California parents who are divorcing might need to work harder to get past conflicts for the sake of their young children. After divorce, children adjust better if their parents are able to maintain a cordial co-parenting relationship and put them first. This could mean placing trust in the other parent even when that parent does not seem to merit that trust. For example, the other parent might make changes to the schedule at the last minute. It is better to assume good intent than to escalate the conflict.

However, just because the other parent is difficult to work with is no reason for a parent to abandon their duties in this regard. Children benefit from contact with both parents, and if parents are able to cooperate with one another, then the children also have consistent rules.

Divorced parents should avoid speaking negatively about one another, venting in front of their children or using their children to carry messages back and forth. A written parenting plan can give parents an opportunity to decide how various issues will be handled such as discipline, new partners, visitation with other family members, school, health and conflict with one another. For visitation, experts believe that parents dropping children off rather than having them picked up provides an easier transition for the children.

Child custody can be a particularly difficult aspect of divorce to navigate because it is so emotional. Parents want the best for their children, but they also want to spend as much time with them as possible. When putting the child’s best interests first, parents might want to think practically about what arrangement would best suit their children. For example, if one parent works very long hours, that parent might not be the best choice as custodial parent. Another option might be joint physical custody in which the child spends roughly equal time with each parent. This can all be addressed during negotiations that the parents are having, and their respective attorneys can often assist in this regard.