You and your spouse may not see eye-to-eye about what is best for your child after a divorce. The more disparate your personal backgrounds and beliefs, the harder it may be to find a middle ground when you no longer have the bond of marriage holding you together.
However, just because it won’t be easy doesn’t mean it isn’t possible. With a little effort and commitment, you and your ex can co-parent successfully. In order to work cooperatively as a parenting unit after divorce, you have to agree on certain issues.
Whether it’s holding to a standard bedtime or determining what extracurricular activities the children can join, divorced parents need to be on the same page. Careful planning and compromise will be crucial to a positive co-parenting relationship, which is why you may want to draw up your own parenting plan before filing for a divorce.
Address the biggest concerns in your parenting plan
Depending on what point you are at in your divorce, you may be able to avoid some of the biggest pitfalls of co-parenting by planning ahead. It is common for spouses to experience disagreements related to education, extracurricular activities, medical decisions, religious observances and travel.
Ideally, you can commit to specific rules and guidelines in the initial parenting plan before you even file for divorce. That way, the two of you can work together as a unit to enforce the rules and expectations that you have for your children even while going through the divorce process.
A well-structured parenting plan can address everything from how to split parenting time to putting rules in place for discussing unique situations as they arise. This ensures there are consistent rules and expectations for your children before, during and after a divorce. Be aware that it likely will require compromise to set terms that work for both you and your spouse.
Make a rule to protect the children from your fights
While it can be hard to agree on specific terms for the divorce or custody arrangements, most parents can agree to work to minimize the negative impact of divorce on their children’s emotional or mental health. A mutual desire to mitigate the damages of divorce can serve as the foundation for a healthy co-parenting relationship.
If you and your children’s other parent can agree to focus on the children when making divorce or parenting decisions, and to avoid exposing your children to arguments or the issues that led to the divorce, you will likely have an easier time continuing to parent together. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you create a parenting plan that works for everyone.