Even if you and your spouse are divorcing, you will be inextricably linked if you have minor children. So long as you are both fit parents, it is possible you will share custody in some way, shape or form. Yet, co-parenting can be challenging if your divorce is tense, or if you and your spouse have different opinions about how to raise your children. To establish a civil co-parenting relationship, you will want to keep these three tips in mind.
Establish a plan for communication
The way in which you and your co-parent will communicate will depend on the nature of your relationship. Regardless of how you choose to discuss parenting matters, you must make sure that you keep communication channels open. In doing so, you will want to make sure you share important information about your children with each other and discuss it in a business-like manner. Even if interacting in person is impossible, you can use email, text messages or a co-parenting app to facilitate these discussions and keep their tone neutral. By cooperating with each other, you and your co-parent may be able to present a united front for your children, no matter how limited your interactions are. Taking this approach may also decrease the tension between you two, which could allow you to have less restrictive communication in the future.
Treat your co-parent with respect
At times, you may want to vent about your co-parent, especially if your divorce is difficult. Yet, you will want to refrain from speaking ill of them in front of your children. By badmouthing your co-parent, your words could color your children’s impression of them. Moreover, your words could get back to your co-parent, which could have negative effects on your ability to work with each other. Conversely, treating your co-parent with respect will make it easier to resolve disagreements with them and discuss parenting matters. And it may also keep your children from feeling that they need to take sides in your divorce.
Put your children first
You will have a hard time co-parenting if your sole focus is on your feelings toward your co-parent. For co-parenting to succeed, you must put your children’s best interests first. Your divorce will be difficult for them to cope with and will likely disrupt their routines and rhythms. Yet, by prioritizing their needs – rather than your emotions – you will help them feel safe, stable, secure and cared for as they adjust to the changes it brings to their lives.
An effective co-parenting arrangement will help your children thrive after your divorce. To craft one that meets your family’s needs, you will want assistance from an experienced attorney.