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Planning to co-parent during and after a Louisiana divorce

Louisiana spouses may have a difficult time finding anything positive about the end of a marriage. The breakup doesn't have to involve a contested divorce for spouses to feel sadness, hurt or anger. Spouses without children may make the break cleanly, but divorced parents remain connected through their children.

Divorce is a grown-up choice that can affect people outside the decision-making process – children. Parents can get wrapped up in their own feelings and forget they are not the only ones experiencing a life-altering change. Child custody, visitation and support agreements must reflect long-range child-rearing plans instead of the parents' emotionally-tinged wishes.

Co-parenting requires former spouses to continue part of a relationship after putting the desire to be with one another behind them. Joint duties of parenthood seem to fly in the face of the decision for permanent separation from an ex, but it's the job spouses assume when children are born. You can move forward during and after divorce in eternal conflict or find ways to make the transition easier.

You and an ex can commit to putting children's interests at the forefront, as laws and courts do. Children thrive when both parents are actively engaged in their lives. Flexible custody and visitation arrangements allow each parent to spend generous amounts of time nurturing a loving and strong relationship with children.

Parenting plans are the promises former spouses make to one another about the way children will be raised. This is a co-parenting blueprint that sets the stage for everything from custody and visitation to the education children receive and medical providers they'll see. Other details may include specifics about holiday and school vacation arrangements, child discipline, religious instructions and rules for parental interactions.

Parenthood doesn't end because a marriage does. Choosing to work with an ex to raise children shows your commitment to being a parent -- a lifetime joint venture.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Lessons: 8 Critical Choices in Making a Positive Split" John McElhenney, Aug. 05, 2014

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