It happens more than any of us want to admit: you marry someone you think you want to spend the rest of your life with, and for whatever reason, it simply doesn’t work out. If you have had children together, you may be tempted to try to work things out so you’re not negatively affecting your kids. While this scenario brings some families back together, many couples find that it causes a great deal of tension and long-term stress — neither of which create a positive environment for children. If you have decided to get a divorce, consider the many ways that you can create a healthy co-parenting relationship with your former spouse.
1. Make the Kids the Focus
Sure, it seems self-explanatory, but it’s important to realize that the little people you are protecting are the most important part of the relationship with your former spouse. Your primary goal is not to ensure that the children understand what each co-parent has done wrong in the relationship. Frankly, that’s not their problem. What they need to know is that both parents love them unconditionally and will support them as they grow and mature.
2. Stay Positive
This may mean sacrificing that snarky comment you are dying to make about the kids’ father or mother or step-parent or living style . . . and simply keep those comments to yourself. When you stay positive about your co-parent, you’re teaching your children to rise in the face of adversity, even when conditions are not ideal.
3. Keep Finances to Yourself
It could be that you’re having trouble getting financial support from your co-parent, but that’s nothing to share with the kids. As tough as it may be, be sure the kids are out of the way before having a tough conversation about money. This one can be particularly challenging, as you may find yourself having to say “No” to requests from children who may be too young to understand that answer.
4. Still a Full-Time Job
Just because you’re no longer living together, doesn’t mean that your parental obligations have suddenly disappeared. Regardless of your agreement as far as visitation and time with each parent, be sure you’re living up to your obligations — and not just the “letter of the law”. Instead, look for ways that you can ease transitions between homes and different parenting styles.
5. Keep Lines of Communication Open
If there are problems with your child’s grades, communicate with your co-parent! Don’t feel the need to take all of the responsibility on yourself — or send all the responsibility to the other party, either. Co-parenting is a very mature decision and requires that both individuals are able to fully commit to supporting each other as well as the children that are involved. Look for ways to share both the good times as well as the not-so-great times, and see if you’re able to build a new comfort level supporting the children and each other as parents.
How Salt Lake City, Utah Divorce Attorney David Pedrazas Can Help
Even though you may be considering divorce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that both parents have to give up a healthy relationship with your children. Co-parenting is a wonderful way to continue to support your children as they grow and mature. Want to learn more about your rights during and after a divorce? Contact the Law Office of David Pedrazas today for a free case evaluation at 801-263-7078. Learn more predictors of co-parenting success from a recent paper from the National Institutes of Health.