Divorce is not the end of family. Rather it is the beginning of a new type of parenting. This means that while you and your spouse will no longer be a legally married couple, both you and your spouse should continue to play active roles in your child or children's lives.
Navigating through the divorce process, you have most likely heard of "co-parenting." This is when both parents work together to raise their children, often having to put their own differences aside in order to do what is best for the kids. In this post, we are going to focus on a few of the top things to keep in mind when preparing to co-parent with an ex-spouse.
No. 1: You will need to continue to communicate with your ex
You and your ex may get along great, or there may be hurt feelings that will never truly go away. Either way, to be effective co-parents you will both need to continue to communicate with each other. This can be difficult, especially when emotions are still running high after the divorce, but it is possible. Remember to listen to what your ex is saying, keep the focus on the children and make requests - as opposed to demanding statements.
No. 2: Keep the kids out of your arguments
Children should never be used as pawns during or after a divorce. The kids, regardless of their age, are not there to pass messages back and forth between their parents. Nor should these children have to listen to one parent badmouth the other. This type of behavior cannot only make the transition harder, but it also sends the message that the child needs to choose a side.
No. 3: Consistency can go a long way
Children thrive with consistency. This means the rules at mom's house should generally be the same as the rules at dad's house. Discipline should also stay the same. For example, if a child is grounded while at mom's house, if it's dad weekend - or vice versa - the consequence should continue. Again, this is where having good communication with your ex is key.
Successful co-parenting starts right from the very beginning, before the signatures are on the divorce papers. Some parents are able to come to agreements right away, while others find themselves in extremely challenging situations with their ex where they are unable to come to an agreement.
At Nix | Poet, we work with parents throughout the divorce process, addressing concerns related to child custody, visitation and parental rights. Each divorce is unique and treated as such. This ensures we are addressing the concerns specific to your family situation.