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Is co-parenting actually better for your kids?

You probably hear people talk a lot about the benefits of co-parenting, at least whenever getting divorced with kids comes up. But is it actually better for the children, or is it just something the parents want for their own sake?

Experts do believe that it is the best arrangement for the children. Except in extreme cases -- like abuse -- children are better off still being involved with both parents, at least to some degree. Benefits include:

-- The children tend to feel more safe and secure. They know both parents love them and they're confident of their own place in the family. This often helps them adjust to the split more easily.

-- The children see that you two still have a healthy relationship, even if you're not married, and that sets a good example for them.

-- The children get more consistency. This really helps kids grow and develop. Co-parenting can involve a parenting plan that sets up standard systems for rewards, rules, discipline, bed times and more.

-- Kids learn about problem solving and cooperation. They see you and your ex work hard to keep the relationships with the kids alive, and they see you work together on the custody plan, visitation schedule and similar issues. Children are sponges and they'll learn from and then emulate what they see.

Just knowing that co-parenting is the best solution is not enough. You also need to make sure you know your legal rights before agreeing to anything. Your child custody arrangement is one of the most important parts of your divorce, so be sure you put the proper time and effort into your parenting plan.

Source: Help Guide, "Co-Parenting Tips for Divorced Parents," accessed Jan. 26, 2017

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