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Do’s and Don’ts for Successful Co-Parenting

By Jamie Berger, Esq.

Have you ever wondered how you can make co-parenting a positive experience? It doesn’t have to be agonizing. You can amicably co-parent and allow your children to enjoy stability and family relationships. It may not be easy, but these proven guidelines for successful co-parenting  help  maintain calm and make communication more effective.

Co-parenting after a Divorce or Separation

Successful Co-ParentingLearning to navigate custody and parenting time plans can be quite challenging especially if arriving at the final product wasn’t the easiest route.  Getting past the history and accumulated resentment may be quite difficult. As a co-parent, there will still be situations where you and the other parent will be in a room together for an event. There still will be joint decisions requiring discussion,  concerning  upkeep, schooling, social interactions, etc., so for the well-being of the children, you and your co-parent will have to work amicably to ensure that their needs are met. Adapting to this new way of life may not be easy, but focusing on mindset helps your children enjoy good relationship with both parents. A few concrete concepts listed below help reset focus and view the future differently:

1. Re-Evaluate Your Relationship

The first step is to consider your relationship with your ex as an entirely new one. It is difficult to shift from wife/husband/partner/spouse to co-parent, but doing so serves the  primary objective of looking at this person in the role that he or she will have moving forward, instead of the role that wasn’t work.  It’s no longer about the two of you, but about the well-being of the children.

2. Embrace Effective Problem Solving Techniques

Strategic problem-solving focuses on the issue at hand and get you from one point to another.  Stay far from the emotional reasons that caused the problem between you and your ex,  but address the practical matter at hand. As co-parents, share adequate information concerning needs and priorities and resolve the problem through a careful approach. If you tend to communicate in the same way you did when in a relationship, problems will likely continue. Co-parenting difficulties will be manifested through your child’s behavior, and may have lasting effects.

Social-psychological problem-solving touches on the emotions. This technique encompasses your attitude and the emotional aspects of co-parenting. It may be tough for many parents, but remember not to act critical or accusatory. When you focus on what is needed to solve the children’s day to day issues, it is easier to remove yourself from the conversation and find a middle ground. To do this means creating structure for communicating and handling co-parenting issues:


  • Encourage communication with open dialogue through neutral platforms like emails, text messages, letters, or face to face meetings.
  • Make standard rules for the children and have them follow a consistent routine for bedtime, meal times, schoolwork, and so on.
  • Commit to talking positively about your ex regardless of the circumstances.


  • Burden your child with emotionally charged matters about your relationship with your ex. Don’t try to sabotage your child’s relationship with your ex by talking trash. Additionally, avoid using the child to dig into the life of your ex as this will expose children to habits of insecurity and helplessness.
  • Condemn your ex without a clear basis. Take a deep breath and maintain calmness as you address critical issues.
  • Don’t sacrifice discipline and firmness on your child just to gain favor as the cool mom or dad. This may backfire as the child grows  into adulthood.

3. Making the Transitions Easier

It can be difficult for kids to move from one household to another. Whether you do it once in a while or frequently, adapting to such changes may place some pressure  on your children. A reunion with one parent marks the start of a separation from another. Ensure that every transition is smooth by keeping conversation positive, and make sure to appear and sound as civil and cooperative as possible.  Make the child feel comfortable as he/she moves from one household to another; put together a calendar that the children help create to let them know that the transitions are accepted by both parents, and include fun things on the calendar that happen during both parents’ parenting time. Make a list for your children of things to remember on transition days (e.g. books, projects, sports equipment, special school needs, etc.) and give one to your c0-parent. Any tips or tricks


Co-parenting after a separation or divorce can be quite tricky, but with our co-parenting guidelines, the process can be manageable. For more information or to meet with one of our attorneys regarding your upcoming custody case, contact our office a call at 973-710-4366.

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At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.