If you are considering divorce and you have children, it means that you will still have to work with your ex in order to successfully co-parent. Sharing custody goes beyond who gets the kids for Thanksgiving. Instead, it requires constant communication and teamwork. Depending on your relationship with your ex-husband-to-be, this may seem like an impossible task.
When it comes to co-parenting, there are many sources available to help. For example, there are online programs that will help with scheduling everything from after-school activities in Utica to the occasional doctor appointment. For some tips to help you co-parent more effectively, read below.
Put aside the emotions
Successful co-parenting requires that you always make it about the kids. This means you should keep your emotions, such as anger and resentment, out of the mix. This might be the most difficult part you face, especially in the early days. Keep in mind that when it comes to coordinating with your ex, it is not the time to unleash any pent-up anger or pain. Save that for a night out with the girls or for your therapist.
Communication is key
Perhaps you and your ex had communication issues during your marriage which was a contributing factor to your divorce. For the sake of your children, you will have to overcome those issues. Open lines of communication are vital when it comes to making joint decisions for your children's education, health and even every day schedules. For example, you will have to work out an after-school schedule that includes homework, meals, recreational activities and bedtime so that your child understands there are consistent expectations in each home. When talking to your ex about these things, it might help to treat it like a business transaction.
Work as a team
As mentioned above, consistency is important when raising children. This means you will have to work together as a team when it comes to establishing rules, discipline and even scheduling. If you can master the two previous tips, the teamwork will eventually develop so that the two of you can master shared custody. However, this does not mean that the occasional disagreement will not arise. When you find yourself at odds with your ex, stay respectful, keep the dialogue going, and be open to compromise.
Keep the transitions smooth
Moving back and forth between two households can be difficult on children. To keep the transition smooth, take the time to prepare your children by talking about it in advance. In addition, do not wait until the last minute to do any necessary packing. Also, to make the transition easier, work with your ex to make sure there are certain things at each household, such as pajamas, toiletries and other items that will not only reduce packing needs but give your child a sense of "home" in each household.
While dealing with shared custody may seem like an impossible task in the early days, there are things you can do to keep your co-parenting effective. With a few changes and little effort, you and your ex can still successfully raise your children even after a divorce.