If you are recently divorced and a parent, it does not mean that you will never see your ex-spouse again. In fact, you and your ex will be parents forever and, in most circumstances, will have to develop a relationship that allows you to co-parent together until your children become adults. An effective co-parenting relationship puts the hurt and pain from the divorce aside and focuses on the children’s best interests. This, however, is easier said than done.
This article provides tips for divorced or soon-to-be-divorced parents on how best to optimize the co-parenting relationship with their ex-spouse for the betterment of the children.
- Respect each parent’s parenting style. Everyone parents differently. Don’t stress about the other parent’s style, rather accept that things are different and your spouse’s style may be unlike yours but it is not necessarily wrong. Parents need to honor the other’s parenting style, privacy, and authority. Interfering in the parenting style of the other parent only hurts the children and further damages the co-parenting relationship.
- Communicate with each other regularly about the children. Communication is key to a successful co-parent relationship. It is important to discuss in advance changes to the parenting schedule, extracurricular activities, medical appointments and other events in your child’s life. Some parents schedule a weekly phone call to discuss the business of their kids; others use email, or a shared online calendar.
- Encourage your child’s relationship with the other parent. Even though you don’t like your ex-spouse, your children need to love him or her. Do not make derogatory comments about the other parent or allow anyone else to do so in the children’s presence. Do not compare the children to the other parent in a negative way. Instead, encourage your children to maintain a caring, respectful relationship with their other parent.
- Be flexible with schedules. To have an effective co-parenting relationship you must be flexible. Allow for inevitable and unexpected changes that are going to happen because of life events. Parents should also be there for each other; your kids will notice and appreciate it.
- Attempt to attend big events for the children. Children want both of their parents at their dance recitals, band concerts, graduations and weddings. It is important not to put your anger for your ex before the feelings of your child.
- Attend co-parenting therapy. If you’re struggling with co-parenting seek the help of a professional. A neutral expert like a therapist can help you and your ex put aside the conflict and focus on your children.
Family law attorney
If you are going through a divorce, or struggling post-divorce with your ex-spouse, contact an experienced family law attorney. A knowledgeable custody attorney will be able to guide you through the process and provide you with the advice and assistance crucial to your understanding of the issues involved.