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Successfully co-parenting in Texas

Texas is just one of many states moving away from one parent having full custody to shared parenting, or co-parenting. This is when both parents work together to raise the child, even though they are not still married. It is quite difficult to learn to co-parent, but it can be done when both parents are committed to improving their communication skills and doing what is best for the child. However, it is not for everyone. The Texas Attorney General's office has put together a great resource for parents who are divorcing that discusses co-parenting and parenting plans.

Why co-parent?

  • Kids need both parents in their lives.
  • Children who have the support and love of both parents do better in school and are happier, even though they have two homes.
  • Kids learn by example. When you can talk to the other parent with respect, you are teaching your child how to act.
  • Your child feels more secure and safe in the relationship with both parents.

Tips for success

  • Let your kids know the schedule.
  • Be flexible when the kids have parties or activities; find ways for both parents to participate.
  • Stick to the visitation schedule.
  • Don't be afraid to be boring with your kids on your time. You do not always have to be the "fun" parent.
  • Try to stay close to your kids to be present for activities and to be in their lives.
  • Have a plan to work out issues that arise. Choose a mediator who can assist you both in making the best decision without arguing in front of the kids.
  • Take a class to learn from others who have gone through co-parenting.

What not to do

  • Do not change the schedule without talking to the other parent.
  • Do not think of shared parenting as equality, think in terms of equity. Have quality time with the child when it is your turn.
  • Do not leave a new partner with your child for long periods of time or let this person pick up or drop off the kids.
  • Do not use kids as messengers. It is hard to be in the middle of a relationship, but even more importantly, remember the game of telephone. Kids hear one thing and say another.

Do what is best for the children

You may need to discuss your situation with an experienced divorce attorney who can make sure you are maintaining your goal of doing what is the best for everyone. Child custody and visitation agreements can be complex arrangements, but by focusing on your goal, you can find a solution.

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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
310 South St. Mary's Street Suite 2500
San Antonio, TX 78205

Phone: 210-764-3468
Fax: 210-308-5669
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