Tips to Co-Parent After a Divorce
Divorces are complicated at the best of times. When children are part of the equation, things can be even more difficult and emotionally-charged. After a divorce involving kids, it is important to keep the children’s well-being first and foremost in your mind. Below we offer a few tips to help you co-parent with your former spouse after a divorce. Speak with an Alabama child custody lawyer with any questions or for help with an Alabama family law matter.
Do not let feelings dictate behavior
Emotions can get the best of anyone, and divorces are often extremely emotional. It is easy to let your emotions control your behavior, leading to actions that you will ultimately regret. The more you can make calm, rational decisions about what to say to your former spouse and your kids, or about what to do in a given situation, the better off you and your family will be. Speak with friends, family, or a therapist about your feelings before entering a conversation or situation with your co-parent that you expect may become heated. Your children will benefit more from calm rationality than listening to their parents fight.
Keep communication open, if possible
It may be difficult to keep in touch with your former spouse after a divorce, but the more you are able to keep lines of communication about shared children open, the better. You will be better able to coordinate child-rearing decisions about education, religion, and other aspects of your child’s life, as well as the practicalities of custody and parenting time. It will also make it easier to speak with one another if you do so on a regular basis. We understand that this is not always possible given how heated divorces can be, but generally, the more regularly you can communicate about your kids, the better.
Do not badmouth your ex to your children
You may have strong feelings about your co-parent or former spouse, but it is essential to keep those feelings in check when interacting with your children. Trying to drive a wedge between your children and their other parent will only harm the children’s emotional and psychological well-being; it will serve no useful purpose. Moreover, your co-parent may use such behavior as grounds to modify the custody arrangement. Be as neutral as possible when discussing your children’s other parent with them.
Do not put your child in the middle of a fight
Your primary focus should be on the well-being of your child. Do not try to get them to take sides in an argument or in general between you and your co-parent. Do not make them feel like they have to choose a parent over the other. Do not use them as a messenger to deliver communication to your former spouse. The more amicable and normal you can keep the situation, the better off your children will be.
Do not take away parenting time as a “punishment”
If your former spouse owes you alimony or child support and they are not paying, you have legal remedies to pursue in order to force them to pay. Do not take matters into your own hands and punish your ex by denying them custody or visitation. Doing so puts you in violation of a court order and can cause you to lose your parental rights. Your alimony and child support attorney will help you seek collection through the proper channels.