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Co-parenting focus helps couples in rough divorces

Chances are, when you got married, you didn't expect that it would end in divorce. In fact, this is a common sentiment we hear from our readers on a frequent basis. That's because, for a large majority of people here in Maryland, it's hard to imagine the worst-case scenario when things seem to be so good. But when marriage complications rear their ugly heads, seeing that worst-case-scenario becomes a little easier to do.

As many of our readers know, divorce proceedings can be a testing time, but this statement is more so true for couples who are going through a divorce alongside their children. While emotions run high and hurt feelings bubble to the surface, many family law experts say that putting a focus on co-parenting can really make the divorce process go a little smoother in the end.

Putting the focus on the children and what's best for them is key. While most people consider this to only be true when determining custody and visitation, experts suggest that keeping the focus on the children even after the divorce-dust settles can help ex-spouses stay civil and keep the lines of communication open.

Because children often mimic what their parents say and do, it's important to remember not to bad mouth your ex-spouse in front of the children. Experts also suggest staying as emotionally stable as possible. Children pick up on stressful situations faster than parents may realize; these high levels of stress can not only put a strain on your child but perhaps even the relationship you have with them in the future.

If you and your ex-spouse have different parenting styles, a lack of communication can create instability for the children, which can lead to behavioral problems that are not easily taken care of. For particularly rough divorces, experts suggest looking at co-parenting as a business relationship. This change in mindset forces parents to consider whether their actions are beneficial rather than hurtful.

While divorce may not be avoidable in all cases, considering the impact it will have on your children and focusing on what's best for them can sometimes help smooth out what is considered to be an emotionally intense process.

Source: My Fox Atlanta, "Successful co-parenting amid strain of divorce," Tacoma Perry, June 24, 2013