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Some co-parents choosing to live near one another for the kids

For many couples, one of the hardest parts about getting divorced is finding a workable child custody solution. Naturally, each spouse typically wants to spend as much time with their kids and as little time with their ex as possible. Therefore, it is common for each parent to seek full custody.

That being said, California courts strive to make custody decisions in the best interests of the children, and that often means keeping both parents involved when possible. This can create both interpersonal and logistical challenges for the whole family. But successful co-parenting is possible, and some co-parents even choose to live near one another in order to minimize the challenges their children face.

A recent article in the New York Times profiles several former couples who continue to raise their children together in ways that are more cohesive than traditional joint custody. Sometimes, both parents live in different units in the same apartment building. In other cases, each parent has their own house but lives within a couple blocks of the other. One couple had even purchased a three-unit brownstone during their marriage. When they got divorced, the husband moved into the garden-level unit while the wife stayed on the top floor. The space in between was rented out.

When divorced couples can continue to live near one another, there are benefits for the whole family. Children experience minimal disruption to their daily lives because their "commute" to mom or dad's house is no more than a short walk. They can also see each parent on a regular basis.

Co-parents often benefit from the flexibility this arrangement offers. They may be able to continue sharing driving responsibilities to and from school, no matter which parent is "on duty" at the time. Moreover, the kids can easily be watched by the other parent if an unexpected work situation occurs.

Although the families profiled in the article all live in New York, the population density of the Los Angeles area suggests that a similar approach could work here in Woodland Hills.

Obviously, an arrangement like this will not work for every divorced couple with children. Some co-parents cannot get along well enough to handle the proximity to a former spouse, and others may need to relocate for practical reasons. But this nonetheless shows that with some creative solutions, most families can survive and even thrive after divorce.

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