Many parents are turning to the co-parenting method of sharing children after a divorce. Because this method of parenting is based on being able to work together, the co-parents should be able to negotiate a parenting plan. When done properly, this can set the stage for a good relationship between you and the other parent.
The children have to be put first in all matters. You can't base things on what is best for you or worst for your ex. Keeping this simple point in mind might make it easier to arrive at decisions as you and the other parent work as a team.
Put your emotions aside
When the divorce is still fresh, it might be hard to transition into a suitable parenting relationship. You can't mix the romantic feelings you had for your ex with the current situation. It might help you to think of this as sort of a business relationship. You and your ex are in the business of making sure your children thrive and have the things they need. As time progresses, you might find that this becomes easier. You may have to make some emotional adjustments if your ex starts dating someone, but remember that your relationship isn't likely going to rekindle.
Set realistic scheduling expectations
You have a lot to think about when coming up with a co-parenting plan. One of the biggest is that there are at least three schedules to think about. You have your own work schedule, your ex has a work schedule and your children have school schedules. Add in extracurricular activities and simply finding out when the kids will be where can be a huge challenge. Remember that you likely aren't going to always have the kids when you want them, but neither will your ex.
Become a parenting team
A parenting team is one that puts their own challenges aside to focus on the kids. In a co-parenting relationship, this can mean that you and your ex both attend the child's activities and special day events. It might not be easy, but it shows that both parents are there to support the kids. This also helps to provide a more stable environment for the kids because they will know that both parents are communicating and want to be there for them.
It is imperative to have at least basic information in your parenting plan. Ideally, this will include the schedule, vacation terms and a conflict resolution method. Coming up with these terms quickly can help everyone involved.