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What are some ways to co-parent after a divorce?

Ask any parent, and they will tell you that raising a child comes with challenges. But how about co-parenting a child with an ex-spouse? That has its own challenges, particularly if one or both spouses is unable to let go of hard feelings.

There are ways to co-parent successfully after a divorce. While they may take some practice and patience, what matters in the end is if the child gets what they need without feeling torn between the parents. Here are some ideas.

• Check in regularly with the other parent. This may be easier said than done for some parents. Whether it's a brief phone conversation, a detailed email or an in-person meeting, communicating with the other parent is extremely important. This is the time when expectations can be set and calendars can be filled in.

• Don't get in the way of a child's relationship with the other parent. Speaking negatively of your ex-spouse or trying to interfere with their relationship with the child will likely backfire. It's important for children to have healthy relationships with both parents.

• Treat former in-laws with respect. They are often caught in the middle after a divorce. Kids benefit from seeing their grandparents, and cutting them out of the family picture will only serve to make everyone upset. They should get time with the children, too.

• Respect the other parent's rules and boundaries. You may not agree with everything the other parent does regarding the children, but unless it is something dangerous, it's often best to step back and let them parent how they want. Criticizing them will likely only strain the relationship further.

Source: Huffington Post, "Make smart choices for post-divorce co-parenting success," Rosalind Sedacca, July 23, 2012

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