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For parents in Pennsylvania who get a divorce, conflict does not always end when the marriage does. Co-parenting conflicts can continue for years, either because the parents genuinely disagree about how to parent or because one parent tries to use the children to manipulate and upset the other parent.

Despite this kind of conflict, courts generally work from the assumption that children should spend time with both parents unless the children are in danger. Therefore, it is best if parents can find a way to navigate their working relationship and focus on the best interest of their children.

As tempting as it may be, a parent should not say negative things about the other parent in front of the children.  Both parents should also strive to offer stability through structure and routine so that both homes are consistent.  If the rules are very lax with one parent, the child may struggle in one or both homes and parents may have conflict about this.  Keeping the lines of communication open with children and the other parent can help to ensure you are both on the same page.

Parents might lay the groundwork for a better co-parenting relationship after divorce by negotiating an agreement for child custody and visitation. Even in high conflict situations, they can do so through mediation, which focuses on conflict resolution and a solution that suits all parties. Further, even if parents have to go to litigation, they can still co-parent effectively if they focus their efforts on what they believe to be the needs and best interest of the children.