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Tips for co-parenting after a Maryland divorce

While statistics vary, it is commonly believed that close to half of all marriages will end in divorce. For those couples in Maryland with children, transitioning into a co-parenting relationship after a divorce can be difficult. This is often uncharted territory for parents, and many are still going through their own emotional reaction to the divorce while they begin the process of sharing parenting duties with their former spouse. It will take time and effort to settle into new roles as co-parents, and the following tips are offered in the hopes of easing that process.

Above all else, both parents must avoid speaking ill of each other in front of the children. This is a vitally important aspect of life after divorce, and an area in which many parents fail. Children create their own identities around those of both parents, however, and when one parent runs down the other, it can harm the self-esteem of a shared child. It also places children into the uncomfortable position of having to take sides. The best approach is to find things about the other parent to praise; if that is not possible, divorced parents should aim to simply remain neutral when discussing the other party.

Another important factor in successful co-parenting is the establishment and support of similar routines and rules between both households. Children thrive when provided with structure and discipline, and when the rules are not the same at Mom's house as they are at Dad's, a great deal of turmoil can result for both parents and children. By working together to create a solid base similarity on issues such as discipline, homework, bedtimes and curfews, parents still have plenty of room to create variations in other areas.

The bottom line in co-parenting is cooperation between parents. In the first few months following a Maryland divorce, this may seem like an insurmountable goal. However, parents who can set aside their differences and work to structure a positive experience for their children can reap a number of rewards. Not only will the kids experience a more peaceful and stable transition from a combined household to separate homes, but the parents can also benefit from knowing that even though their marriage may have ended, they are able to create and sustain a positive parenting partnership.

Source:, "WTXCG: Dos and Don'ts of divorce", Feb. 16, 2015

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