Your divorce may have ended your marriage, but it did not end your relationship with your former spouse if you have young children together. The nature of your relationship will change, of course because now you are only partners in parenting your children. Family courts use the, “best interests of the child” rule to guide their decision making process, and parents might do well to adopt the same philosophy when making decisions that will impact their child’s life. Going forward, you will be working as a team with your ex-spouse as co-parents to raise your children successfully. Towards that end, both co-parents should understand that it is important to put their failed relationship in the rear-view mirror and focus instead on learning how to communicate with one another.
With the new school year approaching, schedules will change and everyone will have to adapt. During the divorce, you both likely sat down and hammered out a Parenting Plan agreement. However, life happens in ways that you might not have included in that plan. Here are some tips for navigating life with kids after divorce and communicating effectively with your co-parent.
- Work together to create a Parenting Plan agreement that works for your child.
Your Franklin family law attorney will work with you to develop a Parenting Plan agreement that takes the best interest of the child into consideration, and creates a workable plan that everyone concerned will be able to live with.
- Agree on how information will be shared
In today’s connected world there are so many modes of communicating from the good, old-fashioned telephone, to texting, emailing and video conferencing. Given that each person has their own preferred mode of communication, endeavor to find out how the other person would like to receive information that pertains to the child. You might consider a co-parenting app that will allow you to share calendars and updates and it stores it in one location.
- Always communicate directly with the other parent
Sending messages back and forth through the child puts the child in an uncomfortable position and leaves room for too much confusion and miscommunication.
- Encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent
Remember that your child has two parents, and it is vital for their development to have a bonded relationship with both parents as long as it is safe for them to do so.
- Never disparage the other parent
Your anger, disappointment and betrayal at the other parent might try to seep into your conversation. Fight the urge to tell your child what a terrible person their other parent is.
- Know when it is time to modify the parenting time agreement
Children grow up fast and their needs will change. Be willing to be flexible about changing schedules as your child grows and starts branching out and participating in activities outside of home and school.
There is a wide spectrum of comfort levels of communication between former spouses raging from not wanting to be in the same room with a former spouse, to being able to maintain a cordial rapport with their former spouse. Regardless of where your relationship falls on that spectrum, in order to maintain a successful co-parenting arrangement, both parties must be willing to communicate and share information with one another whether in person, over the phone or electronically.
Another important thing to keep in mind with a co-parenting arrangement is that just because someone was not a great spouse does not mean that they are not a good parent. Give your co-parent the benefit of the doubt and try not to assume that they do not have your child’s best interests at heart as much as you do.
If you are a parent who is dealing with divorce and co-parenting issues, you may have questions about developing and implementing your Parenting Plan agreement. Our Franklin family law attorneys can offer legal guidance and strong representation. Please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler & Associates today at 615-977-9370. We have offices in Brentwood and Columbia as well, to better serve you.