If you're in the midst of a divorce, one of the things your lawyer is going to tell you is that you need to come to a co-parenting agreement with your spouse as part of the settlement. Especially in emotionally-charged divorces, this can be difficult. Before you find yourself faced with an order from the judge to work it out, here are some tips to help you make the transition from spouses to co-parents.
Come To Terms With Your Emotions
You aren't going to be able to effectively communicate and co-parent with your soon-to-be ex until you're able to take your emotions out of the picture. Take some time to sort out your own emotions and deal with any hurt feelings or betrayal. Remember that your children are the ones stuck in the middle of the entire situation, so you need to be sure that there's no hostility or tension that could leave them feeling uncomfortable.
Make time to deliberately and actively deal with your own feelings from the end of the relationship, the divorce, and any events that contributed to it. The sooner you do this, the easier it will be to detach yourself from those feelings when you have to interact with your ex.
Clearly Define The New Dynamic
It's hard to make the transition from the intimate relationship you've shared for so many years to a co-parenting situation, which is often more of a business arrangement. Sit down with your ex and make sure that you set clear expectations for the new relationship dynamic.
For example, communication should be focused solely on the kids. Your relationship isn't one of having to share personal details or seek approval and permission for personal decisions. Make sure you both clearly understand what can and cannot happen with the children during their time with each parent and when the other parent should be consulted for decisions or issues. You should also clearly detail the procedure for dealing with situations where you disagree on how to handle something. In most cases, the parent with primary custody becomes the default decision-maker for those situations.
Remember that all conversations should be calm, respectful, and in the children's best interests. Before you meet with your ex for any reason, take time to keep your emotions in check and create a list of the things you need to discuss to be sure that you cover everything. Avoid becoming hostile or accusatory about anything and aim for resolutions, not emotional attacks.
For more tips to transition into the co-parenting role, talk with firms like Kalamarides & Lambert. Your family law attorney can help you with mediation and other recommendations to help settle your divorce with ease.