Divorced parents in Texas should keep several guidelines in mind to make the co-parenting process smoother. The most important thing to remember is that everything should be done with the best interests of the child in mind. Parents need to recognize that even if they consider the other parent unpleasant or incompetent, that individual is still an important figure in the child's life. Only if abuse or other issues affect the child's safety should parents interfere with that relationship.
Parents should set up calendars in each household so that they and their children can clearly see the custody/visitation arrangements for the month. Communicating over text or email and using online tools for scheduling and communication may help reduce the likelihood of conflict. Certain rules should be consistent between households; although, they may need to be general, such as "be respectful," since different parenting styles may have contributed to the divorce in the first place.
Children usually feel somewhat caught in the middle of a divorce, but parents should do what they can to avoid contributing to that feeling. Children should be allowed to talk about the other parent. Furthermore, parents should keep explanations about the divorce simple and blame-free. New partners should be introduced slowly and take an "assistant" role in parenting. Parents should set aside differences to attend important events for their children.
Negotiating child custody and visitation can be difficult, but if parents are able to reach an agreement without going to court, it could be the first step in putting down a foundation for a functioning co-parenting relationship. Parents might also turn to a mediator to help them resolve their conflicts. However, an effective co-parenting relationship is possible even after a contentious custody battle in court if ex-spouses are committed to prioritizing their children's needs.