I recently read Co-Parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Thrive in Two Households after Divorce, written by Deesha Philyaw and Michael D. Thomas. I wish I had read it earlier, but better late than never. I will recommend that all of my clients (and potential clients) and anybody else co-parenting their children also read it.
The authors are a formerly married couple who are co-parenting their children together. The book is meant to be read by other parents, but is also useful for professionals such as attorneys and therapists. Philyaw and Thomas readily admit that although they have done a good job of co-parenting overall, they are not perfect. Their candor and openness about their own faults in the co-parenting relationship make the book more genuine and not “preachy.”
The book is divided into three sections entitled “Divorce 101,” “Co-parenting Basics,” and “But You Don’t Know My Ex.” “Divorce 101” deals with the basics of how you can go through divorce or separation, including description of the collaborative law process, mediation and litigation. This includes some advice on how to gather your thoughts and determine how you plan to approach the co-parenting situation before seeking legal advice. They also discuss beginning the healing process associated with divorce or other relationship change.
“Co-parenting Basics” helps you examine your co-parenting style, which is unique for each individual. They provide practical advice for not only identifying your own co-parenting style, but also working with the other parent effectively by being aware of his or her co-parenting style. If you only read two chapters of this book, I recommend “Fifteen Things You May Want to Do (But Must Not Do) as a Co-parent” and “Fifteen Things You Must Do (But May Not Want to Do) as a Co-parent,” which are both in the Co-parenting Basics section. This section also includes information specifically targeted to never-married and noncustodial parents.
“But You Don’t Know My Ex” wraps up the book with specific suggestions for changes that individuals can make regardless of how the other parent acts. It also addresses the issue of dating and remarriage in relation to co-parenting. In my experience, adding a new partner to the situation can have significant effects for adults and children, even if parents have been separated for years.
Co-Parenting 101 can be a really useful resource for anybody co-parenting their children. In case you’re wondering, I paid for the book, have never met the authors and received nothing in return for writing this blog post.
If you live or work in the central Pennsylvania area, including Carlisle, Harrisburg, Hershey and surrounding communities and would like to discuss co-parenting or any other family law or estate planning or administration issue, please contact me.