- Lucy Good and her ex-husband have a co-parenting arrangement in place
- Their two children spend 50 per cent of their time with each parent
- Ms Good said she’s been part-time parenting for five years now and it works
- Parenting expert reveals the benefits and drawbacks of this parenting situation
- Dr Justin Coulson shares the ‘Five Cs’ of making a co-parenting agreement work
When Lucy Good’s marriage broke down five years ago, the solution wasn’t to abandon the relationship entirely and attempt to parent alone.
Instead, Ms Good, 42, and her ex-husband decided co-parenting could work as an option as both still wanted to be involved in their daughters’ lives.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Ms Good revealed the Noosa-based couple split amicably after years of trying to make their 10-year marriage work.
‘It wasn’t dramatic in any way, she said. ‘We just grew steadily apart. We did lots of things to try and make it work, including emigrating to Australia,’ said the United Kingdom-born Ms Good.
Lucy Good (pictured) has revealed her and her ex-husband parted on amicable terms which made the decision to co-parent a much easier one
Following the couple’s decision to part, the two sat down to negotiate ways they could raise their children, Amber, who was nine at the time, and her younger sister Ruby, who was then aged seven.
Ms Good said co-parenting was a natural decision for the pair who wanted the split to be as easy on their kids as possible.
‘There wasn’t ever any consideration that we wouldn’t co-parent and that I would take the kids, which can happen quite a lot of the time.
Ms Good with her two daughters: Amber (pictured left) and Ruby (pictured right): She believes everyone benefits from the arrangment
‘For us, it was always going to be 50/50. The discussion wasn’t even needed,’ she continued. ‘It was a given.’
Commenting on the rising trend of part-time parenting, expert Sharon Witt said the arrangement is one that can work really well, as long as both parents are committed to putting the well-being of their children first.
‘The children that I have seen that do the best and thrive in a situation where parents are no longer residing together are those where the needs of the children are considered above all else.’
Parenting expert Sharon Witt (pictured) believes the arrangement can work really well
For the arrangement to function well, Ms Witt outlined that both parties need to be clear from the outset what their expectations of the situation are.
‘Co-parenting doesn’t work so well where children go to one household and have one set of rules and they come back to another and have to navigate a different set of rules and expectations. That’s where the most stress for children occurs,’ the author said.
‘Co-parenting means good communication between both parents,’ she stressed.
The five C’s of co-parenting
Leading parenting expert, Dr Justin Coulson offers five recommendations for making a co-parenting arrangement work:
1. Closeness – The closer parents live to each other, the easier it is on the children. Routines such as schooling, activities and friends aren’t disrupted by moving between homes
2. Care-giving – Dr Coulson said most research showed that the more involved parents are in care-giving the better it is for both. An uneven care-giving situation can lead to conflict and resentment
3. Conflict – Irrespective of your feelings toward the other person, always maintain courteous and respectful interactions, Dr Coulson said
4. Change – Change associated with divorce or separation can be hard on children. It’s important to communicate change ahead of time and to be as patient and understanding as possible after change occurs
5. Cash – The more consistent cash-flow is in the two homes the better it is for kids. Mum and Dad should both be able to provide children with similar circumstances: food, facilities, and resources
Source: Dr Justin Coulson
Now five years into their arrangement, Ms Good said the situation has worked really well for everyone, mostly because both have stayed living in close proximity to the other.
She explained her and her ex-husband live about a 10-minute drive from each other, which has helped stabilise the lives of their children.
‘We made the decision that when we split up we had to stay here until the kids had flown the nest,’ she said.
‘The kids always know that whatever happens mum and dad are near to one another.
The family all live close to each other which Ms Good believes has made things much easier for everyone
‘That was something that was really important to us, and probably key to making it work.’
While Ms Good admitted Amber and Ruby did go through a period of adjusting to the new parenting situation, this was eased she said ‘by keeping the message consistent.’
She continued: ‘There were times when they were upset and confused, but it was a matter of giving them the same message which was this is the way it is, it’s not going to go back to the way it was.’
Telling the truth about the couple’s situation and ‘keeping the message consistent’ helped the children adjust to the new parenting situation
‘It was really important to not give them false hope.’
She believes her children also enjoy the arrangement because both now get to have a much more active relationship with each parent.
‘It’s great to see them both benefiting from good relationships with both mum and dad.
‘Less quantity and more quality time with your children forges happy, positive relationships.’
Ms Good said co-parenting has opened up opportunities and given her the time to concentrate on building her own life
Ms Good, who now writes a blog that supports other single mothers, doesn’t believe she would have struck out on her own if she had continued in her marriage.
‘I am a much happier and freer person and I have had the opportunity to concentrate more on me.
‘Now with a little bit of breathing space that I get from not having the children, I feel I can move forward with my own life and better it, and in turn better their lives too.
‘Co-parenting has given me the space to move forward, which was a really important thing to be able to do.’