Divorce can bring out the worst in anyone. It is an emotional roller coaster regardless of which partner initiated the proceeding. The need to go through everything from who gets what pieces of property to who gets to spend the most time with the children can provide ample fuel for emotions to run high.
These difficult times may make it seem impossible to move forward with a successful co-parenting relationship. Yet, even in the most contentious of divorce cases the parents can transition into a successful co-parenting plan. The following tips can help to increase the odds of a successful transition:
- Shift your focus. When the divorce is finalized, shift your focus away from your ex and onto your children. A recent article in Psychology Today discussed this, noting that this shift can be eased by first taking some time to grieve over the hopes you had for the marriage or for how the divorce would turn out.
- Find a way to communicate with the other parent. You are no longer married to this person, but you are still raising children together. As such, you will need to find a way to communicate about the needs of the children. Having a discussion face to face with your ex during a drop off may not be the best way to communicate when starting off a co-parenting plan. Instead, it may be best to use email or another means of communication. Some parents have found success using a joint online calendar to make sure everyone is aware of due dates for assignments and extracurricular activities. Find a method that works for your situation.
- Accept challenges. Any change will come with challenges. Add to this the fact that children are notorious for testing boundaries and it is clear that the co-parenting relationship is going to come with some challenges. A separate piece in Psychology Today states that a successful resolution rests with focusing on the reason for the accommodation – your children. Ideally, accommodations to your parenting style should be made because they would be best for your children, not for your ex.
In addition to these steps, the entire process can run more smoothly if it begins with a solid parenting plan within the divorce settlement agreement. As such, it is wise for parents going through a divorce to seek legal counsel. An experienced child custody lawyer can help to craft an agreement that will better ensure a successful transition from the divorce process into a co-parenting relationship.