After spouses go through the divorce process, many are presented with a new role to learn and manage – one most common role being that of a co-parent. It can be difficult to navigate this new role while being newly divorced, and leaning on an experienced divorce attorney is one way to help ensure the right moves and decisions are being made.
Co-parenting is when two parents that have separated or divorced raise a child together but in separate residences. This can be a dreadful scenario for some who have a tough time communicating with their ex, let alone being in the same room; however, it is absolutely feasible for separated or divorced parents to raise their child successfully and give their child the best life possible. If you find yourself in this position, below are five tips to keep in mind to help you navigate your new role as a co-parent:
- Create Consistent Environments
Providing the same ground rules at each parent’s home can help a child feel safe and stabile in their environments. This might include curfews, bedtimes, social media rules, homework schedules, etc. A child is more likely to thrive when they know what to expect and what is expected of them.
- Ensure Communication is Open and Frequent
This can be one of the most challenging aspects of being a co-parent—communication. It can be hard to not let negative feelings get in the way of communication; however, ensuring the children are having their needs met by communicating with the other parent is most important. Also, there are different forms of communication that can work better for some parents. For example, there are apps that one can use to communicate with their ex. These apps can call out upcoming appointments or deadlines that relate to their child and keep track of schedules. Whatever means of communication is employed, the focus needs to remain the child and his or her best interests.
- Do Not Talk Badly About the Other Parent
It is important to remind oneself that their ex is their child’s other parent. As much as they might not like this thought, it is the truth and the reason being polite and cautious of what they say about their ex in front of their child is so important. The child should not overhear any conversations about their parents’ divorce disputes or negative details about either parent. A child deserves, and needs, a healthy relationship with each parent, unless of course the other parent provides a harmful environment for their child, and keeping the negative talk away from their child can provide a better opportunity for them to have these healthy relationships.
- Encourage Your Child to Have Relationships with Family
A child should be given the opportunity to visit their family such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. even if those family members are on the other parent’s side. A separation or divorce should not take these special relationships away, and a parent should support their children’s right to visit their family. There can be exceptions such as when a relationship can be harmful to the child, but if these exceptions are not present, it is typically recommended to encourage a child to have these relationships after the divorce is final.
RELATED: Read about these 5 tips to help your custody case.
- Create a Co-Parenting Team
The sound of this can be hard to swallow; how can one become a team with their ex? A child deserves to have parents that work together to create a consistent, safe, and secure life and environment for them. One way to do this is to view one’s relationship with their ex as a business relationship. They should have consistent communication, make important decisions together, and be on the same page with most things related to their child. This does not mean they need to be best friends, but it means that they can agree to be a team together with the same goal in mind: creating the best environment possible for their child.
Making sure children are considered and taken care of through the divorce process is one of the most important things parents can do during and after a divorce. We hope these tips help you feel confident in your new role as a co-parent so your child can transition to the new situation more easily.
For information about what our experienced attorneys at Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby can do to help you in your divorce, contact us online or call our office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, at 412-261-4040.
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