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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Co-parenting after a Divorce

14th December 2010
By amnorge in Divorce
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Divorce is hard and can be made even harder when you have children. No parent wants to be away from their kids, something that is the case for many divorced parents. For some co-parenting is the best option. Co-parenting is where children live with each parent equally, for example they live with their Mother one week and their Father the following week. With a co-parenting arrangement each parent still has to spend time without their children but they do get to see them regularly and for a good amount of time. It means that both parents bring up the children to an equal extent.

There are advantages and disadvantages for parents and children in a co-parenting arrangement.

Advantages for Parents

After the majority of divorces one parent will not see their children as much as their ex-spouse. This can mean not seeing them for lengthy periods and only seeing them for a short period at a time, for example the occasional weekend. This is not the case if they are co-parenting; neither parent will face this difficult situation. If the arrangement works on a one-week on, one-week off basis then each parent never goes more than a week without seeing their children. And when they do see them it is for a whole week continuously. Although each parent will only have their children living with them half of the time it does allow them to maintain an involved relationship with them. Some may also see it as advantageous that they will not have to bring up their children alone. Following a divorce many end up bringing children up as a single parent which can be tough and stressful. This is not the case when co-parenting as the childrenís other parent will be doing half of the work.

Disadvantages for Parents

The most obvious disadvantage for parents in a co-parenting arrangement is that they do spend time away from their children. Each time they leave they may not see their kids for another week. This can be a difficult contrast for some, one week they have a full house, and then next week they are alone. There can also be conflicts between the parents. They may have different opinions about how to bring up children and this may cause conflict. If a child is allowed to do certain things when staying with one parent but not the other, this can be problematic.

Advantages for Children

The divorce of their parents can be a sad time for children, especially as they do not see one parent as much as they had previously. Although this is still the case with co-parenting, they do still get to see both parents on a regular basis, something most children prefer. Most would agree that ideally children should be bought up by a Mother and a Father and although in a slightly different way than normal this is still the case with co-parenting.

Disadvantages for Children

If children are spending one week living at their Motherís house and the next living at their Fatherís house they are constantly on the move, effectively moving home once a week. This is a little unstable and can be a problem for some, especially when they are teenagers. Depending on the distance between their parentís homes this can mean living in a completely different area. This can make a social life difficult as activities they do or friends they meet up with are not local half of the time. The possible different parenting styles can also have a negative effect on children in some cases.

Co-parenting works very well for some while for others it is just not possible. After a divorce it is inevitable that there can be difficulties between parents. If these cannot be overcome or put to one side for the sake of their children then co-parenting may be unworkable. But for many this type of arrangement is perfect. Both the parents and children can benefit. It is important that parents put any differences to one side and cooperate with each other for co-parenting to work successfully.

Beatrice Sareen (c)

Beatrice Sareen Divorce
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