Tips for co-parenting after divorce or separation
Healthy co-parenting after divorce
Going through a divorce or separation is a difficult transition. It will often become more complex when you have kids. If your relationship with your partner has broken down, divorce gives you both the opportunity to be happier apart from each other.
If the two of you are happier separately, this helps you maintain healthy and positive relationships with your children, as well as assisting you with co-parenting in a positive and collaborative way.
There are many legal matters you will need to handle during the divorce process, including children’s matters and property settlement, and you’ll need expert legal advice along the way. Read on to learn our straightforward advice for positive co-parenting after divorce.
At Australian Family lawyers, we can advocate for your rights as a parent, as well as help you come to a fair and amicable arrangement with your former partner. For advice on your situation, get in touch with our team.
1. Remember what’s important
If you’re going through a divorce, remember that the well-being of your child or children is the most important part of the equation. You may have disputes with your former partner, leading to hurt feelings on both sides. But working to maintain positive communication will help to create a happy and healthy environment for your children. You can do this by focusing on the basic job of parenting and cooperating with your former partner.
2. Co-parenting after a divorce and avoiding conflict
Children do well when they have good relationships with their parents, and when their parents are both stable and supportive, but parents do not need to be in a relationship or living together to provide this. Studies have shown that marriage isn’t what’s most important to a child’s well-being. The important thing is having a loving relationship with parents who aren’t constantly in conflict.
According to a study published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies(AIFS), an effective method for avoiding conflict with your former partner is to focus on the interests and preferences of your children when a potential dispute arises.
“The most common way in which parents said they dealt with potential disputes was by focusing on cooperation and by recognising the importance of compromise, flexibility and good communication.”
The study states that focusing on cooperation was an effective way for parents to deal with potential disputes. A less positive way of avoiding disputes is for parents to have little or no contact with each other, a solution called ‘parallel parenting‘, which divorced parents should try to move beyond.
3. The divorce process
If you’re currently considering or going through a divorce, the process can be quite lengthy and confusing. Here is a brief overview of the divorce process:
- To get a divorce, you need to be separated from your partner for at least 12 months before you can apply for a divorce. You can also be separated and still living in the same home.
- Once you apply for a divorce, it typically takes about three months for the divorce to be finalised.
- Deciding on children’s matters and property settlement is separate from the divorce process itself, and these issues are typically settled before the divorce is finalised.
- If one partner has made the divorce application on their own, as opposed to a mutual divorce application with both partners, and you have children under 18, then you’ll need to attend a divorce hearing in Court. This is to ensure proper living arrangements have been made for the children.
4. Settling children’s matters during the divorce process
Coming to an amicable agreement with your former partner is the best way to handle parenting after separation and divorce. In this scenario, both parents will have equal shared parental responsibility, after a separation. This means both parents will be consulting each other for decisions which have long-term impacts.
If you can agree on co-parenting after separation and divorce, then you could enter into a Parenting Plan or Consent Order outlining the agreement. Can’t agree your former partner? Depending on your circumstances, you can attend mediation. If you still cannot agree after mediation, then you will need to make an application to the Court to obtain Parenting Orders.
The Court will always consider what is in the best interests of the children, including:
- The need to protect children from violence
- The right of children to know and be cared for by both parents
- The right of children to spend time and communicate with both parents
More specifically, the Court can make a number of decisions directly related to the care of children, including:
- Who children will primarily live with
- The amount of time children will spend with each parent
- Whether one or both parents are responsible for important decision making
- Whether or not relocating the children is appropriate
Talk to us for advice
Going through a separation or divorce is difficult and complicated, but you don’t have to do it alone. At Australian Family Lawyers, we can help you navigate this complex terrain and reach the best outcome for you and your children.
Find out more about how we can help you with parenting and children’s matters during a divorce.
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