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Can your relationship with the kids stay strong after divorce?

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As you and your spouse move toward divorce, you're worried about one thing: Can you still have strong relationships with the kids? They're the most important thing in the world to you, and you don't want to lose that.

You absolutely can still have a great relationship with your child. The key is to focus on building up that relationship and being the type of parent that they need. It doesn't matter if you're married or not; both you and your ex can still be excellent parents.

Below are a few key things to keep in mind when creating a parenting plan and child custody agreement, as the way those legal documents are structured can impact how you interact and spend time with the kids.

1. Don't let anything take priority over your relationship with your kids. Sure, there are many other things going on in your life -- work, social gatherings, the divorce itself -- but you need to prioritize them all the time.

2. Spend time with the children. Don't think of those custody days as an obligation. Really engage with them. Think of those days as a chance to work on that relationship, actively, through every hour you're together.

3. Pay attention. It sounds obvious, but many parents don't do it. When you're with the kids, don't just stare at the television or talk to your business partners on the phone or browse Facebook endlessly. Pay attention to the kids. Participate in their activities. Praise them for their accomplishments.

Again, remember that these three things should be your goal. Make sure you understand how they factor into your child custody plan.

Source: Aha Parenting, "Building a Great Relationship with Your Child," accessed Sep. 08, 2017

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