Parents who divorce one another may come across obstacles as they navigate co-parenting. But setting up rules before your divorce is final and keeping your peace between your ex can help you navigate the new territory you come across.

Working with your ex might be difficult, but you can use these three tips as a starting point:

  1. Create a communication plan

As you hash out your parenting plan, you will want to think long and hard about how you will communicate with your co-parent after divorce. Among discussing the custody schedule and providing updates about your children during exchanges, there is a lot that co-parents will have to discuss. If the end of your marriage involved a lot of drama, taking a more professional or digital route might help you keep potential arguments at bay. You can do this by sending messages through email or an app. But if you break up on good terms, then you might feel comfortable with phone calls or talking face to face.

  1. Don’t avoid confrontation

When an issue does arise as you go your separate ways and raise your kids under your own roof, you’ll want to address it sooner rather than later. Not being open about something child-related, may directly impact your child. For example, you might notice your child is always a little sleep deprived after spending the weekend with their other parent. Neglecting to check in with your co-parent about keeping your child on a consistent sleep schedule can cause your child to be moody, act out or affect their performance in school.

  1. Remember it isn’t a competition

After divorce, you might feel pressure to work harder to establish a healthy relationship with your children because you no longer see them everyday or because the divorce was hard on your family. But you shouldn’t take excess measures to buy your children more than your spouse buys them or loosening up on rules in attempt to connect with your child. Not providing your child a near equal experience in both of their homes can lead them to talk back or not obey their “stricter” parent.

Setting up yourself for co-parenting before your divorce is final can help you put your best foot forward when times get tough.