Minnesota parents who get divorced will have to find ways to raise their children while separated. While this can be difficult, courts generally operate from the position that children should be encouraged to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents after divorce.

Parents can interfere with this if they are not careful. For example, exes should avoid making negative remarks about one another. Children pick up on this even when parents think they are being subtle. At its worst, this kind of behavior can cause children to feel they must pick a side. Parents should instead encourage their child’s relationship with the other parent.

Keeping the focus on the child is one way that parents can work on setting aside their own emotions about the divorce. Parents might also want to look into therapy to talk about their anger, sadness and other feelings. A structured parenting schedule that is specific about when the children will be with each parent may help reduce the likelihood of conflict. Parents might also want to pick neutral locations for pickups. If they are experiencing conflict, a parent coordinator, often a social worker or psychologist, may be able to help.

Parents may also want to include plans for holidays and vacations in the parenting schedule. A parenting agreement can address issues the parents anticipate such as who will be in charge of taking the child to certain extracurricular activities or when the child’s bedtime will be. Over time, there could be issues that may require the court to step in. For example, if one parent decides to move far enough away to affect custody and visitation, this may need court approval.