Co-Parenting Tips from Memphis Attorney Whitney Goode

Posted By: Memphis Attorneys Blog Admin on 01/27/2014

Are you divorced? Separated? Raising a child with someone who is not your significant other?  You may be asking yourself: “How can I keep talking with this person who has hurt me?” “How can I keep a brave face for my child?” “What can I do to make this easier for my child?”. These are all valid questions that most likely cross the mind of every person who ends up co-parenting their children. Here are some tips that can help you in co-parenting your child:

Attend a Transparenting Class

 In a divorce action, courts require parents to take a “transparenting” class. This class prepares the parents for the reality of parenting a child who will be living in two households. This class is intended to bring issues to the attention of the newly separated parents which he or she might not have already thought about.  If a custody case is in Memphis juvenile court, the parents are not required to take this “transparenting” class.  Though it is not required to take the class in juvenile court, it is just as important to learn how to work with the other parent to raise the children in your lives. Here is a link to information on where you can take the transparenting classes in Memphis:


Find ways to Effectively Communicate with the Other Parent

                To keep yourself from using the child as the messenger, you and your ex need to discuss an effective  method of communication that will avoid conflict. If phone calls cause tension and conflict, texting or emailing could be the best form of communication. Here are some tips to help keep the communication conflict free:

                Use a Professional Tone. Treat the other parent as if he or she were a colleague. Keep the language professional.

                Don’t Demand, Make Request.  Instead of demanding that the child be returned at a certain time, etc., ask the other parent if they would be willing to drop off the child at a certain time.  By requesting rather than demanding, the other parent will most likely be more agreeable. A demand could put the other parent on the defensive.

                Stay Child-Focused. Parents should remember that the reason for their continued relationship is for the benefit of the child. So keep that in mind each time you are conversing with the other parent. If you can keep the child in mind each time you converse with the other parent, then you should able to keep any tension and conflict down.

                Change the Other Parent’s Contact Picture.  One way to stay child-focused in communications with the other parent is to change the contact photo of the other parent to a picture of your child. When the other parent calls, a picture of your child will pop up on the screen and it will remind you what the conversation should focus on.

Don’t put the kids in the middle

                While you may not want to communicate with your ex, never use your child as the messenger.  If a child is used as the messenger between parents, the child will feel like she is in the middle of the relationship and could feel like he or she needs to choose sides between each parent.

Don’t let your Feelings show in your Behavior

                Feelings of conflict, tension and anger often arise in co-parenting situations.  It is very important that the parents put these feelings aside and not let it show in their behavior in front of the child.  Parents should avoid venting to their children. Parents need to find another outlet to let their feelings out. It is important to stay focused on your children and their well-being.

Create Consistency Between Homes

                Try to agree on generally consistent rules and similar discipline techniques. By having consistent rules and consequences in each household, the child’s life will be consistent. This will prevent the child from thinking he can do one thing in one house and get away with something else at another house.  For example, if the child has misbehaved at dad’s house and has gotten tv privileges taken away then this should continue at mom’s house for consistency in the child’s life.  Also, keeping the child’s schedule consistent at the two houses will help the child’s life stay balanced. For example, keep the child’s bedtime around the same time so that his or her schedule won’t be changed  will promote the child’s well-being.

Making the Change Easier

Transitioning from living in one parent’s home to another parent’s home can be very difficult for a child but there are ways to make it easier on the child. 

                Communicate about the change.  Talk to your child about the change that is about to happen. Be positive about the experience. A few days before the visit, mention it to the child so that they will not be shocked by the change that is about to occur.

                Be Encouraging.  Be encouraging about the fact that the will get to spend time with the other parent.

                Pack Ahead of Time. Packing in advance can also help the child. Let them pick a few things from their normal home that will make them feel comfortable with the other parent.

                Drop Off, Don’t Pick up. If it at all possible, when it is time to make the switch, the parent who has the child should drop the child off at the other parent’s home. This will prevent the image of one parent “taking” the child from another parent and possibly breaking up a fun activity.

Remember to stay positive and keep the lines of communication open with the other parent. Don’t focus on the past, focus on the well-being of your child.  

Hiring a Quality Experienced Family Law Attorney

                In any custody proceeding, it is important to hire a good quality and experienced family law attorney who can advise you on your rights and the rights you have to parent your child. Many parents do not fully understand the custody rights that they have to their children. A good Memphis family law attorney  can provide you with even more tips that can help your co-parenting situation.

Whitney E. Goode, Esq.
Law Offices of J. Vincent Perryman
5100 Wheelis Drive, Ste 100 
Memphis, TN 38117
Phone: 901.347.0647
Fax: 901.255.0745