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Being a parent is not easy, but having to co-parent with an ex might be even more difficult. As more child custody agreements shift toward a focus on shared custody, divorced California parents must figure out how to successfully work together for the benefit of their children. Although this sounds good in theory, it can be a bit harder in real life. 

The move toward shared custody leaves behind historical norms of mom getting custody and dad seeing the kids during visitation. While shared custody might be better for kids, it can be incredibly difficult for divorced parents. Shared custody requires continual and ongoing communication between parents. For two people who were unable to stay married, this is asking a lot. 

Healthy co-parenting is possible, though. Parents should consider addressing issues such as household rules and parenting decisions and not just schedules and timetables, as this provides consistency for kids and clear expectations for parents. Including key language in agreements that outlines how parents will handle unexpected changes in schedules and holidays also helps lays the groundwork for more constructive communication. When everyone knows what is expected of them and how issues will be handled, it takes some of the stress out of the matter. 

Divorce can be stressful, and it may be difficult for some California divorcees to imagine actively parenting alongside their soon-to-be ex. However, for those who think shared custody is best for their child, co-parenting is a must. Like in all matters pertaining to child custody, parents who keep their children’s best interests as a focal point will usually be able to reach an agreement that works well for everyone.