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This Mother's Day, Mariah Carey and ex-hubby Nick Cannon went for dinner with their twins. Although the couple split years ago, Carey and Cannon seem to be comfortable putting the children first, even taking them on a family trip to Disneyland a few weeks ago. This is an example of co-parenting at its best.

Child custody disputes are often long and contentious. The negative emotions between parents can be difficult to disguise from children, and it can become hard for kids not to internalize these experiences. It sometimes takes a lot of effort and discipline to minimize the negative impact of these proceedings on the children. Even just one of the two parents staying focused on the children's well-being can yield great positive outcomes. When parents cannot manage to work together to protect their children's interests, the children can struggle with depression, anxiety, future relational issues and a variety of other mental health maladies.

What you can do to lessen any negative effects is simple. You can be civil with your spouse, and do your best to support a healthy relationship between them and the kids. This can be done through honouring your custody schedules, not speaking poorly of your spouse to your kids or around them, and making an effort to spend quality time with your children. This can reassure them that they are still a priority in your life.

You can promote a shared understanding of boundaries and responsibilities through the formation of a separation agreement. This is a written contract that you can your spouse can collaborate on to spell out rights and responsibilities on terms that work for you. For more information on how to create a binding and inclusive separation agreement, consult with a family law lawyer or visit our website.