If you’re about to start co-parenting with your ex-spouse in a 50/50 joint custody arrangement, you might be wondering what you just signed up for. This is particularly true if you and your ex have a hard time getting along. In some cases, you may indeed have cause for concern.

Co-parenting relationships, in which the children live half the time with one parent and half the time with the other, work best when the spouses can work together and easily come to agreement about various parenting decisions. To help you and your spouse work together diplomatically, we have a few suggestions you might want to keep in mind.

Remember that your ex might be a better parent than a spouse

You could have a long string of complaints pertaining to your spouse. Perhaps he or she was unfaithful, bad with money, lazy, had an anger problem or was disrespectful to you or your family. Regardless what your complaints happen to be, however, it’s important to take a step back. Consider whether these complaints were more about the relationship you had with your spouse, and not so much about the relationship your children have with him or her.

In many cases, ex-spouses – who weren’t so good at being married – become all-star parents who do everything in their power to ensure the happiness of their children. At the very least, even if your spouse is not the best parent in the world, family psychologists agree that the most important thing is for your child to have the chance to spend as much time as possible with both parents.

Establish some ground rules for communication

You and your ex-spouse need to establish ground rules for healthy communication. There will be numerous issues that you and your ex will need to decide together in the years to come. It’s important that you have a conflict resolution game plan that you can use in situations when it’s difficult to agree. Perhaps this plan involves talking with a neutral mediator or letting a trusted grandparent decide. Whatever you do, make sure that you agree not to engage in arguments in front of your children.

Do you want to create a peaceful parenting plan?

When parents divorce in an angry or contentious fashion, it only serves to hurt their children and cost the parents more money and time in their divorce proceedings. If you want to divorce peacefully and respectfully, make sure you explore all available options for peaceful conflict resolution during your divorce proceedings.