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Planning ahead for the co-parenting dynamic

Every breakup comes with its own set of challenges and issues. For couples who are also parents together, those challenges compound with the onset of a new family dynamic. Co-parenting after a divorce take careful planning and open dialogue in order to prioritize the wellbeing and success of any children involved.

If you and your partner have decided to split up, there are most likely already underlying issues that brought on that decision. Those issues were important in the relationship, but they need to take a backseat when it comes to shared parenting after a split.

Going into the divorce and child custody process, co-parents would do well to be proactive in designing a shared parenting plan that will best benefit the kids. Thinking ahead from before signing and filing any paperwork gives parents a chance to plan for their child's future without letting underlying tensions impede that future.

Creating a parenting plan

For couples in Virginia it's common to see a shared custody agreement as the result of a divorce. Courts, family law experts and child psychologists resoundingly agree that children benefit most from spending time and living with both parents when that is a safe, feasible option.

Children in joint custody arrangements tend to experience fewer mental health and behavioral challenges than those in a sole custody or single parent household. Because joint custody is widely regarded as best for children in most cases, parents need to prepare to work together to manage the shared responsibilities of parenting after a divorce.

During the divorce process, a skilled family lawyer can help parents devise a parenting plan to address the challenges of co-parenting and prepare the family for this changing dynamic from the start.

Utilize outside resources

Co-parents don't have to go it alone when it comes to preparing for a shared parenting dynamic. Family counselors, family law experts, child psychologists and school resources exist for parents trying to navigate a new situation. In addition, co-parents can use apps and websites to keep track of shared parenting responsibilities and even bring in other outside experts to assist with the division of duties.

Apps such as Our Family Wizard and 2Houses provide a digital format for tracking shared parenting duties. These apps provide in-app messaging systems, shared calendars, shopping lists, expense reports, appointment reminders and more.

For co-parents who struggle with communication with a former spouse, these technology options provide a platform specifically focused on the parenting and shutting out any outside drama or distractions.

When it comes to planning for a new parenting dynamic, start thinking early about how to best prioritize your child's future. Utilize the resources available and consult with family experts to ensure the best possible plan for your family going forward.

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