Create a Co-Parenting Contract

If you can get your ex to cooperate with this exercise, great!  If not, no worries. You do not need your ex to validate or authorize this contract.  The co-parenting contract is mainly for you (and ultimately, for your children). It is one more way for you to establish the right mindset.  Here is the contract:

The Co-parenting Contract

I, _____________________, have agreed to hold myself accountable to be the best parent I can be for our child(ren)_______________________________.  I understand that part of being the best parent I can be requires that I effectively co-parent with ___________________. Because I love our children and want them to be healthy and free of any additional anxiety caused by our divorce, I will do everything I possibly can to co-parent cooperatively with my ex.  

I agree that:

  1. Our children need both parents actively involved in their lives.  I will honor all reasonable, non-disruptive attempts for my children to interact with my ex.
  2. I may have more or less physical time with our children than my ex, but I acknowledge that my ex, _____________________________, and I are equally important to our children.
  3. I will support my ex as an equal partner in the co-parenting of our children.
  4. I will communicate as much as necessary with my ex to provide our children with a consistent parental message (disciplining, medical information, school, etc).  I will interact respectfully with my ex in the presence of our children, knowing they love and care for my ex.
  5. I will not disparage, bad-mouth, or speak poorly of my ex in front of our children.  In fact, when possible, for the benefit of our children, I will speak positively of my ex in front of the children and highlight their good qualities.
  6. I agree that discussing my past relationship with my ex provides no benefit to effectively co-parent our children and will do my best to move forward to building workable, respectful interactions with my ex.
  7. I will not fight or argue with my ex in front of the children.  If I need to address a sensitive topic or disagreement with my ex, I will do so at a proper time, away from the children.  I will not threaten my ex, but will be respectful even if I completely disagree with them. I will not use the courts and lawyers as the first line of defense, but only after exhausting every possibility to resolve conflict with my ex. 
  8. I agree to be considerate of my ex and do my best to take his or her responsibilities and obligations into account.
  9. I will try not introduce my new romantic relationships to our children for a minimum of ____ months.
  10. I will put my child’s needs first.

Include any additional, specific points that you and your ex will agree to:

  • I also agree to __________________________________________
  • I also agree to __________________________________________
  • I also agree to __________________________________________
  • I also agree to __________________________________________

I make this agreement for the sole purpose of improving the difficult position that my children are in, attempting to make their lives easier, and to lessen the burden that divorce brings them.  When necessary, I or my ex will refer to this agreement to ensure it is adhered to.

Signature 1:  _______________________    Date: ___________________

Signature 2:  _______________________    Date:____________________

– End of Contract – 

It’s important to plan ahead; the Co-Parenting Contract can help with that planning.  In the next section, I will highlight some important things to consider. You should know ahead of time how you will react to certain situations.  You should know what steps you need to take. Let’s review what will be another vitally important component to successfully co-parenting with your ex.

Continue Reading: The Parenting Plan & Interacting with Your Co-Parent

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