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What are your co-parenting resolutions for the new year?

If one of your resolutions is to be a better parent in the new year, you're not alone. If you're a separated or divorced parent, that resolution likely involves working together more effectively with your co-parent to make your children's lives (and your own) easier.

Even if you have a good parenting plan in place, there are things you can do to make it work better for your family.

Work to better communicate with your co-parent

Communication can always be tricky at first. It may be difficult not to let your feelings about the relationship seep into your communications about the kids. Resolve to keep your communications clear and concise. The less extraneous information you include in your message, the more likely it is that your co-parent will read them.

Work to be more organized and plan ahead

This can help everyone schedule important events as well as everyday activities. As soon as you know of a change to your schedule, communicate with your co-parent so that the two of you aren't scrambling at the last minute to make sure your kids are taken care of or picked up on time. If you know of a special event you want your kids to attend, like a grandparent's birthday, but it's on your co-parent's schedule weekend, make arrangements as soon as possible to trade off.

If another one of your resolutions is to cut back on your spending this year, which will mean not always buying your kids the latest Kindle or Air Jordans, talk to your co-parent about it. If some of these expenses are ones that you split, you don't want to end up on the hook for half of nonnecessities you can't afford or don't want to pay for.

It's always a good idea to re-evaluate your parenting plan as your kids get older and their schedules and needs change. Working out these changes unofficially with your parent may be fine in the short-term. However, it's a good idea to codify them in your parenting plan to minimize conflict and confusion.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "Broaden the Scope of Your Co-Parenting Resolutions," accessed Jan. 10, 2018

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