Successful Co-Parenting 101

Successfully co-parenting with your former partner may, at times, be hard work and take some serious perseverance. However, it is widely regarded that the quality of the relationship between co-parents can also have a strong influence on the mental and emotional well-being of children.

By co-parenting well you can give your children the constancy, security, and close relationships with both parents that they need.

Co-parenting basics

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.

Co-parenting works better for children if you and your co-parent:

  • live close by
  • are consistent about rules and rewards in both households
  • are organised and plan ahead for activities, holidays and special events, such as birthdays
  • avoid speaking about or to each other in an angry or hurtful way in front of the children
  • respect your child’s right to build a relationship with the other parent that is free of your influence

Developing a parenting plan

A parenting plan is a useful way to outline the details of how you both wish to parent together.

A parenting plan is an informal written agreement that outlines your children’s care, welfare and development.

A parenting plan should address:

  • how you will share parenting responsibilities
  • who the kids will live with
  • the amount of time to be spent with each parent
  • holidays and special events
  • decision making guidelines
  • education
  • healthcare
  • financial care

Ideally you would be able to sort out a co-parenting plan together. However if you can’t, you can get help from a family dispute resolution practitioner, mediator or relationship counsellor.

Related Article: Do You Need A Parenting Plan?


Tips for successful co-parenting:

Separate feelings from behaviour

Admittedly, the hardest part of successful co-parenting is setting aside any hurt, anger or resentment you may have with you former partner. It’s ok to still have these feelings, however don’t allow them to dictate your behaviour. To successfully co-parent keep top of mind your children’s happiness, stability and future well-being.

Aim to be flexible

While stability and consistency is key in helping your children feel secure and safe, it is also important to show flexibility. If parenting schedules or visitation times needs to be changed one week try and be flexible with each other and concentrate on what is in the best interest of your children.

Remember, your plans will also need to adjust as your children grow up and their needs and circumstances change. E.G When they starts school or takes up a new sport.

Positive communication

Peaceful, consistent, and purposeful communication with your co-parent will stand you in good stead for a successful co-parenting relationship. Be considerate of the type of language on tone you use when you communicate with each other.

It’s also valuable to work out the best way for you and your co-parent to communicate with each other in regards to the children. This could be through email, text, phone call or face-to-face conversation.

Related Article: How To Communicate Better With Your Co-Parent

Co-parent consistency

It’s great for children to be exposed to different perspectives and learn to be open minded and flexible, however children also need to understand and respect that they are living under the same basic set of expectations at each home. These consistent rules may be in regards to bedtime, amount of screen time, homework and household chores.

Respect their time together

When your children are with their other parent, respect this time. This could mean not calling too many times or at all whilst they are with their other parent. Again think about what is in the best interest of your children, which is allowing them to foster a relationship with both parents.

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


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