The Do’s and Don’ts of Co-Parenting


Our child custody clients often ask us for tips and advice as to how to make co-parenting after a split-up or post-divorce an easier process. Our blog today discusses the do’s and don’ts of co-parenting and provides some helpful tips for how to make this process less stressful for both parents.

The Do’s of Co-Parenting:

1. Start an Open Dialogue with your Ex: You should discuss house rules and “big ticket” items such as schooling, medical care, and religion with your ex to ensure that you are always on the same page. However, this should not be a one-time conversation, and should always be an ongoing discussion. If something happens during your custody time that you feel your children’s other parent should know about, be sure to update them.

2. Create Consistent Rules and Make Sure They are Followed: Maybe you and your ex do not have the exact same rules in both households, but they should be as consistent as possible. Discuss your rules with your child’s parent and keep in mind that having consistency in these rules may allow your child(ren) to not feel as though they have different lifestyles with each parent.

3. Focus on Positive Talk: Always speak positively about your ex in front of your children. Obviously, there will be issues that arise among parents, but keeping it positive around the children allows them to feel at ease about the situation and not that their parents are always adversarial.

4. Continuous Updates: Whether you’re updating on your children’s schooling, activities, sports, interests, or medical history, make sure these updates are always ongoing. Both parents need to know everything in the event of an emergency, so be sure to update one another at least once per week.

The Don’ts of Co-Parenting

1. Don’t Make Accusations: Get all of the facts from your ex before making accusations. In particular, if your children report something questionable at their other parent’s house, go directly to the adult and inquire about the situation.

2. Don’t Interrogate your Children: Upon their children’s return from the other parent’s custody, many parents form the habit of asking their children questions about what is going on in their other parent’s household. Avoid asking multiple questions and wait until your children come to you with a question or concern. If you interrogate, your children may feel as though they are stuck in the middle of their parents.

3. Don’t “Bad Talk” your Ex: This is self-explanatory, but your children repeat what they hear and will most certainly be affected if they hear their parents bad-talking one another.

4. Don’t Compare your Co-Parenting Arrangement to Others: Each family and each parental relationship is different. Do not compare your co-parenting arrangement to others as this may cause feelings of resentment.

Our firm has experienced attorneys who can provide additional advice to you regarding your co-parenting or child custody situation. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your child custody matter.

About McGrail & Associates

The lawyers of McGrail and Associates, LLC, offer individualized attention in many areas of the law, including divorce, family law, municipal and tax law, bankruptcy, estate planning and criminal defense. Attorneys at McGrail and Associates, which was founded by Patricia L. McGrail in 2000, have practiced in all of the state and federal court systems.