A Guide To Co-parenting

A Guide To Co-parenting Resolve Conflict Family LawyersDivorce signifies the end of a relationship, however for divorced parents it also signifies the beginning of a new type of relationship – the co-parenting relationship.

There is no denying that co-parenting harmoniously with your former partner can give your children the stability, security, and close relationships with both parents they need. The following articles looks at how you can remain calm, stay consistent, and resolve conflicts to make co-parenting work for you and your children.

What is co-parenting?

Co-parenting is when you and your former partner share in raising your children after a divorce or breakup. It means both parents have a hands-on role and share the responsibilities in raising the children.

The basics of a co-parenting is that “…you and your former partner need to make clear decisions about how you’ll parent your child now and in future. It’ll be easier if you can both keep open minds and try to step into your child’s shoes as you work out your co-parenting arrangements. In meeting your child’s needs and your own needs, you might have to make some compromises along the way.”[1]

Related Article: Successful Co-Parenting – Fact of Fiction?


Developing a co-parenting plan

A Parenting Plan is a written, agreed and dated document between separated parents on their children’s care, welfare and development.

Parents are able to make their own decisions of what will be included in the Parenting Plan that suit their circumstances. The aim of the Parenting Plan is to agree on how things that affect the children are going to be organised. This may include living arrangements, day-to-day care, holidays, special occasions, medical care etc. By having an agreed plan between parents can reduce misunderstandings and potential disagreements.

Related Article: What to Include in Your Parenting Plan


Tips to successfully co-parenting 

Give your former partner time to learn the ropes

“If you did most of the caring for your children before your separation, your former partner might take a little time to learn about the practical side of caring for children. It can be tempting to criticise, but pointing out the positives is much better for everyone.”[2]

Strive For Positive Communication

Work out the best way for you and your ex-partner to communicate with each other in regards to the children. This could be through email, text, phone call or face-to-face conversation. Once agreed upon don’t deviate from the agreed method.

Agree On Consistent Rules For Each Household

It’s no secret that children need routine and structure to feel safe and secure, as well as flourish in their growth. It’s paramount that each parent’s household more or less holds the same rules in regards to bedtime, watching TV, homework, household chores and the like. “Running a tight ship creates a sense of security and predictability for children. So no matter where your child is, he or she knows that certain rules will be enforced.”[3]

Put your kids first

Attempting to sway your child’s alliances away from your ex-partner is not in the interest of your child. The best outcome for any child is to have a healthy relationship with both parents, a child’s affection for one parent is not a reflection of less affection to the other.


How to communicate better with your co-parent

Looking at ways to help communication is an obvious solution that will help both parents and their children ease into their new routines.

A Communication Book or Communication Apps are helpful tools that todays separated co-parents can utilise to manage their primary role of looking after their mutual children, whilst keeping each other informed in a low-conflict, minimal contact way.

“A communication book can be a device for separated parents to keep communication between them short and to the point. Parents can choose to use a communication book or a court may order them to use it, particularly if the parents seem unable to communicate with each other.”[4]

The communication book or communication App is used between parents to document matters which they wish to raise with the other to ensure that they are both co-parenting effectively.

What is included in the book or app is up to the co-parents, however common communication includes;

  • Medication updates
  • Sickness updates
  • General health issues
  • School projects
  • Upcoming social events
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Requests to change any parenting times / change a scheduled change over time

Other communication could include more broad information that the other parent might find of interest. For example;

  • Activities the children have enjoyed
  • School awards
  • Updates on developmental progress
  • Changes in food, toy, clothing preferences of the child

There are several Apps that can help co-parents communicate like a physical communication book, however in the convince of an App. Examples include;

Our Family Wizard



Talking Parents

When a communication book or communication App is used effectively and in the method intended, then they can be a very successful tool to help parents communicate with one another especially if other communication channels have been unsuccessful in the past.


Note: This is general information advice only and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters, please contact us on 03 9620 0088 or email info@resolveconflict.com.au




[1] Raising Children Network 2016, ‘Co-parenting: getting the balance right’, Raisinghchildren.net.au, 1 January, viewed 15 August 2018, http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/coparenting_tips.html

[2] Raising Children Network 2016, ‘Co-parenting: getting the balance right’, Raisinghchildren.net.au, 1 January, viewed 15 August 2018, http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/coparenting_tips.html

[3] Serani, D 2012, ‘The Do’s and Don’ts of Co-Parenting Well’, Psychology Today, 28 March, viewed 15 August 2018, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/two-takes-depression/201203/the-dos-and-donts-co-parenting-well

[4] Thistleton T, ‘How to Streamline Your Co-Parenting Communication’, Motherly, viewed 15 August 2018, https://www.mother.ly/parenting/how-to-streamline-your-co-parenting-communication


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