If you are going through a divorce, you may still have a lot of anger or hurt. It is hard enough to deal with these feelings. The last thing that you probably want to do is to work closely with your ex. But, that is exactly what you will have to do when children are involved. For those who are sharing custody of children, the struggles of co-parenting can seem overwhelming.
Many couples manage to work out successful co-parenting relationships that are amicable and help their children thrive. While there is no specific blueprint to a successful co-parenting relationship, there are some things that most successful co-parents do. Here they are.
#1 They Collaborate Instead Of Litigate
The best method of reaching a child custody agreement takes place outside of a courtroom. Not only is it really expensive to litigate child custody, but it can also increase conflict rather than help decrease it. Studies have found that court-imposed child custody arrangements tend to not work as well as those reached amicably. What if you cannot agree on custody? Instead of calling your lawyer, consider asking your ex if they would consider couples counseling. A marriage therapist is not only helpful for couples who want to save the marriage but also for those divorcing. A marriage therapist can help you and your ex agree on a solution that would meet both of your needs. Plus, marriage therapy is usually a lot less expensive than endless litigation.
#2 They Are Polite and Business-Like
Respect is the key to any successful relationship — whether the people involved are business partners or divorced spouses. Successful co-parents are respectful of each other. They are calm and pleasant and treat the other parent with respect by:
Showing up for visitation exchanges on time.
Maintaining a professional, business-like relationship.
Asking the other parent for their thoughts before making important medical, educational or extracurricular decisions involving their child.
They do not:
Schedule vacations or other activities for the child during the other parent’s visitation time without asking first.
Use the child to send messages to the other parent.
#3 They Have A Parenting Plan — And Follow It
A parenting plan helps your child know what to expect. It also helps prevent conflicts later on. The plan should be detailed. It does not have to be equal to be fair. It should logically make sense and work for everyone. Make sure you clarify the following things in your plan:
How will you share holidays and birthdays?
Is it okay to post photos of your child on Facebook?
How long will you wait to introduce a new partner?
Also, stick to the parenting plan consistently. Children need stability and routine. Knowing what to expect can reduce anxiety in kids.
#4 They Talk About Their Child
Successful co-parents talk about their child. They discuss concerns as well as successes. They don’t “forget” to tell the other parent about medical appointments or extracurricular activities. If the child wins an award at school, the parent that is in the know should contact the other parent to share this information with them as well.
Are you interested in couples therapy for co-parenting in Roseville, CA? If so, then give us a call at 916-426-2757. We serve clients in the Fair Oaks, CA, Gold River CA, Citrus Heights CA and the greater Sacramento area.
Lori Hunter, LMFT specializes in working with families, co-parenting and those high conflict couples struggling with relationships. She helps couples build intimacy, teaching effective emotional processing techniques that directly improve thoughts and behaviors.