Most couples hope that they can successfully co-parent their children after divorce, but it is often easier said than done. While you want to put your children’s best interests first, it is difficult to set aside your pain and anger you feel toward your ex-spouse.
It is important to understand that how well your children adjust to divorce often depends on how well you and your ex-spouse co-parent after the divorce is finalized. Communication between the parents is essential, especially if you have very different parenting styles. Below are a few tips on how to avoid conflict when co-parenting:
Different Parenting Styles
If one parent has always followed the other parent’s lead in raising the children during the marriage, that parent will feel the freedom to do as he or she wishes post-divorce. Thus, it can be hard on the children if one parent enforces strict rules about bedtime, homework, chores, etc. while the other parent is very lax about those matters. If your divorce has not been finalized, you should consider including agreements regarding diet, bedtime, education and other important matters in your divorce decree.
If this is your situation post-divorce, you and your ex need to discuss it openly and without judgment. Try to find middle ground that you can both agree upon. For example, if the lax parent agrees to enforce the bedtime during the week, the strict parent will agree that the children can stay up later on the weekend. This type of compromise is often difficult for couples who have had a bitter divorce, but if face-to-face negotiations is difficult, work it out by email. Make the attempt, and if it doesn’t work, contact your divorce lawyer for assistance.
Fear of being away from your children
This is a tough one, but unless there is a fear of abuse or other danger to your child’s safety, you have to let go of worrying about your children while they are in the other parent’s custody. Realize that while the other parent may not do everything exactly the same way you do, he or she is keeping your child safe.
Don’t use your child to hurt your ex-spouse
Without even realizing they are doing it, divorced parents often put their children right in the middle of their fights. Your children are not pawns to be used against each other. Denying the other parent time with your children doesn’t just hurt the other parent, your children suffer too. Thus, it is important to try to view each situation from your child’s perspective.
Don’t break agreements
If you agree to a certain arrangement with the other parent, do your best to stick to it. This includes being on time for visitations, providing information to the other spouse about where the children will be, and numerous other matters. You don’t have to give in to a co-parent that is being a “control freak,” but when you negotiate an agreement, stick to it.
There are many other things you can do to keep things civil when co-parenting. However, if you run into trouble and you need help, give us a call. Contact the knowledgeable attorneys at the Men’s Divorce Law Firm. Our office is located in Orlando, Florida, but we proudly serve husbands and fathers across the State.