If you and your soon to be ex-spouse have minor children, you will need to find a way to have a successful co-parenting relationship. With any successful co-parenting relationship, the interests of your children need to be put above your own. Though there are some situations which make it difficult or impossible to do so, for the majority of divorcing parents it will be necessary to form and maintain an amicable relationship. Children should not be put in the position of having to choose sides or suffer the fallout from emotional crossfire.
Here are some key practices that will help you graciously co-parent, giving your children the stability and close relationship they desire with both parents.
1. CREATE A PLAN
Set aside a time to sit down together to work out the routines and rules of your successful co-parenting relationship and, if you need to, include a mediator or parenting coordinator to assist you in the process. How detailed the plan should be depends on a number of factors, but if you’re dealing with an acrimonious divorce, you’ll most likely need to make it more comprehensive. Things to decide upon can include where and when the children will be picked up on transition days; how will holidays and birthdays be celebrated; and how long you’ll wait before introducing a significant other to them. As the children age, you should revisit the plan and make changes and adjustments accordingly.
2. EFFECTIVELY COMMUNICATE
If communication broke during the marriage, you’ll need some help in learning to interact with each other in a way that ensures you’re both understood by the other. Consider joint or separate counselling or attend a seminar that assists in re-establishing effective communication. If it is difficult to discuss issues face to face or by phone, try using electronic means, but remember wars of words can quickly escalate in emails. A good rule to follow is to write the email then walk away for some time, returning to objectively re-read what you’ve written. Only hit send when the tone is right and the issue you are addressing is clearly stated. Never communicate about crucial matters through your children.
3. TEAM WORK
Your children’s needs are your number one priority and the decisions you make should be based on their best interests. Don’t withhold important information from each other and be sure to make decisions as a parent team. Don’t play the children against the other parent by involving them first. Play fair. Finally, keep each other supplied with current contact information such as phone numbers, addresses, etc.
4. KEEP IT RESPECTFUL
When speaking about your ex, use positive or neutral comments and work hard to support a good relationship between your former spouse and your children. Remember the golden rule and treat your former spouse as you would like to be treated. Never, ever ask your children to act as spies or question them about their other parent.
5. CREATE HARMONY
Decide together which values you want your children to learn and make sure your parenting styles back up those values. Be consistent in both homes when it comes to routines, rules, school expectations, bedtimes and discipline. Make certain your children have everything they need at both homes and cheerfully fix problems that will inevitably occur in a two-household family.
Successful co-parenting requires a lot of patience, open communication and empathy. Keep the focus on the children and parents can make their experience a positive one. Trying to navigate a successful co-parenting relationship can be difficult. It is important to hire an experienced family law attorney such as Minella Law Group with expert knowledge of the legal standards involved to successfully modify your current child custody visitation order. For more information or to schedule an appointment, click the button below, or call us at (619) 289-7948. We look forward to helping you!