Co-Parenting With an Ex-Spouse: Three Critical Tips For Maintaining Healthy Relationships
It’s not shocking to suggest that most people hold bitter anger and resentment towards their ex-spouses, especially if the divorce is still fresh in everyone’s mind. Even in cases where things are fairly amicable, there was a reason for the divorce and you’re probably not going to be your ex-spouse’s biggest fan.
But there eventually comes a time where you need to push these emotions aside and work together with your ex-spouse for the sake of your children, especially in cases where there is joint or shared custody. This can be challenging, and some days will be harder than others, but at the end of the day you need to think about what’s healthy for everyone, including your children. We’ve outlined a few tips below to help ease you into a more amicable position with an ex-spouse.
Put the Effort
Think about it. You would do pretty much anything for your children, right? So why draw the line at getting along with your ex-spouse? This piece of advice might sound like common sense, but it’s common for one or both ex-partners to continue lashing out and refuse to work together. The first step in fostering a healthy co-parenting situation is simply to get started. Make an effort to be civil and considerate even in stressful situations. If you find yourself running out of goodwill, remember that you’re doing this for your children’s sake rather than for your ex-spouse!
Remember that your ex-spouse is still a part of your child’s life
This is a big one. Remember, your ex-spouse is still your child’s parent, and you need to treat him/her accordingly. Don’t argue, fight, or otherwise introduce unnecessary conflict when possible, and don’t badmouth the other parent. You don’t want your children to internalize any negative feelings about the other parent, and you certainly don’t want to make them pick sides or potentially turn them against you. At the end of the day, your children still need both of you, and you shouldn’t neglect them of this right simply because you can’t work out your differences with an ex-spouse.
Allow space for you and your ex-spouse to live your own lives
It is likely a matter of time before either of you starts to “move on” and lead his/her own life, and perhaps even start dating someone. While this will undoubtedly dredge up unpleasant emotions, it’s important to try and keep things civil. Avoid acting out on your emotions, and consider treating your ex-spouse like a clerk at a bank or a cashier at the store. Perhaps some friendly small-talk and nothing more. It’s healthy for each of you to pursue your own lives, and effective co-parenting requires that both parties approach this in a mature, reasonable way.
These are just some pointers for effective co-parenting. It isn’t always pleasant or fun, but necessary when prioritizing the needs of your children. For more in-depth legal advice on any family law or divorce issue, call the family law experts at Rubin & Levavi, P.C.