04/28/2015 01:12 EDT | Updated 04/28/2015 01:59 EDT

Co-Parenting: 5 Great Things About Living Next Door To Your Ex

Brandie Weikle

When I tell people my co-parenting situation -- that I live next door to my ex-husband and his new wife -- I'm met with a combination of disbelief and praise. "Right next door?" they'll ask. "Yes, across the driveway," I'll reply.

These days I playfully refer to this arrangement as "conscious uncoupling before it was cool." That's because we've lived this way for five years -- long before Gwyneth Paltrow popularized the phrase in her high-profile split from rocker husband Chris Martin.

Most people who learn about our situation can get their heads around the intimate proximity of our unusual post-divorce life and appreciate how great this is for our two boys, ages 11 and 7. But beyond the obvious co-parenting advantages, there are some surprising other perks to being next-door neighbours with your ex:

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Being a part of a non-traditional family inspired me to find and celebrate other households who are defining family life a little differently. You can read their stories in a blog series called the 1,000 Families Project on The New Family.