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Keep the child's needs first after a divorce

No matter what type of parenting time a parent in Philadelphia has with the person's child after a divorce -- be it sole custody, shared custody or visitation time -- parents may quickly learn that they still must work together as co-parents when it comes to raising their child. In fact, successful co-parenting can greatly benefit the child who is adjusting to life after the divorce.

First of all, it is important to put the child's interests first. This is true from the moment the parents separate. During the first few months following a divorce, both parents and children are emotionally vulnerable. No matter what parents are going through emotionally, however, they need to keep their child's needs first and instead rely on friends, family or a therapist to help them deal with the emotional aftermath of a divorce, rather than expecting their child to provide the emotional support they need, as the child is also adjusting. Kids may experience a certain amount of anxiety following a divorce. Their lives have been inexplicably altered and they may not know what the future will bring.

For these reasons, it is important for both parents after a divorce to be on the same page when it comes to parenting. First of all, major decisions such as issues involving the child's health care, religion and education, should be made together, if possible. Co-parents should also decide how they will address unacceptable behavior on the part of their child. Consistency is key, as letting your child get away with unacceptable behavior can actually cause the child to experience further instability during what is an already confusing time in the child's life. Instead, both parents need to agree on and enforce clear limits on what their child can or cannot do, and what they expect of their child.

In the end, no matter what child custody order is in place, parents do not stop being parents after a divorce. They still must raise a child together, despite their own separation. Co-parenting involves a certain amount of cooperation on behalf of the parents, and as difficult as this may be, it is usually in the best interests of the child for his or her parents to be consistent and cordial post-divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, "4 Reasons Why Co-Parenting Post Divorce Matters More Than Ever," Dana Westreich Hirt, April 11, 2016

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