Moving from a shared home to co-parenting between households can be tough for both the children and the parents. Thankfully, there are ways to make the transition easier. By making important decisions ahead of time and being mindful of everyone’s feelings and positions, West Virginia parents can make it easier for their children and themselves to adjust to this “new normal.”
Here are a few of the best ways to make co-parenting easier at first:
- Be clear about pick-up and return arrangements. The “hand-off” can be one of the most challenging aspects of co-parenting, especially at first. Instead of coordinating plans the day of and risking a conflict, make arrangements well in advance and stick to them wherever possible. When the other parent knows exactly what to expect, it can minimize their anxiety and prevent issues.
- Do not conduct pickups/returns at the other person’s home, if possible. Picking a location that is neutral and public is a good way to prevent conflict. It can also make the transition between parents easier for the child.
- Agree on structure/routines. Parents do not need to do everything exactly the same, nor is it a good idea to start a conflict over some small difference between households. That said, where possible, it is ideal to maintain some consistency between households. Aligning on structures like bedtime, rules and consequences can help a child feel more secure in the new environment(s), while also helping the other parent feel comfortable that things are moving in the right direction.
The issues listed here, and many others, could be helpful to discuss in mediation or when creating a co-parenting plan. Defining these details early on, while still remaining flexible if circumstances change, is key to a peaceful transition. Working with an experienced West Virginia family lawyer can help parents to identify and agree on issues such as these.