No divorce is easy. However, if you and your spouse had children together, your split may be even harder. No matter how the two of you feel about each other, you will always be part of the same family. For the sake of your kids, you will have to find a way to successfully co-parent.

Every co-parenting arrangement is different, depending on factors such as whether one parent has primary child custody or both share in a joint custody arrangement. Child support obligations can also play a huge role.

Still, there are some common themes that appear in all co-parenting relationships. Experts recommend that parents keep the following tips in mind:

  • Draft a strong divorce agreement: Ideally, your divorce agreement will set out exactly who is responsible for what and when they are required to do it. Although this may seem tedious at the time, it can go a long way toward preventing conflict in the future. Once the agreement is in place, follow it.
  • Communicate regularly – and with each other: Make sure the other parent always knows when something important is going on with the children. Further, don’t involve your kids in adult conversations. If your ex needs to know something, talk to him or her directly.
  • Make custody transfers a priority: Don’t be late to pick your kids up, and don’t keep them past your scheduled time. Little annoyances can grow into huge rifts over time, especially if one parent continually feels slighted.
  • Keep an eye on the kids’ stuff: It’s easy for things like homework, clothes and favorite toys to get lost in the shuffle between two homes. Make a point to make sure your kids have what they need before going to stay with the other parent.

By following these tips, you can help ensure a smooth transition for your kids post-divorce.

Source: The Huffington Post, “The 5 C’s of Divorced Co-Parenting,” Marie Harwell-Walker, July 6, 2012.