, the divorcing parents can do a few things to make their co-parenting relationship a bit easier. First, communicate freely with your ex. Yes, it may be tense at first, but if there are scheduling logistics you need to iron out, then pick up the phone and call your spouse. Or email your spouse. Or text him or her. Basically do everything you can to not ignore the issue simply so you don't have to talk to your ex.

Second, don't talk about your ex in a negative away around your kids. It will do nothing to fix your broken relationship with him or her, and it will only cause your son or daughter to feel stressed and uncomfortable.

Last but not least, remember that the co=parenting relationship is a collaborative endeavor. You need to listen to your ex and you need to be willing to negotiate about certain things.

Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Strategies Are Dumb (Just Do This)," Erin Mantz, March 31, 2014

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