After the entry of a Judgment of Divorce, there is often a reduction of hostility between the parties due to the resolution of the matrimonial issues. In this case, the financial accounts are distributed, the debt is allocated, and the support is calculated. Similarly, the custodial arrangements are solidified, and parenting time is scheduled. While the financial aspects of the divorce are resolved in a more finite manner, the child custody issues represent an ongoing struggle for many litigants as it compels the parties to interact regarding the welfare of their children on a regular basis. Thus, while a childless couple can happily go their separate ways, parties with children together cannot, and must learn to effectively co-parent.
In its most simplistic sense, effective co-parenting occurs when both parties can jointly and expeditiously make decisions regarding their child(ren)’s welfare. The implications of the efficacy of the parties’ ability to do so are less obvious regarding minor child-related decisions versus those major decisions such as: education, medical and possibly religion, to name a few.
There are certain hallmarks in an effective co-parenting relationship, which needs to be a conscious and committed decision where the parties always prioritize the best interests of the children. Flexibility regarding co-parenting is critical, as is open and honest conversations, respect and tolerance for differing opinions, and contingencies for stalemates.
The importance of co-parenting cannot be overstated, as it can have both short and long term effects on the welfare of the child(ren) and even the parties themselves. Divorcing parties do not have to like each other, but......they DO need to love their child(ren) more than they dislike each other.