You and your former or soon-to-be-former spouse have already gone through a lot. Divorce is never easy, especially when you have kids and hard or angry feelings persist with your ex-partner. Chances are you have diligently worked to keep those emotions in check to avoid making things harder for you and your children. Now your goal becomes creating a peaceful co-parenting relationship.
Positive steps for healthy and productive co-parenting
Psychological studies show children of divorce can thrive when both parents remain actively and positively engaged in their lives. It may take a lot of work to get to a peaceful place with your ex, but here are some signs you are accomplishing your goal:
- Sticking to the schedule: Having a predetermined plan makes the arrangement easier for everyone and shows that you and your former spouse can honor your commitments to your children.
- Being flexible: While this might seem like a contradiction, stuff happens! It’s a healthy sign when you’re willing to accommodate your ex’s last-minute work emergency. They’re likely to do the same for you.
- Talking to each other: When last-minute adjustments are necessary, co-parents in a healthy relationship talk to each other first before telling their kids about a change in the schedule.
- Attending events together: Healthy co-parents can attend their children’s sporting events, recitals or other activities together without any drama by putting their kids first.
- Recognizing each other’s purpose: Even if little or no love remains between you and your ex, both of you are the most important people in your children’s world.
Agree to disagree, and move on
Chances are you and your ex-spouse didn’t see eye-to-eye when your marriage was happy, and you almost certainly will continue to disagree about many things in the future. A big part of avoiding angry confrontations is having an experienced lawyer draft a comprehensive parenting plan.
It’s a good idea to make this document as detailed as possible, but one that especially includes at least basic agreements over the big issues, such as decisions for your children’s health, education, discipline and spiritual and moral upbringing.