Getting married means sharing just about everything with your spouse. From your bedroom and television viewing habits to your finances and family, your life and theirs become intertwined.
Now that you’ve decided to divorce, things aren’t so simple anymore. You know that you have to work together to raise your kids, but you don’t know how to act around this person who used to play a central role in your life. What can you do to adjust to co-parenting during and after a divorce?
Start looking at your ex as a parent rather than a spouse
It is all too easy to project feelings about how your ex behaved toward you and your marriage. If they cheated on you, you might worry that they won’t make your kids a priority the way that they should.
It’s important to understand that how someone behaves as a spouse is independent of how they function as a parent, especially after your divorce. Try to focus on and cultivate the best parental qualities that your ex displays and work with them to present a unified front to your children.
Consider sitting down with a counselor
Successful co-parenting can sometimes seem impossible because you have too many pent-up emotions toward one another. If you find that your anger, remorse or grief about your marriage bubbles up every time you try to exchange custody or talk about your kids, that could be a sign that you need a safe space to work through those feelings.
Seeing a therapist to work through everything that a divorce causes in your life can be a smart move. You can see one on your own or even with your ex in order to talk out your issues and find new ways to communicate and work with one another.
Be flexible, but try to stick with the rules in your parenting plan
Whether you have a temporary order or a final parenting plan with comprehensive details, adhering to the rules laid out for sharing parental rights is as important as finding ways to work together and be flexible when circumstances prevent one of you from fulfilling your obligations to the kids.
Unexpected overtime or a sudden illness are both reasons why you might have to suddenly change plans. Be willing to work with your ex, but also try your best to focus on the rules and standards set in the custody plan as you negotiate.
Having good legal support during your divorce can make it easier for you to focus on your healing because you don’t have to worry so much about your financial or legal situation. A good divorce strategy can help you secure a parenting plan that reflects your family’s needs and values.