Is co-parenting the right choice for divorcing couples?

If a couple can communicate well, recognize the good and focus on the present, they may be able to hone a productive co-parenting relationship after a divorce.

Some people think that half of the marriages that take place in Texas end in divorce, but this is not quite true. Looking at the marriage and divorce rates for the state cannot provide enough data to determine how many marriages will end in separation. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the crude rate of divorce over the course of a single year is 2.9 per 1,000 residents. Of all of the splits that took place in that one year, 23.7 percent involved two or more children, 21.5 percent involved one child and the rest either involved no children or an unknown number of children. The total number of children under the age of 18 affected by divorce in that single year was 59,135.

Need to communicate well

If co-parenting is going to work, the two parties have to be able to communicate well. This could mean being able to set up ground rules for the children, such as bed time, after-school schedules, when significant others will be introduced and normal disciplinary measures. However, it can also include how the parents talk to each other.

Divorcing couples may get on each other's nerves, but they should strive to talk well about each other in front of the kids. If this system breaks down, the children involved may learn to resent one or both of the parents. Talking about sensitive information in front of young children can cause them unnecessary stress.

Need to recognize the good

It is easy to get swept up in the negatives of an ex-spouse when ending a marriage. However, if the two people want to continue parenting together, they must be able to recognize the good qualities in each other. The most important good quality to consider is how the other person interacts with the children. Does he or she have certain parenting strengths? Recognizing and even commending those strengths can help improve a co-parenting relationship.

Need to focus on the present

Often divorce stems from an unhappiness that has been festering for years. Couples may reminisce about past mistakes that made them unhappy, but if children are involved, this past needs to be forgotten. Instead, the exes should think about the present and the future. How can their parenting relationship help the children have healthy relationships with each parent, friends and family members? When the focus is able to remain on the young ones, the co-parenting is often more successful.

Not all Texas divorces involve children, but when they do, the legal process may become slightly more complicated. No matter what the exact circumstances are, anyone thinking about separating from a spouse should work with an attorney who has experience with this type of family law case.