We want to hear about your experiences with Parentline... Help us improve our service!

Go to survey

Main Menu

Co-Parenting After Separation And Divorce

Parenting with an ex can be tricky business, but it is possible.

Sad girl as parents fight in the background

Why it can be so hard to co-parent

There can be lots of ups and downs when it comes to juggling responsibilities between ex partners.

Here are a few issues that parents can struggle with:

  • Dealing with unresolved feelings or issues - and the resulting arguments
  • Worrying that one parent will get less time with the kids than the other
  • Clashes in parenting styles or views
  • Difficulty with decision making – when you just can’t seem to agree!
  • One parent wanting to spend more or less time with the kids
  • Last minute changes to plans
  • Kids being emotionally affected by the separation or divorce
  • Adjusting to step parents being involved

Tips for successful co-parenting

Parenting with an ex tends to work best when the following things are kept in mind:

Working together is important 

Be clear in decision making

Be flexible and roll with changes

Avoid discussions when upset or angry 

Support the kids to feel connected to each parent

Compromise where you can - meet in the middle

Keep an open mind to different parenting styles

Communicate respectfully and calmly with your ex

Take time to help the kids understand the changes

Remember to keep the kids’ best interests a priority

Try to be organised and plan ahead – keep your ex in the loop

Be prepared for different emotions from the kids (sadness, anger...)

Create a co-parenting plan!

Making a collaborative agreement is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page about their responsibilities and minimises conflict. A co-parenting plan can include:

  • A schedule - how often the kids will get to see each parent and for how long
  • Where the kids will stay
  • Where they will be educated as well as drop offs and pick ups
  • How holidays and special events will be shared
  • Medical decisions and how they will be made
  • Finances - how expenses will be divided

Finding balance between you and your ex-partner can be done!

You're not alone in figuring out what works best for you and your family.

This content was last reviewed 18/05/2018

Was this information useful?

Help us by rating this page:

Thanks for your feedback!

Parentline is here for you.

Sometimes you just need to talk to someone. Sometimes you need guidance.