Transition to a co-parenting relationship with your former spouse

For parents trying to navigate through a divorce, one of the biggest concerns is typically how the transition will affect their children. While adjusting to the new circumstances can be challenging for children of any age, parents in such situations can take steps to ease the stress felt by their children as they get used to their new living situation.

While establishing a healthy relationship with an ex-spouse can be difficult for those going through a divorce, making efforts to do so is important when children are involved. Following some straightforward guidelines can ensure parents seeking to create an effective co-parenting relationship will be successful.

Think of your new relationship as a business

One of the most difficult aspects of reinventing your relationship with a former spouse is separating the emotions that resulted in the divorce. When it comes to making decisions about your children, however, both parties will be well served to focus on the business of raising the children and promoting a positive environment for them. When parents continue to dredge up old resentments and arguments regarding their marriage, the communication becomes less effective.

At first, it may be helpful to establish concrete ground rules when communicating with an ex, to promote this new type of relationship. Parents may agree to discuss only the children and may restrict the method of communication to written emails or text messages. By taking these steps, former spouses are less likely to discuss contentious issues relating to the divorce, and will be able to reestablish a relationship based on the continuing well-being of their children.

Take steps to avoid unnecessary arguments

Of course, even if you restrict your conversations to issues relating to the children, arguments are likely to arise. In such cases, you can make an effort to resolve the conflict, even if it appears your ex is unwilling to do so.

For instance, while you may feel that your former spouse is creating the problem, consider whether your actions may be contributing to the conflict. Ensure you are abiding by the joint custody agreement and seek outside support if you are unable to resolve the conflict yourselves.

If you find arguments are becoming more common, you may consider evaluating whether every issue you observe is worth addressing. In some cases, it may take time to become comfortable with the fact that your former spouse will have some differences in the way he or she parents with which you do not agree. While those differences are bound to exist, it may not be necessary to address each one with your ex.

You may also find co-parenting classes helpful, as they can provide useful tips on how to resolve disagreements following a divorce.

When a parent is thinking about getting a divorce, there are many considerations that ought to be taken into account. If you are in such a situation, consider talking to a skilled family law attorney to discuss your rights.