The hardest part about getting divorced is its impact on the children. How are your kids going to react to their parents living separately? How will it affect their development? Divorce hurts a kid’s mental and emotional well-being. Many kids will still bring these issues with them long after they are adults. So if you are in the middle of a divorce, find time and space to talk with your ex-spouse about the possibility of co-parenting. Of course, this is only possible if there were no issues about marital abuse in your marriage.
Co-parenting is similar to joint custody negotiated in a hearing by a child custody attorney. The purpose is to share in the responsibilities of rearing the children. It is about putting aside your differences and problems as a couple and focusing on your children who are affected by the separation.
You may be angry at your ex-spouse but never let your kids see that. Anger should be kept to yourself or your circle of friends. In front of your kids, put up a united front. Don’t let the children see how this anger can affect your relationships. Remember that your ex-partner may be a bad husband or wife, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad parents to your kids, too. The relationship with your ex-spouse is now focused on co-parenting your kids. It is a separate relationship from the one that just ended.
The marriage may be over, but your family should continue to flourish. You must put your kids’ interests at heart and prioritize their well-being over your feelings. For a successful co-parenting relationship, make sure the other spouse feels the same way.
Communicate with the Co-parent
You need to effectively communicate as a co-parent. When speaking to your ex, talk in a business-like and calm manner. Be respectful when making requests to your co-parent. Also, listen to their grievances, too. Don’t discount their feelings and concerns about your children. You need to commit to the idea of respectfully communicating with your partner. While there is always a chance that you will argue, put your kids’ welfare in the middle and always try to maintain a friendly atmosphere.
Parent as a Team
There are a lot of decisions you have to make as parents. Don’t forget to consult with the other parent when there’s something that your kids need. For example, are they going to be allowed to sleep over at their friend’s house? When are they allowed to have a social media account? Are you going to buy them their own phones or not? Rules don’t have to be exact in the two households, but consistency is still important. The core of these rules—homework issues, curfews, and off-limit activities—should be the same.
You also need to talk about these three important issues: medical, financial, and education. If there’s only one of you who’s always available to accompany the kids in their medical appointments, make sure the other one is kept in the loop. When it comes to their grades and extra-curricular activities, report to each other what you are noticing about them. You might also want to attend these activities together.
Finances are always a tricky subject, even for happily married couples. Be open about your finances. Try to shoulder more when the other spouse is having a hard time with their salary. Set a realistic budget as co-parents, and don’t attempt to win over your children by buying them more gifts than necessary.
Make Visitations Easier
It is very hard for children to transfer from one household to another, whether you do it weekly or monthly. There’s always a transition phase, so you have to give them time for adjustments. One of the most important things you can do is never to pick up the kids from your ex-spouse’s place. It will look like you are “taking” them away from them. Instead, do drop-offs in each other’s house and see to it that you say hi to the other parent. That will show your kids how hard you are trying to make this setup work.
Co-parenting takes a lot of effort from both partners. If one of you is not committed to making it work, it will be hard for your kids. Always focus on what will be best for your kids. They should be at the core of every decision you will ever make as co-parents. If you keep on practicing this, you will have an easier time dealing and even being friends with your ex-spouse.