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What does co-parenting have to do with my parenting plan?

Most parents understand that they need to continue working together for their children even after their divorce. Actually putting this into practice can be a bit more difficult. By focusing on the best interests of the kids as the basis for their parenting plan, Tennessee parents can more easily engage in healthy co-parenting. 

Co-parenting is a relatively recent approach to parenting after divorce. In the past, one parent -- typically the mom -- got sole custody, while the other parent was limited to brief periods of visitation. The primary custodian did not really have to worry about the input and parenting wishes of the other parent with this type of arrangement. Now, with many experts acknowledging the benefits of regular access to both parents through shared custody, divorced couples have to continue working together even when they are no longer married. 

Setting clear schedules with consistency and flexibility where necessary is essential for healthy co-parenting. A clearly defined parenting schedule helps both the kids and the parents by making sure that everyone knows who will be where, and when. However, life happens, and sometimes parents may need to ask for schedule changes. Deciding how to address schedule changes early on can make the flexibility side of things much easier. 

Parents with shared custody may also want to consider establishing similar household rules. Although this does not mean that they will follow the exact same rules and subsequent punishments, it does mean that one parent should not try to dial things back in an effort to be the so-called "fun" household. Cutting out any negative talk about an ex in front of the children is also a good idea. 

Co-parenting can be difficult at first, especially if a Tennessee couple divorced in part due to a breakdown in communication. Still, many things in life that are worth doing are also difficult. For parents who believe that shared custody is the best solution for their parenting plan, learning how to co-parent effectively is necessary. 

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