The basics of coparenting after a marriage ends

For parents in Illinois, the end of a marriage doesn’t mean the end of parenting responsibilities. Courts tend to favor coparenting arrangements that keep both parents involved with a child’s life. With such arrangements, however, parents no longer sharing a house are normally encouraged to remember that the child’s best interests come first.

Even when an ex-spouse has flaws, the general recommendation with post-divorce coparenting is to not stand in the way of a child-parent relationship. The exception would be behaviors that put the child in danger. Maintaining consistency with basic house rules — e.g., be kind and respectful — that apply to each household could minimize issues with differences in parenting styles. And while parents sometimes rely on online calendar sites to keep track of schedules, it’s easy for this info to be overlooked. One solution is for parents to place a physical calendar in both homes so everyone involved can keep track of important dates to reduce instances of confusion or miscommunication.

Unintentionally putting kids in the middle when parents aren’t on the best of terms may be avoided by allowing children to openly discuss experiences with the ex-spouse when returning from visits. On the opposite end of things, parents considering a reconciliation are often advised not to inform their kids until it’s official. Otherwise, this could give the kids false hope. This advice also applies to new individuals that may suddenly be a regular part of a single parent’s life.

With minor coparenting differences, parents may be able to work things out on their own. It’s usually when serious issues, such as consistently not adhering to mutually agreed upon visitation schedules, are involved that a child custody attorney is consulted. Another reason an attorney may get involved is because circumstances have significantly changed for one or both parents since custody and visitation arrangements were first made.