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Top Tips for co-parenting after separation

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Top Tips for co-parenting after separation

When two people separate, they may no longer have a romantic relationship together, but where there are children involved, they will need to continue to have some form of relationship for their sake.

The term co-parenting describes the ongoing parental relationship where parents share the responsibility for the care and upbringing of their children. Often these co-parenting relationships can be challenging. There is a wealth of information available to help parents co-parent effectively and we have pulled together our top 10 tips and resources.

  1. Court proceedings should always be a last resort. There are so many alternatives to the Court process that will be better for your children, such as mediation. Children will always cope with their parents’ separation better if the parents are able to agree a way forward themselves. The last thing anyone wants, including your children, is for a Judge to make decisions about where they should live and how much time they should spend with each parent.
  2. Be careful what you say and how you phrase things. Try not to criticise each other or speak negatively about the other parent. Your children will see and hear things even if you don’t think they are listening, so please try not to say anything bad about each other.
  3. Try to have good communication with your co-parent. It will help your children in the long run if you are able to communicate effectively and positively. Keep each other updated about your children’s needs and what is happening in their lives. Don’t ask your children to pass messages between you both, this isn’t fair. 
  4. Remember, your children have a right to a relationship with both parents provided it is safe and appropriate. No matter what you think about the other parent, your children still love them and as long as it is safe, they have a right to have a relationship with each of you.
  5. Don’t make your children feel guilty about wanting to spend time with their other parent. Don’t question your children about what they have done or where they have been. Your children need to feel supported in having a relationship with each of you.
  6. Different parents will have different parenting styles, and that can be okay. Remember, you don’t have to both do things exactly the same. Children can benefit from parents with different experiences and backgrounds.
  7. Remember, special dates are special to all of you. Dates like birthdays and Christmas are important for you, your co-parent, and your child. Try and find a way to share those special days so all of you have time to spend together making memories.
  8. Don’t ask your children to lie or keep secrets. Its not fair to put your child in the middle and ask them to keep things from the other parent.
  9. Keep off social media! While it might help you to vent about things, it is never helpful to post things on social media about your co-parent, your children, or what you are going through. Ultimately it could get back to your children and cause them embarrassment and upset.
  10. Try and encourage and support your child having a relationship with your co-parents family where possible. You may not get on, but provided it is safe for them to have a relationship with their extended family, it would be unfair to cut them out. Remember, they love your children too and want to maintain a relationship with them.

We understand every situation is different, and there may be some cases in which there are safety concerns that take precedence. If you are unsure how to co-parent after separation, or if you need further help and guidance, please contact Linda Hunter at Rowlinsons on 01928 735333.

Some further resources are listed below.

Resources

Cafcass set up their Family Forum in 2021. A group of parents, carers and family members who have had direct experience of the family court system, they have helpfully produced a list of top tips which you can read in full here.

https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/download/18396/.

They also have a handy section all about co-parenting after separation, with information, guides and help available.

https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorce-and-separation/parenting-together/

Resolution, which is a national organisation of family law professionals, have some really helpful and informative pages covering a range of topics, including parenting through separation.

https://www.cafcass.gov.uk/grown-ups/parents-and-carers/divorce-and-separation/parenting-together/

They have a helpful guide that you can download, or you can contact Rowlinsons Solicitors and speak to one of our expert family law team who can provide you with a copy at no extra cost.