Divorces tear a family apart and can make life very difficult for children. However, concerned parents can take many steps to minimize this pain and keep their children happy. These co-parenting tips will help not only your children but also your life together as ex-partners.
Tip One: You Don’t Have to Like Your Ex, But Respect is Important
After a divorce, there’s a good chance that you and your ex aren’t precisely on excellent terms. Even in a more or less civil divorce, you probably don’t like each other very much anymore. However, it would help if you respected their wants and desires, put aside anger, and did what was best for your child.
Doing so is vital because it helps the child ease into their new life and helps you and your ex. For example, trying to sort through your co-parenting differences with an Administrative Law Judge could take six months to two years just to see them. So, try to get along for the sake of everybody.
Tip Two: Don’t Use Your Child Against Your Ex
Try to avoid using your child to hurt or punish your ex, such as talking ill of your ex-partner to your child and causing hurt feelings. This type of behavior is not appropriate and will cause a variety of issues. There are many other steps you should avoid to keep this situation appropriate and civil.
For instance, don’t demand excessive child support payments just to hurt your ex because you’re teaching your child inappropriate behaviors and impacting your ex’s life. After all, child support is payable until the child reaches age 21, meaning your ex will be paying for a long time in some situations.
Tip Three: Co-Parenting Includes Planning Together and Communicating
Though your family is separated by divorce, that doesn’t mean it is broken. You are tied to your ex through your child for life, so you must plan everything together and communicate all needs appropriately. These steps help to make sure a child’s life is more consistent and enjoyable.
For example, things like healthcare steps must be agreed on to avoid complications. Talk to your ex about things like the benefits of fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses, as these can decrease your child’s oral health decay by as much as 40%. Such steps keep your child healthy and strong and minimize the need for additional dental appointments and expenses!
Tip Four: Create a Co-Parenting Team That Makes Sense
Whether you like it or not, you and your partner are a team, so create a plan that makes sense for your needs. For example, if your ex has something important going on during a custody day and cannot watch the child, don’t fight with them about it. Just take your child and watch them.
Likewise, you need to cover each other when financial troubles occur and do what you can to help each other succeed. Remember — you’re not competing for your child’s love and affection. Co-parenting is about teamwork!
Tip Five: Make Visitations Easier and Less Traumatic
If divorce is traumatic for parents, it is doubly or even triply so for children. And nothing is harder than the transition during visitation periods. Your children may cry when they change parents and have a rough few days while they settle into their new schedule.
As a result, you need to make these experiences more enjoyable and less complicated. Have a fun last few hours with your children before you send them away, stay optimistic and excited, remind them of the fun things they will do with your ex, and always keep a smile on your face.
As you can see, these tips are designed to benefit your child and require a little work from you. If you want to keep your family an operational unit, these co-parenting tips are critical even after divorce. Make sure you talk with your ex about these steps and emphasize the importance of getting along for the sake of your children.