When Virginia parents get a divorce, they may still have many years of coparenting ahead of them. Keeping a relationship with both parents is important for children unless there are serious issues such as abuse, and parents should work to cultivate a positive coparenting relationship despite their problems with one another.
One way to do this is by creating a parenting schedule that is specific both about custody and visitation times and about drop off and pickup locations. Parents can choose neutral locations, such as school, to minimize the likelihood of conflict. A therapist may help parents work through negative emotions so they do not interfere with coparenting. Finally, parents might want to work with a parent coordinator to resolve conflict. This may be a social worker or a psychologist.
Parents should stay focused on their children and the fact that both parents want the best for them. They should try to be flexible and cooperative about the parenting schedule as needed. If their parenting styles clash, parents may be able to get help from a parenting coordinator. They should avoid sending negative signals to their children about the other parent even in subtle ways since the children might feel they must take sides. Instead, parents should talk positively about the other parent and encourage the child’s relationship with that parent.
Former spouses may share legal custody while only one has physical custody, or they might share physical custody as well. If this is the case, the children may spend roughly equal time with each of them. In working out a parenting schedule, parents may want to consult their children if they are older. They should also take other things into account such as their own job schedules, whether they are able to take the children to school and what arrangement causes the least disruption for the children.