What Is Co-Parenting?
You might have just gone through a divorce, but you were blessed to have children together with your ex-spouse. You two might have gone separate ways on bad terms, but your children should not suffer and you and your ex-spouse should still play an active role in raising your children together as co-parents to ensure that your children’s needs are met. The quality of the relationship between co-parents will determine the welfare and emotional health of the children as they grow up.
Here are some useful tips for successful and effective co-parenting through the difficult period post-divorce:-
- Clear Your Mind– The first step is to clear any negative feelings towards your ex-spouse and your marriage from your head. It will be difficult to set aside such feelings at first and it may take time. You should see co-parenting with your ex-spouse as a fresh start, which is all about your children rather than being about you and your ex spouse. You should both strive to be mature responsible co-parents and act in the best interests of your children.
- Regular Communication– Communication between co-parents is key to successful and effective co-parenting. Your ex-spouse may not be the first person you want to talk to in person but try to devise a workable arrangement. Perhaps you may communicate via phone messages or email instead. A possible advantage of communicating this way is that you are able you to keep a record of your communication with your ex-spouse in case there is any dispute as to “who said what”. Try to communicate directly with your ex-partner rather than using your lawyer to do the talking for you; not only does this tend to not facilitate an amicable open line of communication, but it will also result in unnecessary legal costs.
- Court Litigation is a Last Resort– There are certainly times when litigation is the only way to resolve problems, but you should avoid resorting to litigation before the Court unnecessarily. You should always try to resolve any issue with your ex-spouse by discussion and engage a family mediator to mediate between you and your ex-spouse if necessary. There is a likely chance that animosity between you and your ex-spouse may arise if either party resorts to Court. Ultimately, it is your children who will suffer as they will be the ones further affected by any negative tension between their parents.
- Seek Professional Help- Going through a divorce is extremely difficult, never mind the ongoing task of co-parenting with your former spouse. Family counselling can be very beneficial to help parties through the difficulties of divorce, and minimise any negative effect on children. You and your ex-spouse could also consider attending co-parenting classes in order to learn more about co-parenting and how to do it effectively.
- Be Consistent – Co-parents should aim to set a consistent set of rules for your children in both households such as curfews. This will ensure that your children feel less like they are living in two completely different households and ease them into their new living arrangements.
This article highlights the key tips to achieving successful and effective co-parenting. You and your ex-spouse should not dwell on the past and should act together for the best interests of your children. The emotional health and development of your children will ultimately depend on the quality of your co-parenting with your ex-spouse, so every reasonable effort should be made to learn how to do it effectively and cooperatively.