Being separated from your partner and trying to raise your child together can be a stressful undertaking, especially if the separation has only happened recently.
Co-parenting has challenges and not having the correct strategies and routines in place could be detrimental for everyone involved.
Your children’s needs must be put above everyone else’s. It is up to you, as parents. to do your best to make co-parenting work.
Keep reading to discover the rules of co-parenting and successful strategies you can use to work for you and your child.
What is co-parenting?
Co-parenting is when parents both take on the responsibility of raising their children and therefore become cooperative parents.
Couples who experience separation or divorce can experience difficulties with co-parenting duties.
Co-parenting rules in the UK
Co-parenting doesn’t have to change even when a couple is going through a separation or divorce.
Yes, there may be certain changes in routine but depending on the communication between partners, the co-parenting rules can still apply.
This can also be known as parallel parenting, where the child will be parented individually by each parent using separate approaches.
In the UK if you’ve got parental responsibility for a child but do not live with them then you don’t automatically have a right to spend time with them.
Although when it comes to important decisions in their lives, you will have a right to be a part of that decision.
If it is a less important decision such as a slight change in routine then this will not apply in this instance.
Should co-parents spend time together?
There really is no definitive answer to this question as each situation will be different to the next.
If you have separated amicably then spending time together may not be an issue. Whereas if you’ve had a more acrimonious separation, you may not be suited to spend much time together at all.
This is something that only you will know the answer to. The main thing to keep in mind is the well-being of the children involved and putting their needs above everything else.
How to co-parent successfully
There are a number of challenges you will face as a co-parent, but thankfully there are a few important points to remember which could be a huge help.
Remember the children’s perspective
It can be easy to focus on having a line of communication with your ex-partner, but you should consider how the children are feeling and if they are happy with any changes.
You may think that having a 50/50 split between two homes is suitable for you, but for the children involved this could be extremely disruptive and unsuitable.
Therefore try to see things from their perspective. This can help make key decisions when it comes to their involvement.
Commit to an agreed co-parenting plan
It’s all well and good coming up with a plan going forward to co-parent in an agreed way, but these deals must be followed through.
It will take total commitment from each party to make a successful co-parenting relationship work.
Check out our overview of how technology can help with co-parenting.
Extended family members matter
Co-parents can sometimes focus on their family unit and forget that there are extended family members who also wish to be a part of your child’s life.
The role of extended family members in a child’s life is very important. It would be prudent to keep them involved when it comes to co-parenting.
This will allow the child to build strong bonds with their family and reap the benefits of doing so.
Communication is key to co-parenting
Having an open line of communication is the cornerstone of any successful co-parenting relationship.
You don’t have to like each other’s company, but if that is the case, you can still have a great communicative relationship.
Doing so will mean that your children’s routine and schedule will experience minimal disruption.
Big changes such as the arrival of a new partner can seem less daunting if the communication between co-parents is good.
Avoid the blame game
Blaming others has no positive effect when it comes to creating a good working relationship.
It can seem easy to blame an ex partner when things go wrong. However, it is better to not jump the gun and blame anyone. Instead, have an open and honest discussion and see if there is a resolution that can be found to help things move forward.
Make a plan but be adaptable
Having an agreed plan in place is a great place to be as a co-parent. The only problem is that these plans usually tend to evolve and change overtime.
After all, what worked for a toddler may not work for a primary school child. Plans need to be adaptable so they can suit a changing child.
Brown Turner Ross – experts in family law
When a child is going back and forth between parents it can be a stressful time for them. Emotions can be running high for all family members involved, making co-parenting a difficult process to navigate.
At Brown Turner Ross we specialise in family law, which means we have a team of experts to assist any queries you may have on issues such as childcare and co-parenting responsibilities. If you’re currently co-parenting but separated from your partner and want some legal advice then please contact us today.