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Tips for a functional co-parenting relationship

When parents divorce in North Carolina, they may struggle afterwards to maintain a functioning co-parenting relationship. However, it can be important to the well-being of their children that they do so.

It may be helpful for parents to work with a counselor. At minimum, a counselor may offer assistance in setting ground rules and expectations for the co-parenting relationship. Focusing on the children may help parents move past resentment, anger and other negative emotions and work toward what will be best for them. Parents should consider where would be the best places for them to meet to discuss the children. Places that have painful associations, such as the house they once shared, may not be the right choice. Instead, a pleasant public environment where both feel comfortable, such as a cafe, may be a better choice.

Dealing with money can be particularly complicated, especially if finances were a factor in the divorce. Parents should try to reach an agreement about child and spousal support payments without going into litigation. The parent who is required to make the payments should do so regularly and avoid falling behind. These payments can be important to the other person, and being responsible with them can help build trust.

One advantage of reaching an agreement on these as well as other issues, such as property division, in negotiation instead of going into litigation is that it gives parents more control over the outcome. They can put together a plan for custody that takes their schedules and their child's needs into account. Judges base their decisions on the best interests of the children, but parents may be able to make a creative arrangement that suits their individual situation. Parents should be aware that if child support goes unpaid, it is still inappropriate to deny one parent's access to the children.

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Bull & Reinhardt, PLLC
160 E. Chestnut Street
Asheville, NC 28801

Phone: 828-348-8053
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