The decision has been made and action was taken. Whether your divorce was mutual or contested, what should be agreed upon between the parties is the direction for raising your children. (This takes into consideration that there was no abuse or there was not an absentee parent during the marriage). Whether you are the parent who has gained child custody or the parent who has parenting time subject to a plan, you need to make sure that you and your child’s mother or father are co-parenting.
Your child has (or children have) the right to freely love both parents. You may have bitter feelings or feelings of indifference towards the other parent, but don’t let those feelings ruin your child’s relationship with you or their other parent. You may find out that those feelings may have a greater negative impact on your relationship with your child/children than expected. Using children to continually punish an ex is debilitating to all those involved.
Putting together a parenting plan will help each party determine that the needs of the children are the utmost priority. If the parties cannot agree, the courts will intervene to resolve parenting time, support and custody.
What does it mean to co-parent? It is the best solution to the situation in which the family has been placed by the court process. It means:
- Having a comprehensive parenting plan that addresses responsibilities of each parent. Be understanding as to the needs of the child/children.
- Communicating with your ex-spouse/significant other. If schedules change, communicate. If there is an illness, communicate.
- Honor the parenting plan that has been established.
- Be as consistent as possible in discipline. Nothing causes more confusion than completely different discipline actions.
- Always think about the children and their best interests first.
You have seen good divorced parents and bad divorced parents. You may have been involved in conversations wondering why the ex-spouses can’t get along even for the children.
But you may have also had the conversation praising the ex-couple that are presently co-parenting – being communicative, a parenting team, even though they are divorced/no longer together.
While you shouldn’t be concerned what other people say, you should be concerned what your children say, how that child is responding to the situation and how they are adjusting to their new life, being separated from a parent they love.
It will take a great deal of work on both sides, but co-parenting is the best choice in raising your children and working through the struggles that may occur. Having a solid parenting plan may be the best solution to a difficult situation.