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Five Strategies for Co-parenting When Parents are in Different States

Co-parenting is intended to provide a healthy foundation for a child during and following the end of a marriage. Unique challenges arise when the circumstances of life require parents to life in different states. There are five primary strategies that can be utilized as a means of effectively co-parenting when parents reside in different states:

  • Optimize communication between parents
  • Fully utilize available technology
  • Integrate into child’s life
  • Enhance flexibility
  • Develop travel protocol
Goals of Co-parenting

Before diving into the five essential strategies associated with effective co-parenting when parents reside in different states, a quick overview of the goals of this type of post-divorce arrangement is helpful. Co-parenting is designed to optimize the role both parents play in the lives of a minor child in a divorce, separation, paternity, or similar type of situation.

The theory is that enhancing the involvement of both parents in the life of a child serves the best interests of that minor. Co-parenting is designed to establish meaningful structures that permit individuals the ability to parent their child and children with shared objectives and mutually supportive strategies designed to advance wellbeing of that minor or those minors.

Optimize Communication Between Parents

Under any scenario, effective co-parenting depends upon parents being able to communicate as effectively as possible. The need for the establishment and maintenance of a positive, clear, and reliable line of communication between parents becomes more significant when they will be residing in different states.

Communication be parents in a cooperative setting can be enhanced or optimized by employing these tactics:

  • Focus on the present and not the past when communicating with one another
  • Develop a framework that includes when and how communication will occur on a regular basis
  • Pay attention to your tone when communicating with your former spouse
  • Practice honesty in all communications with the other parent
Fully Utilize Available Technology

During the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions on interacting in person with people in our lives, technology became vital in keeping people connected. During the pandemic, having to resort to technology like Zoom and other applications seemed a second-rate substitute for face-to-face contact.

Of course, nothing really can replace actual in-person interaction with children. With that said, digital and virtual communication technologies can be ideal ways of enhancing contact between parents and children when residing across state lines. Moreover, these technologies can also prove beneficial in improving communication between parents.

Integrate Into Child’s Life

Co-parenting can be improved and the connection between a child and parents enhanced when parents become appropriately and better integrated into the life of that child. For example, because of the nature of divorced parents living in different states, a child will be in one location for a larger portion of the year because of schooling. Successful co-parenting with parents in different states necessitates that a parent strives even more to be involved in their child’s education, activities, and so forth.

Enhance Flexibility

A common issue in a post-divorce setting is at least some level of inflexibility between parents when it comes to matters associated with custody and parenting time. When parents are living in different states, the need for a higher degree of flexibility between them becomes more important.

The bottom line is that there are plenty of instances in which parents really are being inflexible for the sake of being inflexible. Taking a rigid position on an issue has nothing to do with advancing the interests of a child and proves to be more of an outgrowth of prior conflict between the parents during the course of the marriage.

Develop Travel Protocol

Time and again, during divorces and following the conclusion of marriage dissolution cases, conflict arises in regard to the “handoff” of children for parenting time and when scheduled parenting time concludes. Tension and conflict arise when parents are handing off a child to their counterparts for an array of different reasons. Tension and conflict certainly can rear its proverbial ugly head in regard to travel-related issues involving children when parents reside in separate states.

Another key strategy to enhance the prospects of positive co-parenting is to develop a clear, reliable travel protocol or scheme for a child or children. By having the essential or basic elements of a travel scheme of a child to go and forth between parents in place, odds are decent that there will be a lessening of the possibility that conflict and tension will arise during state-to-state child transfers.

A solid foundation for co-parenting from different states depends on an appropriately crafted parenting agreement of the kind drafted by seasoned legal counsel. The Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen legal team is experienced in dealing with all aspects of divorce, child custody, parenting time, and co-parenting. You can reach us to schedule an initial consultation by calling (201) 845- 7400.

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