If you’re looking for tips to effectively co-parent after divorce, you’ve come to the right place.
As a divorce mediator in Perth, many of the couples I work with are navigating co-parenting following a relationship breakdown.
Here are my tips on how to effectively co-parent after divorce.
Tip 1 – Set Jointly-Agreed Expectations From The Start
Co-parenting after divorce can become the hardest part of a separation unless your rules and expectations are jointly agreed from the start. The earlier they are set the easier it will be, not only for both parents but, most importantly, for the children too.
It is vital for parties to separate the issues that led to the divorce from the parenting issues. Who did what to whom – and each party’s perception of the rights and wrongs – is now totally irrelevant. You divorced your spouse, not your children. Before the divorce has even taken effect, both spouses need to lay out exactly what the rules are and how they need to behave.
That is often difficult to achieve, especially if the marriage had been a turbulent one. It only becomes easy when the focus shifts entirely to the well-being of the children.
Tip 2 -Don’t Get Emotional
As hard as that may be, for the benefit of the children, emotions MUST be kept in check when they are around.
The best way of achieving this is for both ex-spouses to start seeing their relationship as purely business-like and the children now become “the business”. Successful business relationships are formal, cordial and everyone is polite. Nobody has to like anyone. You don’t have to play “happy-families”.
Having a solid and comprehensive Parenting Plan or Parenting Orders drawn up as part of the divorce settlement, in which all the rules of life after divorce are clearly set out, would certainly help. All that it would now take is for you both to stick to the terms. Sounds so simple really, if emotions can be kept under control.
Tip 3 – Give Your Kids Space When They Are With Your Ex
Children deserve to have a healthy relationship with both parents, without interference from the other parent.
As long as the basics, – like meals, homework and general discipline are adhered to – let the kids have their space when they are with your ex. Just remember, just like you, the children and your ex will also need time and space to adapt to the new lifestyle, so a little flexibility won’t do anyone any harm.
One of the golden rules for any co-parent after divorce is to never question children for information on your ex-spouse’s personal life, or use them to relay messages. Just let them be children and enjoy their time with each of you.
Tip 4 – Make Decisions Together
Although your marriage may be over the family is still going and, therefore, major decisions regarding the children must be made together.
That’s why it’s called “co-parenting”.
This will go a long way in reducing conflict that may still be lingering in the aftermath of the divorce.
Tip 5 -Be Civil To Each Other
Another golden rule for co-parents is to remain calm and civil to each other, especially in front of the children.
Divorces themselves may not have a lasting impact on children, but on-going conflict post-divorce certainly can. Set a good example for your children to follow.
Tip 6 – Don’t Discuss Your Ex Or Your Divorce Negatively With Your Kids
If you apply the rule of thinking of the children’s needs over and above yours, there will be no need to discuss your divorce or talk negatively about your ex with your kids.
Children love both parents equally and nobody has the right to deny them that. One day they will thank you for that simple rule.
Tip 7 – Review Your Arrangements
As children grow older circumstances change and prior arrangements made during the divorce may need to be reviewed. The same can apply to both parents. A change of job, relocation or a new partner may, and probably will, enter the scene at some stage and changes may need to be made.
Had there been an amicable ongoing relationship between separated parents, new arrangements will be easier to agree, as long as the interests of the children remain the primary goals.
Want to co-parent effectively following your separation or divorce? Find out how divorce mediation can help you do just that.
Call Ian now on 0418 928 448 for a confidential discussion.