When parents separate or get a divorce, it can wreak havoc on the children's mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing, especially if the parents cannot get along with each other. However, parents can mitigate some of the harm by co-parenting with each other.
What is Co-Parenting?
Simply put, co-parenting is the act of jointly sharing the duties of raising a child between parents that are no longer together. At its most basic level, co-parenting means putting aside your differences with your ex in order to ensure your child's best interests are met.
As long as the child is not put in harm's way, co-parenting is generally one of the best methods in helping them transition from living together as a family to two separate households.
Co-Parenting Tips for Success
While every parent wants what's best for their child, after a separation, it's easier said than done. You now have to manage three different schedules - yours, your ex's, and your child's. That task alone can be overwhelming. On top of that, your ex may not be the most cooperative co-parent, which just makes matters all the more difficult.
Learning how to share custody of your child with your ex-spouse is not a simple task, but it is possible. As you navigate this new chapter in your life, keep these co-parenting tips in mind:
- Keep communication direct: Think of your co-parenting relationship as a business relationship. While doing business, you are professional, direct, and calm. When communicating with your ex, do the same.
- Flexibility is crucial: Once you have a custody schedule in place, try to follow it as consistently as possible. Children fare better when they have a routine. However, remember to expect the unexpected - life is full of twists and turns that we never see coming. Sometimes plans will need to change. If your ex asks you to adjust the schedule every once in a while, be open to their request. In the future, you may need to make some last-minute changes as well, and your ex will likely be more willing to be flexible if you've shown them kindness in the past.
- Don't speak negatively of your ex: Never be rude or unkind to your ex, especially in front of your kids. When children are exposed to arguing or disagreements, it can confuse them. The child may start to feel bias towards one parent, which can negatively impact their relationship with them. Additionally, this goes for speaking badly about your co-parent in front of your children. This is harmful to your child. Don't do it.
- Be considerate: When picking up or dropping off your child, remember to plan ahead to ensure you are on time. You don't want to show up late to drop off and then consequently limit the amount of time your ex has with your child. Nor would you want to be late if it's your turn to pick up your child; your ex has other obligations too, so be courteous of them. Remember, you have a custody plan - stick with it. If you know you will be running behind, let them know ahead of time so they can plan accordingly.
Protect Your Family Today
At Tobias Iszard, PC, we assist clients with the unique challenges associated with matters of family law. If you are experiencing a family law issue that requires legal intervention, we are here to protect you and your family's rights while guiding you through the challenging times ahead.
Have questions about your child custody case? Call our Manassas child custody lawyers today at (703) 215-1880.