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The Art of Co-Parenting

Throughout the year, Jacksonville soccer fields team with thousands of kids and their cheering parents. Soccer parenting is a traditional way of life for many households.

In April, a Facebook post and photo celebrating a 4-year old Georgia girl and her four supportive soccer parents went viral. As of mid-July, over 87,000 Facebook members shared that post and over 3.4K left comments. The photo and the story behind it have been featured in media across the nation, including People magazine.

Wait…was that four parents? Well, this is where Soccer Parenting meets Co-Parenting.

Emilee Player posted the photo of her step-daughter along with her co-parents along with a potent message:

“Because of us, I will never believe co-parenting can’t work! I KNOW through experience it CAN WORK! Choose to do what’s best for your child and everything will just fall into place.”

That lucky little soccer player is growing up with the support of her mom, dad, stepmom and stepdad. Apparently, when it comes to their daughter, her mom and dad decided to set aside their differences that led to their divorce.

They’ve mastered the art of co-parenting and put their daughter first. That’s the key to successful co-parenting.

If They Hadn’t Put Their Daughter First?

It’s not always easy for feuding parents, heading toward divorce, to negotiate a healthy co-parenting relationship.

As a Firm that practices Family Law in the Jacksonville, Florida area, it’s not uncommon to witness high-conflicted parents end their toxic relationships in resentment and anger—unable to come to terms that would benefit their children.

According to many studies, these children of contentious divorced parent relationships risk developmental harm, where they may:

  • Be unable to trust others
  • Experience low self-esteem
  • Be unable to manage their emotions
  • Act out their distress through poor behavior
  • Be unable to maintain friendships
  • Not perform well in school
  • Form unhealthy adult relationships later in life

As a Family Law Attorney, I like to stress that if disputing parents are unable to negotiate a parenting agreement that puts the best interest of their children first, a Court Order will dictate their parenting arrangement.

Co-Parenting Best Practices

Healthy co-parenting takes effort from both parents. While it might not be realistic to have a conflict-free breakup of a relationship, it’s important for the children that both parties follow basic rules of parenting behavior.


  • Make sure both parents communicate directly with each other
  • Don’t use the children as a messenger
  • Keep your co-parent updated on your plans for the child (trips, holidays, etc.)


  • Be respectful of each other’s views and agree to discuss what’s best for the child
  • Don’t disparage the other parent in front of the child
  • Meet all support obligations in a timely manner
  • Don’t force children to choose a side in conflict between parents


Probably the most important co-parenting advice is to actively encourage your child to maintain a relationship with the other parent. Children deserve to know it is okay to have quality time with each parent.

Please note, the advice listed above is primarily for parents ending a non-abusive relationship.

It’s Okay to Reach Out for Help

Family therapy can always be a benefit to resolve any conflicts when it comes to co-parenting a child.

If you’re in need of legal advice, don’t hesitate to contact a Family Law Attorney. We’re always available to answer any questions regarding your rights as a parent and guide you through the divorce process. Give our office a call at (904) 567-3113.