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Co-parenting after a divorce shouldn't be optional

After a divorce, the married couple may feel as if they went through the toughest, most emotional time in their lives. For those who have children, it's usually the same or worse for them. When parents divorce, it's crucial that parents get the co-parenting thing down. This doesn't mean there won't be mistakes or difficulties along the way, but here are some reasons why co-parenting after a divorce is so important.

First, your kids just want the major effects the divorce to settle. During the first six months or so, everyone's emotions are raw. Parents may feel like it's all they can do to keep themselves together, let alone their children. However, this is when your children must come first. They are desperately trying to figure out what the new normal is now.

Second, children of divorce may feel as though they are on shaky ground. If their parents can quit loving each other, does that mean their parents won't always love them? It's your job as a parent -- and your co-parent, too -- to make sure you are there for your children to reassure them. Make sure you attend to their security and attachment needs.

Third, this is the only chance you get to this. Your kids need stability. This means that you probably should not be bringing a date by just yet. It's also best to remember not to use your kids to deliver messages to the other parent, don't fight with the other parent in front of the kids and don't speak badly of him or her in front of the kids. No matter what, your children need to know what the rules, expectations and limits are in your home.

Finally, make sure that consistency is constant. Make the big decisions relating to your children with the co-parent. Talk about how to address inappropriate behavior. Don't make children move their belongings back and forth between homes if you can help it. That can often increase anxiety. Don't forget to tell your children how much you care about them.

For those who are in the midst of a child custody battle, it may be easier to gain guidance and advice from an experienced divorce attorney. He or she can help you understand what to expect as your case moves through the court system.

Source: Huffington Post, "4 Reasons Why Co-Parenting Post Divorce Matters More Than Ever," Dana Westreich Hirt, accessed May 04, 2016

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