Divorce is never easy. But sharing parenting duties after marital dissolution may be an even more difficult than the divorce itself. Not only does co-parenting after divorce force you to remain on good enough terms with your ex-spouse and successfully navigate shared schedules, duties, and responsibilities, it also means that you will likely have to see your ex-spouse frequently—at least to drop off or pick up the children.
You will also likely have to reach joint decisions when it comes to parenting styles in regards to lifestyle, education, and social matters. If one spouse expects a child to go to church, for example, and the other does not, this can be detrimental and confusing to the child. If one parent wants the child to be privately educated and the other parent believes that public education is superior, this could also be difficult to decide. In addition, if the divorce was particularly ugly, coming together to make these decisions can be painful.
There are several things you can do, however, to ease into co-parenting after divorce. To successfully co-parent, the number one thing to remember is that the only person whose actions you can control are your own. Setting boundaries is important, as is remembering the effect that your actions—large and small—have on your children. Never talk badly about your ex to your child, regardless of how tempting it may be. It will never make you look better, and it can destroy the relationship that either you or your ex share with your children.
With that said, however, a child may learn to take advantage of his or her divorced parents miscommunication, and consequently disobey both parents. Keeping the lines of communication open with your ex—so that you can compare notes—is crucial. Never allow lines of communication to be open only through your child. An article in The Huffington Post advises, “make sure that you and your ex keep each other informed about changes in your life circumstances so that the children are never, ever the primary source of information.” This includes the burgeoning of new romantic relationships.
If you or someone you know is considering divorce and has questions about co-parenting after divorce, the most important step is to seek the counsel of a qualified family law attorney. Do not go through it alone. Contact a compassionate DuPage County divorce lawyer today.