Children need their parents to co-parent with one another. They need both of their parents to be “on the same page” with how they are going to be raised, where they will go to school and in what activities they should be involved.
There has been more and more discussion in the Minnesota legislature and with Minnesota family law attorneys on how to best accomplish parents working together to raise their children. The first step in co-parenting is to recognize each family is different.
First and foremost, parents need to recognize the children and their needs are important. A parent’s needs and wants are secondary to raising healthy children. Whether the parents like it or not they are in each other’s lives for a very, very long time.
Some parents find benefit in creating a parenting time schedule specifying when they will be with the children during the school year, summer break, holidays and special events. Having a parenting time schedule allows the children and the parents to know what to expect reducing a fair amount of stress all around. A parenting time schedule cannot account for every “what if” such as bad weather, a child being ill or a child wanting to be in a new activity. Children and parents need to accommodate the changes. A parenting time schedule often changes over time. The University of Minnesota’s Parents Forever program can offer parents beneficial information and resources. The link to the program can be found at http://www.extension.umn.edu/family/parents-forever/about-the-program/what-does-the-research-say.
The key to long term co-parenting time is open communication between the parents. Co-parenting cannot happen without it. A family law attorney can provide ideas and guidance in creating a workable parenting time schedule at the time of a divorce and as the children get older.