Divorce can have a huge impact on your family, especially when you have children under 18. Despite the divorce, your children still deserve to have a happy and fulfilling childhood with both of their parents actively involved in their lives.
You and your ex-spouse have sorted out property disputes, child custody determinations, and any divorce-related payments; it’s time to sign the official divorce papers. You’re free, except that you still have to create a co-parenting plan with your ex to ensure your children’s best interests are maintained. In order to ensure that your children’s lives remain stable, you and your ex must sustain an amicable relationship. A simple hello and goodbye may suffice when swapping your children, but violent outbursts and animosity will only damage the relationship with your ex and possibly your children.
What needs to be done?
To maintain a successful plan, consider following the golden rules of co-parenting that range from a focus on your children’s needs, limiting condescension, a respect between you are your ex. You could improve or sustain a quality co-parenting life by adhering to the following rules.
- Always commit to treating your ex respectfully.
- Do not speak negatively about your spouse when interacting with them (or around your children).
- Your children’s best interests are more important than your needs for independence or desire to be territorial.
- Children thrive off stability. If you expect your time with your children to be “only your time,” and limit your child’s ability to play with their friends or continue their extra-curricular activities, they may come to resent you.
- Be flexible.
- Agree to adhere to the parenting schedule.
- Schedules provide structure which is very beneficial for co-parents.
- Be content with the other parent’s parenting style provided the children are safe in their care.
- If you have concerns, bring it up with them in a private meeting. Their parenting style may be irregular, but understand that you cannot control your ex, and unless the children are facing harm, a judge also will side with your co-parent.
- Any arguments or disagreements will be made in private and outside the earshot of your children.
- Always be on time for your children (This rule is very important). Nothing creates resentment more than not showing up for your kids.
Lastly, if you would like to make any changes to the parenting plan, it must first be discussed with the co-parent. If you go ahead and make singular changes, you may be readily inviting conflict. Co-parenting can be challenging, but adhering to the rules above can make your new life easier and more manageable.