Sharing co-parenting challenges can be beneficial

By Staff

While co-parenting is often considered in the best interest of a child after divorce, it’s not necessarily the easiest approach for the parents, St. Catharines family lawyer Sharon Silbert tells

“There are some challenges associated with co-parenting that are not shared too widely,” says Silbert, principal of Sharon B. Silbert Professional Corporation.

She points to a recent article in Time magazine in which the author describes some of the frustrations she experiences in her efforts to share parenting duties with her ex-husband as they live their lives independent of one another.

Divorce doesn’t really exist when children are involved, the writer declares.

“That’s something people often forget and it really needs to be at the forefront at the beginning: When the separation takes place, one way or another, parents are likely going to need to have some sort of interaction with one another over a long period of time,” says Silbert. “If they can get off on the right foot, that makes things easier for everyone.”

Anything less than having the child 24/7 may feel like not enough for the separated parent, but there’s no such thing as a vacation from parenting, the Time article says.

“The two things may seem contradictory, but both can be true. That even though a parent isn’t physically with their child for 100 per cent of the time, it doesn’t mean that they’re not still their parent and can’t be present in other ways,” says Silbert.

While both parents often agree that sharing parenting duties and responsibilities is in the best interest of the child, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the easiest approach, Silbert says.

Co-parenting redefines what family looks like, and whether that’s good or bad really depends on the specific circumstances of the family, the article goes on to say.

If people felt somewhat free to talk about it and connect with others who are having similar experiences, Silbert says, that might be helpful for the parents.

“Separation and divorce is about more than just the legal situation. The emotional and financial components often have a huge impact on how people handle their legal affairs and also how they go on with the rest of their lives,” she says.

Once the separation agreement is firmly in place, a schedule is drawn up and the parents begin establishing their lives separate from each other, the practical side of co-parenting is often lost in the conversation.

But there are challenges, some not so obvious, and that’s where Silbert sees a conversation with others in similar situations could provide some support for the parents.

“There may be some benefit in being more open about the challenges and talking to one another and getting the support they need to get through it,” says Silbert.