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Co-parenting tips to ease the ‘Divorce Month’ blues

The holidays are past, and if divorce is meant to be, there are few reasons to slow the inevitable if sad forward motion to end a marriage.

Photo by Hutomo Abrianto from

For couples on the edge, January marks a time known as “divorce month,” culminating in March with divorce proceedings in full swing. The holidays are past, and if divorce is meant to be, there are few reasons to slow the inevitable if sad forward motion to end a marriage. For couples with children, the challenges are formidable.

“Children present the greatest motivation—and opportunity—for couples to divorce amicably and commit to a good divorce,” says Sarah Armstrong, “good divorce” proponent and author of The Mom’s Guide to a Good Divorce: What to Think Through When Children Are Involved.

Armstrong defines a good divorce as one that puts children first, and while many divorcing couples pay lip service to co-parenting, following through on the responsibility requires intention, discipline and hard work.

“We owe it to our children to ensure they are the priority and not collateral damage due to the divorce,” Armstrong says from her home in San Francisco, where she works as the vice-president of global marketing operations for Google.

To support a good divorce, Armstrong offers a wide range of win-win co-parenting tips such as:

  • Divorce means your child will inevitably become a professional traveler (between two homes). Co-parenting Tip: Set a goal that your kids will never have to pack a bag.
  • Divorce means that belongings (furniture, keepsakes, photos) are divided up between parents.
    Co-parenting Tip: Minimize the gaps (in other words, be ready to fill those empty spaces).
  • Divorce means decisions will have to be made about who and how to attend your children’s sporting events and extracurricular activities.
    Co-parenting Tip: Make an effort to sit together at these activities because your kids deserve a show of support from both parents.
  • Divorce means birthdays and holidays (such as Valentine’s Day) can be awkward.
    Co-parenting Tip: Help your child shop for a gift for your ex, or ask a family member or friend to assist. It teaches children an important lesson about giving—as opposed to just receiving.

Armstrong expands on the hows and whys of these issues and tackles other sensitive co-parenting topics as well.

Where to begin? For parents struggling to find a co-parenting starting point, Armstrong recommends developing a parenting plan that outlines how to jointly manage the children’s lives.

“Create a parenting plan based on the spirit of reasonable flexibility,” Armstrong says. “Whatever choices you make, collaboration is the key to creating a good divorce for you and your family.”  

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