Stability: The main goal of co-parenting
When establishing a custody agreement, California laws and courts always prioritize a child’s best interests. This is because they want to maintain stability in the child’s life as much as possible through an extreme life change, such as a parent’s divorce.
The focus on stability should not end once the custody agreement is established. It should continue to be co-parents’ primary objective since it is still in their child’s best interests. Navigating co-parenting with an ex-spouse can be a challenge, and trying to maintain stability might be even more so.
However, there are three factors co-parents can focus on that can make it easier to ensure their children feel both stable and secure in the new chapter after their divorce.
Creating a clear schedule of custody and parenting time is essential to help stabilize a child’s life. Now that parents do not live in the same house, keeping to a set–but flexible–schedule can help things run smoothly.
For example, an established schedule is necessary now that kids are returning to school. It is often helpful for parents to:
- Ensure they arrange pick-up and drop-off times
- Consider children’s extracurricular activities
- Determine any changes in their individual schedules
A consistent schedule can help co-parents operate efficiently and provide stability.
Communicating with an ex-spouse might not be easy, but it can help improve stability when parents:
- Keep each other updated about their child
- Inform the other of any scheduling changes in advance
- Make decisions about their child together
When co-parents are on the same page, they can better support and meet their child’s needs.
When parents have different parenting styles, it can be a challenge to establish the same rules. However, having consistent rules in each parent’s home is beneficial for children. And there are a few significant rules that should stay the same for the child’s sake, including:
- Their diet and other health needs
- Screen time, including internet and TV
- Bedtimes, especially during the school year
- Disciplinary strategies, such as when to ground them
Establishing these rules in the parenting plan can be incredibly helpful. It holds co-parents accountable while they strive to do what is best for their children as the family adjusts and finds new stability post-divorce.