After a divorce, you will have to work with your ex-spouse to co-parent your kids. But how can you co-parent with someone you no longer love?
You and your ex may not agree on much. The breakup and divorce may have been devastating. You may question why you should have to cooperate even when your ex is in the wrong. Nevertheless, you need to commit to thoughtful, appropriate co-parenting for your children’s sake.
In the vast majority of situations, committing to co-parent positively is one of the best decisions you could make for your kids. They need both of their parents fully involved in their lives. As long as there are no significant reasons why your ex shouldn’t be involved in co-parenting – and this would be decided by a judge – you need to trust that your ex loves the kids and will try to do the right thing most of the time.
It won’t always be easy. However, committing to positive co-parenting can help you to stop focusing on the conflict and divorce and begin moving forward. Here are 7 tips for making the commitment:
- Communicate. Make a good transition between your parenting time and your ex’s. Focus on being brief and neutral. Let your ex know about upcoming events, the kids’ particular needs of the moment and any challenges.
- Follow your parenting plan. During your divorce, you should have come up with a custody and parenting plan that you can live with. Try not to deviate from the plan. If you must make changes, talk to your attorney.
- Keep your kids out of the hostility. Don’t use them as spies, allies, messengers or confidantes. This puts your kids in the middle of the conflict and makes them feel like they have to pick a side.
- Try not to interfere in your ex’s parenting. Your ex’s parenting is up to them unless they put the kids at significant risk of harm.
- Learn to let go. Take a deep breath and recognize that your ex is trying their best. It’s just that no two people have the identical parenting style. When you disagree, learn to move on.
- Don’t insist on identical rules. If you didn’t agree during the marriage, you’ll probably disagree on some issues now. It might be nice to have the same rules and expectations at each house, but your kids can adjust to two sets of rules.
- Focus on your kids and minimize the friction. Your new family structure will take time and effort. Everyone is healing. The more you focus on building a positive co-parenting relationship with your ex, the better.
As you go co-parent with your ex, your attorney can be a big help in arranging a positive framework for co-parenting. Be sure to work with a dedicated, compassionate attorney who will help you and your ex create a successful environment in raising your child.