Top Tips to Make Co-Parenting After Divorce a Little Easier

Contact Us

    Going through a divorce is never easy. A divorce with minor children in the mix can feel world-ending for everyone. Having a parent move out and needing to attend court hearings can be understandably upsetting and confusing for a child. So, it stands to reason that a stable, positive co-parenting arrangement can help make the situation a little easier to swallow. However, many parents struggle to reconcile their feelings for their ex and their children’s needs when developing a custody arrangement. According to a 1993 study, at the time, less than half of the studied couples demonstrated effective co-parenting following divorce. But, with the rise of blended households and positive co-parenting relationships, a more recent study may show more successful arrangements. Luckily, you don’t need to take classes or learn new skills to make the best of it. Often, the best ways to ensure your co-parenting agreement following a divorce is positive for your children are also just plain old good parenting.

    Find Co-Parenting Support After Your Divorce

    As you probably know and have lied awake at night thinking about, co-parenting can be extremely challenging. The right support is crucial to helping yourself adjust to the lifestyle. Sympathetic family and friends are great as emotional sounding boards. Unfortunately, unless they’ve experienced the co-parenting life as well, they may not know how to help when you come to them with your scheduling issues or when you and your ex have a spat.

    Look for co-parenting support groups in your area following your divorce. These can be online groups of likeminded parents or in-person, formal gatherings. Parents who have been there can help you through the messy emotions as well as logistics of your new arrangement. If you’re struggling to come to terms with the reality of co-parenting, a therapist or counselor may also help you learn coping strategies.

    Respect Your Co-Parent

    Everyone talks the talk. Now, it’s time to walk the walk. This often-distributed piece of advice is usually easier said than done. After all, if you happened to have a less than amicable divorce, co-parenting civilly can feel almost impossible. However you feel, it’s important to recognize your ex’s rights and capabilities as a parent. These may be entirely separate from their capabilities as a spouse. In short, just because they weren’t a great spouse for you, it doesn’t mean they aren’t a great parent. Avoid speaking negatively about your co-parent, especially in front of your child. You never know when your child is listening, so it’s best to try to speak civilly about your ex no matter where you are or who you’re with.

    Additionally, respecting your co-parent means respecting their time. Co-parenting after divorce can be a time management balancing act. But it’s important that each parent receives their due time with their child. Just as you’d expect your ex to drop off your child on time for visitation, you should also offer the same punctuality. Sometimes, the most well-laid plans are unraveled by unexpected circumstances. If your ex asks for you to be flexible occasionally, provide that courtesy with the expectation they’d do the same for you.

    Let Your Child Be a Child

    After a particularly nasty breakup, it can be difficult to bite your tongue about your ex or the divorce agreement in front of your child. However, it’s important to consider how the situation has affected the outlook of your child. Divorce is enough of a curveball for a child; don’t let co-parenting complicate their lives further.

    Refrain from discussing “adult” topics in front of your child like child support agreements, visitation frustrations, or custody battles. Children of divorced parents can continue to have happy, healthy childhoods. Unfortunately, forcing your child to grow up by being exposed to the sometimes ugly, legal side of a divorce can leave them feeling isolated amongst their peers and unsure where they stand at home.