After your divorce is finalized and you can begin your new life at last, you will find that being a co-parent with your ex-spouse is its own relationship altogether. Like every relationship on the planet, co-parenting will come with its own learning curves and speed bumps. As much as possible, you should try to be grateful that you (and your ex!) still have a significant presence in your children’s lives. For those other times, here are some tips to help you navigate the world of co-parenting for the benefit of everyone involved.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate. Regardless of the feelings you have for your ex, remember that they are still your children’s parent. Your children will spend a lot of time at their home, and they deserve to experience love and support no matter where they are. Any changes in schedules or routines should be brought up directly to your ex. Don’t rely on your children to relay important messages between the two of you.
- Use a smartphone app to coordinate schedules, calendars, and obligations. Many of the best programs and applications for co-parenting cost money, but some basic ones are free. Some apps are mainly designed for messaging, like OurFamilyWizard and Coparently. Others, like Custody Connection, make coordinating schedules a high priority. WeParent and 2Houses are applications that boast many features. Finding the right app for your situation can go a long way in ensuring co-parenting with your ex is a breeze. In Bexar County, our judges like to use OurFamilyWizard ($100 fee per party per year) and AppClose (No fee, but not as many features).
- Choose your battles. This one is somewhat self-explanatory, but is worth emphasizing. LIngering resentment over your ex from everything that happened during your marriage and divorce may still be bubbling, and there is an appropriate time and place to litigate valid disagreements, but make sure these frustrations don’t come out and harm your children in the process. Sometimes, you must simply meditate and let things go when it comes to co-parenting.
- Watch your tone around your ex and your children. Even if your children are too young to understand the substance of what you are saying, they can always pick up the tone. Study after study has shown that negative energy between their parents causes emotional and psychological trouble for them later in life. Moderating how you communicate around your children is just as important as communicating at all with your ex.
Joint custody with your ex, no matter how you feel about it, needs to be handled and executed appropriately for the sake of your children. Branch Family Law understands that your children are your greatest assets and that you need resources and support for navigating co-parenting. For legal guidance on any family law situation you’re in, please reach out to our firm today to get started with a consultation for your case.