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Four Rules for Newly Separated Parents

Four Rules for Newly Separated Parents

four rules for newly separated parents

Here at Swan Family Lawyers we understand that co-parenting post separation can be extremely challenging – especially if the relationship did not end amicably.

In order to help make co-parenting easier, these are the four rules that you should follow:

  • Communicate
  • Teamwork
  • Respect
  • Persevere

It is so important that you are able to effectively and respectfully communicate with your co-parent. Although you may no longer be a couple, it’s in your child’s best interest to stay on amicable terms with each other which includes being able to show your child that you can communicate with one another in a respectful way.

You must try and communicate with each other to make joint decisions and address any ongoing issues about your child.

You should let your child communicate with the other parent whilst they are in your care. It is important to acknowledge your child’s right to spend time with, communicate with and have a relationship with the other parent – as far as is appropriate in your family’s circumstances.

Communicating regularly and openly makes co-parenting easier. This doesn’t mean demeaning your co-parent to the child or other people around you.


It is obvious that separation will impact on the structure of the child’s life. It is critical that you and your co-parent try and work out some ground rules for the child together to regain some of that structure.

Remember, you should be making all major long-term decisions together such as:

  • Education
  • Religion or cultural upbringing;
  • Health;
  • Any changes to the child’s name; and
  • Any changes to your circumstances that would make it difficult for the child to spend time with the other parent (e.g. relocation).
  • Education
  • Religion or cultural upbringing;
  • Health;
  • Any changes to the child’s name; and
  • Any changes to your circumstances that would make it difficult for the child to spend time with the other parent (e.g. relocation).

You should also try and have consistency across both households in respect to things like technology usage, bedtime and sleeping arrangements, and food choices.


Respecting your co-parent is essential to a successful co-parenting relationship. Remember that, in most instances, your co-parent loves your child as much as you do. This is your common ground.

Just because your co-parent’s parenting style is different to yours doesn’t necessarily mean that it is wrong. It is important that you let them parent in their own way insofar as it doesn’t have any negative implications on the child or your relationship to the child.

It is common for family lawyers to be presented with chains of disrespectful and hurtful communications between co-parents by their clients. Even though your matter may be resolved with or without the need for litigation, you should try and approach all communication with your co-parent as though a judge might read over this communication one day. How might they interpret you calling your co-parent a hurtful name?

Respect also includes not trying to influence your child’s relationship with the co-parent by asking them to reveal about their relationship or the time they have spent with the other parent. You should ask them how their time was with their co-parent and frame it in a positive manner – “did you enjoy your time with your dad?” or “what cool stuff did you do with your mum this weekend?”.


Co-parenting can be tough. You will have ups and downs throughout this bumpy road – but you should never give up.

We understand that it can be a highly emotional time and you are both bound to make mistakes. Hey, you’re only human! Your co-parenting relationship, like your child, will grow stronger as time goes on.

Always remember the greater cause: your child.

Call us now on 8227 1970 and we will chat with you over the phone free of charge.

Family law, divorce, wills and estate specialist family lawyers for Adelaide and South Australia.

Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Nothing in this blog should be deemed to create or constitute a solicitor-client relationship between any readers and Swan Family Lawyers. A solicitor-client relationship is created only when this firm agrees to represent someone and a written engagement agreement or engagement letter is signed by both the client and solicitor. In all cases, the reader should consult his or her own solicitor for advice. The information in this blog is based on Australian law.