5 Tips For Peacefully Co-Parenting.
Your divorce is finally over.
You have a custody agreement and a parenting schedule.
So now what?
Here are 5 tips to help you peacefully co-exist as co-parents after your divorce is finalized.
1. STREAMLINE COMMUNICATIONS:
Plan and decide on things in advance – what’s going to happen for birthdays, holidays, extracurricular activities like plays or sports games, school events, and parent-teacher nights. Work out who will go to medical appointments, and how the information will be shared with each of you.
Agree on communication methods, and find creative ways to organize scheduling with your ex-partner (e.g. shared Calendars, Google Drive, Trello, Whatsapp) When communicating with your ex, try to use basic simple terms when speaking and responding. A simple "acknowledged" to an email about something says plenty or simply yes or no.
An example: I am picking the kids up at 3 today. Responding and "acknowledging" works better than "You already told me and we should not have to blah blah blah." Even if you have sole legal custody (decision-making), you have to keep the other parent informed about the major decisions that you are making. That can be a lot to manage. Consider setting up a weekly email or phone call to go over all kid-related issues.
Just make sure to keep your communications polite.
2. BE FLEXIBLE:
You spent a lot of time negotiating a parenting schedule but you may be asked to make changes to accommodate your ex’s requests. For example, your ex was invited down the shore with another family and she wants to bring the kids but it falls during your parenting time. You have nothing planned but it bothers you because this is your time and you are a little jealous that your kids are going on such a great trip with your ex without you. Say yes. Negotiate a swap in the schedule and agree. This is about your kids, not you. Odds are that you will need to request some changes in the future and the goodwill you build by being flexible will make life easier for everyone.
3. DON’T USE YOUR CHILDREN AS SPIES:
Your children should not be your spies, whether they are eight or sixteen years old. Do not subject your children to interrogation after spending time with their other parent. You may think a conversation in which you ask what was served for dinner, what time they went to bed, and whether they watched television or did homework is harmless but it is not. Asking your children to be your eyes and ears at the other parent’s home not only isn’t appropriate but also may backfire. If your children feel pressured by you to spy, they may not open up to you on their own if something important happens.
4. BE A UNITED FRONT
A united front is not easy after a divorce or separation, but it is beneficial to both you and your children if it can be done, even on the surface. Parents who have separated often have more trouble disciplining a child for misbehaving. If the child’s mother grounds him or her for one of their misdeeds, but then the mother does not communicate this to the father, or if the father refuses to follow through on the mother’s decision, then the child is shown an opportunity to exploit the next time they are being disciplined.
5. DUMP THE BAGGAGE:
Differences in your parenting methods you may have noticed during your marriage can easily carry over into your co-parenting post-divorce relationship. Learn to accept the fact that you and your ex will probably parent differently, Unless you have safety concerns about your ex’s parenting choices, just let it go.
If you and your ex are having trouble navigating as co-parents I have experience handling high conflict custody situations and can offer assistance. Contact me today at Van Tassel Law