Many times in divorce, couples get caught up in their own emotions and underlying reasons behind the split when attempting to hash out custody and visitation arrangements. They often forgo the easiest, amicable path to resolution in favor of using custody to get a point across to an ex-spouse.
Not all situations are handled in this manner. Some couples are able to maintain focus on what is best for the children - and maybe in some cases that is in fact granting one spouse custody or limiting the visitation of the other - and keep a clear head when determining a visitation plan. A growing contingent of divorced couples are taking this a step further and making a good faith effort to co-parent their children.
One Ozarks-area couple has been quite successful at co-parenting. Deesha Philyaw and Michael Thomas have been divorce for two years, yet continue to raise their two children, Peyton (6) and Taylor (11) together, much as if they were still married. The biggest factor in their success is that the ex-spouses were able to maintain their friendship and a level head throughout divorce proceedings. The ex-couple sees the raising of their children as one of their top priorities, so the coordinate with each other to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Though their parents now live in separate homes, Peyton and Taylor have the same set of household rules whether they're visiting mom or dad, so they don't begin to favor one parent over the other. Both Deesha and Michael coordinate schedules so they get to see their kids equal amounts of time. They have both come to accept each other's new spouse and have even gone on joint vacations. It's really like the kids have four parents.
Michael states he get exhausted thinking about what it would be like to have a negative, bitter relationship with his ex-wife. In order to see his kids as much as he does, he would be in a state of near-constant annoyance.
Michael and Deesha's success at co-parenting their children relies on their communication and the level of respect they were able to maintain for one another after their divorce.
Source: OzarksFirst.com "Divorced Couples Try Co-Parenting for Sake of Kids" 9/15/10