10 Co-Parenting Tips For Divorcing Parents
For divorcing parents, perhaps the most important co-parenting issue – or hurdle – is how to effectively communicate with the other parent, with whom you may have been unable to communicate about your relationship. Effective communication helps you avoid much conflict in shared custody arrangements. Here are 10 co-parenting tips to assist a divorcing parent with communicating practically and efficiently:
- Treat raising your children like a business. Act as if you and your ex-spouse are the owners of the business, whose purpose is to raise your children. As co-owners of the business, you will consult with each other regarding appointments, activities, and changes to your custody schedule. As co-owners, your communications must be polite, courteous, clear, and direct.
- Avoid retaliation. If your child returns to your custody and relays a negative comment overheard about you, avoid telling your child something negative about your ex-spouse. These battles can only escalate, and placing your children in the middle may pressure them.
- Be flexible. Court orders and custody agreements are sacrosanct; however, parents need to make changes from time to time, due to personal schedules and emergencies. Do your best to be flexible with your ex-spouse. Even if your ex does not reciprocate, you will win points with the judge when it counts.
- Be forgiving. Your former spouse will be late to pick-ups and drop-offs, and may not always communicate well. However, the same shortcomings may happen to you, as well.
- Do not communicate with your ex-spouse through your child. Leading studies show children are resilient enough to cope with divorce, but if they are exposed to parental conflict, they are more likely to experience moderate to severe problems. Keep parental conflicts away from the children.
- Do not try to obtain information about your ex-spouse, or how he (or she) parents from your child.
- Do not make plans with your child that would alter the custody schedule until you have discussed those plans with your former spouse.
- Support your ex-spouse’s parenting decisions. Even in intact families, parents sometimes have to grit their teeth when the other parent makes a choice. It can be harder to tolerate those choices when you are separated or divorced, but you must pick your battles.
- Do not discuss your divorce (or custody) case with your child. Again, keep parental conflicts away from the children if you care about their health, development and future.
- Consider therapy, coaching or counseling. Sometimes it’s helpful to have someone who can listen without judging or interfering. Therapy can be a safe place for your child, or yourself, to discuss the issues caused by your separation and divorce.
Ideally, every parent who is experiencing divorce or marital separation would follow these guidelines, but we are all human. If you do your best to follow these 10 tips most of the time, you might find custody issues are easier to handle.
To discuss your co-parenting situation with the custody and support attorneys at Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC, contact our family law firm today. For more tips, read our article addressing custody concerns and the holidays.