Parenting Now!

Parenting After Divorce or Separation

Still Parenting Together

Major relationship changes, such as separation or divorce, can present challenges, as well as opportunities, for parenting together.

Even in the best of circumstances, it’s critical to be prepared and give consideration to how things will work when parenting together after a separation or divorce. It will not only help you and your child adjust but also to thrive in the new circumstances of your lives.

Basic Planning

Given whatever legal circumstances may be involved, you and your child’s other parent will still need to start by addressing some basics for your new parenting situation.

Writing things down helps to make clear agreements and gives you something to refer to when there is a lack of clarity or conflict. Create a specific co-parenting plan using a list, chart or Excel file to record both broad and specific needs and how they will be addressed. Your list can include items such as:

Remember that, ultimately, you can’t control what happens at the “other parent’s” house. Your child can adjust to two sets of rules — don’t put them in the middle of your disagreements.

Lots of Options

Just as there can be lots of ways to parent effectively based on your family values and the individual personalities of family members, there can be many different ways to effectively co-parent after separation or divorce.

Talk with other parents in similar situations. Ask specifics.

You don’t need to go by everything other people do, but picking and choosing from a variety of ideas and solutions can help generate fresh ideas and create a combination that works for your family.

Acting as Adults

You don’t need to be friends with your “ex,” but getting along, listening and being accountable to each other around parenting issues are essential. It will not only be helpful to your children directly but will also be a great example of the importance of respecting others, even when you have differences.


Children are Children

More Help

If you can’t work out the details you need to, look for outside help. Counselors, lawyers, mediators all can provide an outside, calm and needed perspective. There are even “co-parenting coordinators” in some communities that specifically address these issues.

If there is any history of family violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse or other serious issues, you will need to seek assistance and information from professionals about how to approach co-parenting issues and if co-parenting is a viable option. The Oregon Judicial Department has put out a Safety Focused Parenting Plan Guide found at

If you need to report abuse or neglect you can call this toll-free number for reporting to the Oregon Department of Human Services 1-855-503-SAFE (7233).

Stronger Families

With mutual respect and focusing on the needs of your child, you and your child’s other parent can provide a healthy, loving environment and a strong family they can rely on.


This article is brought to you by Parenting Now! Parenting Educators and authors, Tova Stabin, Claire Davis and Lynne Swartz and consultant Jay Thompson ( Parenting Now! is passionate about happy, healthy families. For more information about Parenting Now! contact us here.

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