If you live in Metro East and are considering divorce, you probably have lots of questions about what is going to happen as your divorce unfolds and how your life will change. Your concerns are likely even more significant if you have children. Many divorced parents struggle to separate their personal feelings about their exes from their obligations to their children.
If you have children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, your ex-partner will be a part of your life for the next several years as the two of you co-parent your children. The two of you are going to need to manage your custody agreement, compromise on different aspects of your children’s upbringing, and address one-off situations and changing living arrangements cooperatively. This is easier said than done, but there are substantial benefits to maintaining a mutually respectful relationship with your ex. The most significant benefit is that it will make the divorce less challenging for the children.
Tips for Maintaining Amicable Relations With Your Ex
Once the child custody agreement is legally finalized, you can begin rebuilding your life as a single parent and start working toward a cohesive co-parenting plan with your ex. However, keeping as positive a mindset as possible from the beginning of the proceedings can help make this transition easier. A few best practices can help you start this process on firmer footing:
- Maintain your child custody agreement. Your child custody agreement should be followed to the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. What you might consider small deviations from the agreement could cause frustration in the other parent. Worse, violating your custody could jeopardize your custody rights. Begin the process of developing a mutually respectful co-parenting relationship with your ex by adhering to your custody arrangement to the letter. Remember that you could potentially file a post-judgment motion with the help of your Metro East family law attorney for changes to the agreement.
- Create an evolving schedule. Creating a schedule allows each of you some level of control in the partnership. However, anger can sometimes develop when that schedule becomes very rigid. Recognize that not being able to see your children each day is going to be stressful for both of you. With that in mind, try to be as flexible and accommodating as possible with the schedule. However, when you do adapt the schedule, be sure to make notes of changes, especially if they affect support or reflect an imbalance in the custodial arrangement.
- Develop a budget. While it doesn’t seem obvious, a budget can be a great tool for communication. It offers data to help you in discussions with your ex. When you have a firm grasp of your personal finances, your children’s daily needs, and your new day-to-day routine, sudden variables, expenses, and schedule changes won’t seem as pressing.
- Be willing to communicate. You and your ex may have personal issues, but those issues are between the two of you and just the two of you. Communicating through the children is a common but unhealthy practice. Even if that communication is positive, it puts an unfair burden on them. Decide on the best way of communication, then be open to talking to your former spouse.
- Be careful with text-based communications. While texting is a convenient and fast way of communicating with others, text messages are open to infinite interpretations – or, rather, misinterpretations. For quick and informal information, a text is fine. However, when deciding on bigger issues, especially issues you may disagree on, a phone call or meet up is probably the best strategy.
- Speak with kindness about your ex. Keep in mind that your ex is your children’s parent and always will be. It’s normal to feel anger and frustration toward your former partner, but avoid letting those emotions seep into the conversations you have with your children. You may not want to be married to your partner any longer, but you do want your children to have the most positive experience as possible after the marriage’s dissolution. One way to do that is to encourage a positive relationship between your children and their other parent.
Again, while these tips may sound much easier said than done, making every effort to build a respectful relationship with your co-parent will ultimately benefit everyone involved in the end.
The Benefits of Positive Co-parenting After Divorce
When your ex is unwilling to be respectful toward you, maintaining the high road can be challenging. However, maintaining diplomatic relations with your ex ultimately works in your benefit, even if the other partner isn’t able to reciprocate. A few benefits of maintaining respectful co-parenting discussions after a divorce include:
- Better relationships with your children. Your children are going through a challenging time. If you make that easier on them by creating a respectful relationship with your former spouse, you inherently create a more connected relationship with your kids.
- Less stressful divorce. In the best situation, divorce is stressful. If you can create a positive dialogue between you and your ex, you will make one step of the process easier. You can also pass that positivity onto your children.
- More options. If you and your ex can work together, it is more likely you can get what you want. That might mean being open to giving your ex what they want, but that willingness could mean more options for you both.
Find a Positive Start to Your Divorce
If you are considering a divorce, your Metro East family law attorney can help you develop a positive dialogue with your partner. Experienced attorneys like those at the Stange Law Firm in Metro East have handled many previous divorce and child custody cases, and they can provide insight and advice that you may not expect. Do not be afraid to reach out to an experienced family law attorney if you are having trouble maintaining a mutually respectful relationship with your co-parent. They can provide you with legal advice and counsel specific to your circumstances to help you understand the value of being respectful and cooperative with your co-parent.