Your divorce is in motion, you’re taking steps to protect your legal rights and you’re looking forward to starting a new life in the future. But even though you’re leaving your marriage behind, your children will still be a big part of your life.

Co-parenting is a whole new world, one that you have to get used to as the days go by. You’ll make good decisions and bad decisions, with hopes of eventually settling into a routine that works for you, your ex and most importantly, your children.

There’s no way of knowing what co-parenting will bring to your life and how you’ll react, but there are some steps you can take to prepare yourself:

  • Understand your parenting agreement, inside and out: This outlines almost everything you need to know, from who has physical custody of your children to a visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent. If you have questions about what you should or shouldn’t be doing, you may be able to find it here.
  • Prepare to communicate with your ex: Even if you had a contentious divorce, you still need to communicate with your ex so that you can provide your children with stability. You don’t have to talk about anything but co-parenting, but even then you should have a system in place for doing so.
  • Get on board with your new life: Rather than long for the past or dwell on what you did wrong, think about how you can make things better in the future. When you’re on board with your new life and ready to make the most of it, it will show in the way you parent your children.

When you take these steps, you’ll find yourself better prepared to co-parent after your divorce. If your ex takes similar steps, there’s a good chance you’ll get along enough to avoid any serious complications or disagreements.

In the event that you’re struggling to co-parent, perhaps because your ex continually violates the parenting agreement, talk to them about your concerns and possible resolutions. If that doesn’t yield positive results, review your parenting plan with the idea of requesting a modification from the court.