How to Have an Amicable Divorce with Children: (Tips For Co-Parenting)

As parents, you want what’s best for your children, and a bitter divorce can harm their well-being. However, having an amicable divorce with children and maintaining a positive co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse is possible. 

In this article, we’ll review some steps and tips to help you navigate the divorce process and ensure a successful transition for you and your children.

Tip 1: Put Your Children First

When going through a divorce with children, keeping their needs your top priority is essential. You may have differences with your ex-spouse, but your children’s well-being should always come first. Here are some ways to put your children first:

Tip 2: Focus on the Kid’s Emotional Needs

Divorce can be a traumatic experience for children, and they may need extra support during this time. Be patient and understanding, and listen to their concerns and feelings.

Tip 3: Communication is Key

Effective communication is crucial for a successful co-parenting relationship. While it may be challenging to communicate with your ex-spouse during this time, it’s vital to make an effort to keep the lines of communication open. Here are some tips for effective communication:

  • Use a neutral tone: Avoid using a confrontational or accusatory tone when communicating with your ex-spouse. Instead, try to use a neutral tone and focus on the facts.

  • Keep conversations child-focused: When communicating with your ex-spouse, keep the conversation focused on your children’s needs and well-being. Avoid bringing up personal issues or past conflicts.

  • Be respectful: Even if you disagree with your ex-spouse’s decisions, it’s important to be respectful and considerate of their opinions and feelings.

  • Be open to compromise and flexibility.

  • Consider using a co-parenting app or online tool to help with communication and scheduling.

Tip 4: Maintain The Kid’s Routines

Routines provide predictability and structure, which can help children feel safe and secure during a time of uncertainty. Routines can also provide stability, which is particularly important when other aspects of a child’s life are changing. 

Children rely on their daily routines to feel safe, secure, and in control, especially during a difficult transition such as divorce.

Children thrive on routines, and maintaining some sense of normalcy can help them feel more secure during the transition. 

Here are some tips for keeping consistent routines:

  • Stick to the schedule outlined in your co-parenting plan.

  • Keep consistent meal times, bedtimes, and wake-up times.

  • Maintain consistency in rules and expectations between both homes.

  • Ensure that both homes have a similar environment and resources.

  • Communicate with your co-parent about any changes in routines.

Tip 5: Create a Co-Parenting Plan 

A co-parenting plan is a written agreement between you and your co-parent that outlines how you will share parenting responsibilities and make decisions about your children. 

A co-parenting plan can help you and your ex-spouse establish clear guidelines and expectations for your co-parenting relationship. Here are some elements to include in a co-parenting plan:

  • Schedules and routines: Establish a schedule for when your children will be with each parent, including holidays and vacations. Also, establish routines for things like meal times, bedtime, and homework.

  • Communication: Set guidelines for how you and your ex-spouse will communicate about your children, including how often and through what methods.

  • Decision-making: Specify who will make decisions about the child’s health, education, extracurricular activities, religious upbringing, etc. This can be joint (both parents together), consultative (one parent makes the decision after consulting the other), or sole (one parent has the authority to make decisions).

  • Guidelines for handling future conflicts: Outline a process for resolving disagreements. This could involve seeking advice from a mutually agreed-upon third party, using a mediator, or, in more serious cases, going to court.

Tip 6: Making the Transition Between Homes Smooth 

Going back and forth between two homes can be challenging for children, especially if the homes have different rules and routines. Here are some tips for making the transition between homes smoother:

  • Maintain consistency in your co-parenting plan and routines.

  • Keep important items (e.g., favorite toys, blankets) in both homes.

  • Have a set routine for transitions (e.g., drop-offs and pick-ups at the same time and place)

  • Communicate with your co-parent about any issues.

Tip 7: Coping with Changes in Routines 

Despite your best efforts, routines may change during a divorce. Here are some tips for coping with these changes:

  • Acknowledge your child’s feelings and concerns about changes in routines.

  • Be flexible and open to making adjustments as needed.

  • Communicate with your co-parent about any changes and work together to make adjustments.

  • Provide your child with extra support and reassurance during transitions and changes.

Tip 8: Be Flexible and Open to Change

Co-parenting is an ongoing process that may require adjustments and changes over time. It’s essential to be flexible and open to change as your children’s needs and circumstances evolve. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be willing to compromise: Co-parenting requires compromise and cooperation. Be open to finding solutions that work for both you and your ex-spouse.

  • Revisit and adjust your co-parenting plan: Your co-parenting plan may need to be adjusted as your children grow and their needs change. Revisit your plan regularly and make adjustments as needed.

  • Stay positive: Co-parenting can be challenging, but it’s important to stay positive and focus on the benefits to your children.

Step 9: Seek Professional Help if Needed

Divorce can be challenging and emotional, and it’s okay to seek professional help if needed. Here are some resources that may be helpful:

  • Individual or family therapy: A therapist can help you and your children work through the emotional challenges of divorce and develop coping strategies.

  • Mediation: If you and your ex-spouse are having difficulty reaching agreements, a mediator can help facilitate productive discussions and find solutions that


Q. Can we have an amicable divorce even if we have had a difficult relationship in the past?

Yes, it is possible to have an amicable divorce even if you’ve had a complicated relationship with your ex-spouse in the past. It may require more effort and patience, but putting your children’s needs first and focusing on effective communication can help establish a positive co-parenting relationship.

Q. How can we ensure our children’s needs are met during the divorce process?

It’s essential to listen to your children’s concerns and feelings during the divorce process and provide emotional support. Maintaining routines and ensuring clear communication with your ex-spouse can also help ensure that your children’s needs are being met.


Maintaining routines for kids during an amicable divorce is crucial for their well-being. By creating a co-parenting plan, communicating effectively with your co-parent, making the transition between homes smooth, keeping consistent routines, and coping with changes in routines, you can help provide a sense of stability and security for your children during this difficult time. Remember to be flexible, open, and patient as you navigate this transition.

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Tim McDuffey is a practicing attorney in the State of Missouri. Tim is a licensed member of the Missouri Bar and Missouri Bar Association.

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