Divorce means separating from your partner, but if you have children, that person will always be part of your life. If you and your partner can barely speak to each other without anger, co-parenting is going to be difficult. And if your ex is unreasonable or bent on making your life miserable, it’s going to be even harder. Here are four things to remember as you manage your life as a co-parent.
Tips to Co-Parent
- Create a detailed parenting plan. This document should outline as much as possible so that you and your partner don’t have to go back and forth on every little thing. Be sure to include which holidays children will spend with whom, what percent each parent pays for any child-related costs, even down to who is picking up and dropping off the kids if necessary.
- Keep your children out of it. While this isn’t easy, children often get stuck in the middle of their angry parents. Don’t pass messages to the other parent through your children; don’t say snide things about him or her. After all, that person is someone you once loved and is still your child’s father or mother. Don’t limit visitation to punish the other parent for something.
- Rise above. This part is hard. But do everything you can not to provide your ex with any reason to be angry. Be on time. Don’t criticize him or her in front of the children. Correct any lies your children hear from your spouse, but in a gentle way that does not accuse your ex.
- Get help. You may require the services of a mediator long after the divorce is final. You or your children may need therapy to get through the first year or so.
- Speak as little as possible. Co-parenting is a term that implies you work together to raise your kids. In some situations, this simply will not work. Rely on shared electronic calendars to manage schedules so you both know what’s going on without having to ask. Avoid emails and text messages. If you must communicate via messenger, do not rely on your children to relay messages.
More questions about co-parenting? Come to our workshop to get more information from a lawyer, a therapist, and a financial adviser.
Some of this information borrowed from divorcemag with permission.