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In 2020, roughly 2.71 million people filed for a legal divorce in Canada. The number has been steadily rising since 2000, when 1.88 million people filed for divorce in the country.

With the increasing number of divorcees in Canada, more and more children are becoming victims of broken homes. Additionally, co-parenting can also be a challenge for co-parents.

Co-parenting with your ex can be emotionally and mentally taxing. To help you with the process, this article outlines tips on how to make co-parenting work.

Co-Parenting Relationship With Your Ex

Co-parenting is a collaborative partnership taken on by parents. The aim is to focus on the socialization, upbringing, and care of the children for whom the parents share equal responsibility. 

The process can sometimes be challenging since it can be influenced by the emotions of each parent. To help you and your ex, you can seek counseling and create a parenting plan.

A parenting plan contains the arrangements on parenting time and decision making responsibility.  Typically, the end result of a parenting plan is the parenting arrangement.

The plan can help outline the arrangements you need to put in place to care for your children after separation or divorce.

Parenting arrangements may come from the parenting plan agreed by the parents, court order, arbitration award, or separation agreement.

It can help you and your ex know what’s expected from the two of you during co-parenting. It’s important because it outlines practical decisions about your children, including education,  living arrangements, and health care.

Professionals Vital for a Successful Co-Parenting With Your Toxic Ex

Sometimes, to make co-parenting work, you’ll need the help of professionals. Below are the different professionals who can help you in co-parenting, even with a toxic ex.

Legal advisers can help co-parents discuss their situation at home. With the help of legal advisers, you and your co-parent will be aware of the best legal options for you and your family.


Counselors provide co-parenting therapy that can teach you communication strategies. These strategies are useful for communicating about your children without involving you and your ex’s personal lives.

Counselors can help you and your co-parent resolve issues without blaming each other. With counselors, you can talk to your ex without stirring up the past.


A mediator chairs a meeting between you and your co=parent. They don’t make judgments or take sides. 

Mediators promote proactive discussion in a safe, controlled environment. They help co-parents reach decisions that would benefit the children.

Parenting Coordinators

Parenting coordinators are trained professionals who help co-parents manage their parenting plans. Parenting coordinators also guide and help co-parents in abiding with the court order, family arbitration award, parenting arrangement/plan, or separation agreement, regarding parenting over the common child.

They help improve communication and resolve disputes between co-parents. The role of a parenting coordinator will vary depending on the unique needs of the parents.

Parenting Coaches

Parenting coaches can help you improve your parenting skills. Parenting coaches help identify issues between you and your children.

They promote good parenting practices and remind parents to take care of themselves while taking good care of their children.


Improving Communication Skills With the Other Parent

Improving communication between you and your ex can help your co-parenting efforts. Below are some important tips on how to improve your communication skills.

Think Ahead About What To Say

Stress can make it difficult to express yourself. This can hinder communication with your co-parent. 

You can try writing down your ideas in point form before meeting with your ex. This can help you lessen stress and can help you think through the issues.

Open Your Ears and Your Mind

Listening is an underrated skill. Although it sounds easy, you’ll sometimes find yourself talking even before you’ve heard what the other person is saying.

This can make the person you’re talking to feel like they haven’t been heard. This can also cause misunderstandings.

To avoid this situation, listen to what the other parent is saying, not what you think they’re going to say. Listen to them before you decide on how to respond or before you start speaking.

Focus on “I” Statements

Express your feelings by using “I” statements. Doing this can help you focus on how you see an issue rather than on blaming your ex.

Avoid using “you” statements, which can make your co-parent defensive and make it harder to find solutions.

Repeat What Your Ex Said

You can improve your communication skills by repeating what you believe your ex has said. Restating can show that you listened and understood your co-parent’s sentiments.

This doesn’t always mean you agree with what they said. It just shows that you understood them, which is important in solving issues.

Put Your Child First

You’re improving your communication skills to help resolve problems. With fewer conflicts, you and your ex will have more time to focus on your child.

Focusing on your child’s needs also shifts attention away from what you or your co-parent wants. Remember that you’re trying to do all these things for the welfare of your child.

When You Can’t Talk or Meet in Person:

Through Digital Means

Communicating through digital communication channels like emails or texts allows you to think about your response before you send it. Online communications also record your discussions that you can refer back to if needed.

With Assistance from a Mediator or Counselor

If you can’t communicate in person, you can seek the help of professionals. These professionals can help bridge the communication gap between you and your ex.

Parents’ Duties Under the Divorce Act

Best interests of the child You must act in a manner that is consistent with the best interests of your children.
Protection of children from conflict You must protect your children from the conflict that may arise from the divorce proceeding.
Family dispute resolution process You and your ex can resolve parenting issues by employing any of the family dispute resolution processes.  Family dispute resolution are out-of-court processes that include negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, and arbitration.
Complete, accurate and up-to-date information You must give complete, accurate, and updated information if required by the proceeding.
Duty to comply with orders You must follow orders from the court. Not following court orders can lead to serious legal consequences.

The best interests of your children should always come first. Gelman & Associates’ family lawyers can help you understand how to take advantage of the knowledge and skill of child psychologists when making co-parenting arrangements with your ex.


Pro Tip

Research shows that low conflict between parents is critical to the children’s well-being after separation or divorce. Treat each other with respect in front of the children. Visit Gelman & Associates for more legal advice regarding co-parenting.


Parents getting divorced will definitely impact a child’s life.

Your child’s quality of life will depend on how you and your ex will perform your co-parenting duties.

There are several things you can do as a parent to make this difficult time easier. 

You may seek the help of legal advisers for a successful co-parenting with your ex. With a legal adviser, you’ll know the best legal options for you and your family.

Visit Gelman & Associates to receive legal advice necessary to have a successful co-parenting with an ex-partner. With sound legal advice from our lawyers, you can keep your family on track even during this difficult time.


FAQs on Successful Co-Parenting With Your Ex


Parenting arrangements affect child support. Under Section 9 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines:

“Where a spouse exercises a right of access to, or has physical custody of, a child for not less than 40 percent of the time over the course of a year, the amount of the child support order must be determined by taking into account:

(a) the amounts set out in the applicable tables for each of the spouses;

(b) the increased costs of shared custody arrangements; and

(c) the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse and of any child for whom support is sought.”

If there is a parenting agreement/plan between you and your co-parent, court ordered parenting arrangement, arbitration award, or any document regarding you and your co-parent’s parenting arrangement over your common children, you must check it first and see if there are any provision on how to deal with such “moving away”.  If there is such a provision, you and your co-parent must follow the same.

If there is no provision, or worse, if there is no parenting arrangement or the parenting arrangement is informal, you may seek redress from the Courts and oppose the moving away of your co-parent with your common children should you wish to oppose the same.

You must also take into consideration whether or not the “moving away” would have a big impact on your children’s life/welfare.  For “moving away” that would have a big impact in your children’s life, this is considered as “relocation”.  For this, your consent is needed or if the parenting arrangement comes from a Court order, the moving co-parent must seek approval from the Court and you may oppose the same.

There are three types of decision-making responsibilities: joint, sole, and divided or parallel responsibilities.

Joint decision-making responsibility means that in making important decisions which will affect the welfare of your common child/ren, you and your co-parent must consult and cooperate with each other and agree on the decision. Meanwhile, sole decision-making responsibility means that only one parent makes the decisions.

Finally, the divided or parallel decision-making responsibility means that you and your co-parent are responsible for different decisions. For example, you’re responsible for making decisions about your child’s health, while your co-parent is responsible for your child’s education.

In Canada, parents treat their children with mutual respect and dignity. Parents who spank their children are quite rare, and this often leads to strong relationships between parents and children.

Canada is suitable for families because employees are encouraged by their employers to have a healthy work-life balance, and this gives the parents the liberty to spend more time with their children.

Unfortunately, according to experts and psychologists, co-parenting doesn’t get easier over time. It’s up to the people involved in this arrangement how they could maximize their time with their kids, which is beneficial for their holistic growth.

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