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Tips for sharing custody after divorce

Massachusetts parents going through divorce can get frustrated and lash out at the other parent during the divorce process and beyond. But the best option for those parents sharing child custody is to develop the skills to get along. Below are some insights on how to do this.

Co-parenting is more than a buzzword. Maintain a civil relationship with your ex by treating him or her as if they were your business partner. Never treat your children as pawns in some game. Make all decisions with what is best for the kids in mind, not simply what is convenient or easiest for the parents.

While there is room to accommodate a difference in lifestyles, children thrive best with consistency. Keeping rules as similar as possible in both homes keeps kids from pitting mom against dad. Also remember that unless there is truly inappropriate or illegal behavior occurring in the other parent's home, it is not your job to micromanage the other's house rules.

Communicate effectively with your ex. Technology offers many alternatives if you are not yet ready for a conversation. Never let your children hear you badmouth their other parent to others, and don't use the kids to deliver messages. You're the adults, so model grown up behavior.

Learn to deal effectively with conflicts so that you can be a good role model for your children. They learn many of their coping skills from you, so be a positive influence. Let them see that it is possible to create healthy relationships even in adverse circumstances. It's a great life lesson.

If you struggle with letting go of your anger toward your ex, vent with friends or speak to your family law attorney about a referral for a counselor. Most divorce attorneys have several qualified professionals they work with on a regular basis that they can recommend.

Source: Huffington Post, "11 Things All Divorced Parents Need To Hear" Brittany Wong, May. 21, 2014

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