While co-parenting with your ex in an amicable manner can be a great gift
to your children and provide them with a sense of stability, doing so
is rarely easy. Learning to put aside past relationship issues and differences
can be a major struggle and be fraught with stress. Despite these challenges,
however, there are many ways in which
divorced or separated parents can work together for the sake of their children.
Practice empathy: Trying to put yourself in both your children’s and their other
parent’s shoes can help you to successfully navigate through your
situation and understand their feelings and motivations. When your children
miss the other parent, empathize with them and allow them to express their
feelings. Likewise, remember that your co-parent still loves your children,
too. Treat them the way you would like to be treated in return.
Be open and flexible: Arguing with your ex over visitation schedules in front of your children
isn’t good for anyone. Even if you have a predetermined schedule,
if your co-parent wishes to take the kids to a fun event, think of the
kids first. Would they enjoy themselves? If so, let them go! Your children
will thank you for this freedom one day, and it will increase your co-parent’s
likelihood to extend you the same courtesy.
Choose your battles wisely: Not all things are worth fighting over. While both households should
share common ground and values, expect you and your ex to handle things
differently from one another. It is best to let minor parenting differences
go and save your dissent for an issue which really matters.
Communicate directly: Using your children as middlemen for communication is a bad idea, as
it can easily lead to misunderstandings and cause them to get caught up
in the middle of whatever issues you may have with your ex. If you receive
a message from the other parent from one of your kids, calmly reflect
on your feelings before privately calling the other parent.
Make exchanges brief: When the time comes to exchange
custody, wherever you choose to do so, keep the exchange short. Do not drag it
out and bombard your ex with endless instructions. Say goodbye with a
smile, and let go. This will help prevent your children from experiencing
feelings of guilt and give your ex the ability to enjoy their time with
the kids without you breathing down their neck.
Respect their time: When your kids are with their other parent, respect this time and do
not interfere with constant phone calls and text messages. Think of how
you would feel if your ex were to insist on calling your home at odd hours
while you are spending time with your children.
Share important events: Did your child get good grades on their report card? Do they have an
upcoming school function that the other parent cannot attend? Keep them
in the loop. Let your other parent know about what is going on in your
child’s daily life, and ask them to do the same for you. If they
do not, however, do not make it a big issue. Remember, your children’s
happiness is what really matters.
Unfortunately, not all joint custody arrangements work out as smoothly
as planned. If your co-parenting situation should raise legal questions,
R. Gregory Colvin LLC can help. Find out more about what our 25+ years
of legal experience can do for you by
contacting our top-rated Orlando family law attorney today.