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Yes, it's possible to keep stress levels low when co-parenting

You're definitely not the first or last person in New York to get divorced, but as a parent, you have additional concerns that couples without children don't face. It's understandable that you want your co-parenting relationship to be as low-key and non-stressful as possible. If you get along well with your ex, that might not be a problem.

However, many co-parents disagree about custody, visitation or finances. In fact, these causal factors often lead to divorce in the first place. In your post-divorce co-parenting arrangement, you definitely don't have to let your ex walk all over you. You have rights and it's critical that you know how to exercise them or, at least, where to get some help if you're unsure.

Basic rulebook for co-parents

No two divorces or family situations are the same. The following list shares information that is typically applicable across the board and helpful to parents who divorce: 

  • Children's needs are the highest priority. It is not so much important if you like your ex's new house or approve of where he or she works as it is that you are both willing to work as a team when it comes to putting your kids' needs above your own. 
  • Co-parenting implies interaction and cooperation between parents. If you and your ex don't get along, you might want to try parallel parenting instead. 
  • As long as you and your ex agree about the big stuff, don't sweat the minor issues. Okay, so he or she lets your kids stay up two hours later on weekends than you do -- they will likely be fine. 
  • It's always best to discuss and plan for new romantic partners in each other's' lives. You can even incorporate terms regarding this topic into your court order such as agreeing not to introduce new partners to the kids unless the co-parent has met him or her first.

If you do plan to enter into a new relationship, it might be best to make sure that person is on board with the way you and your ex do things. When a stepparent dynamic is added to a post-divorce, co-parenting situation, it can create many challenges. Those who anticipate legal problems will want to have a plan in mind on how to swiftly and fairly resolve any obstacles that arise.

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