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8 Tips For Having The Best Possible Relationship With Your Co-Parent

Getting through 2020 is like going on a trash safari in a busted Geo Tracker and hitting every pot hole along the way, but a tough year doesn’t excuse a rough relationship with your co-parent. There are a lot of things in 2020 that are out of your control (a worldwide pandemic, for example), but your relationship with your ex isn’t one of them. Nobody’s asking you to be besties and go on friender-benders with your former flame, but an amicable relationship with your co-parent will provide some much needed stability for your children and help protect their mental and emotional well-being. It may seem counterintuitive, but putting time and effort into your relationship with your ex is actually putting time and effort into your relationship with your kids. Trust me, they will thank you for it. Here are 8 tips for having the best possible relationship with your co-parent, regardless of the disasterpiece that was your marriage. DISCLAIMER: Before following any of these tips, ensure that they fall within the provisions of your Separation Agreement or Custody Order. Questions? Give us a call!

  1. Be flexible. Like I said, 2020 is a dumpster fire and requires a LOT of flexibility. Nothing will screw up a visitation schedule like a worldwide pandemic, so don’t put your foot down when it simply doesn’t make sense. If you have a job that requires a lot of interaction with the public, your kids might need to stay with your co-parent for their own safety, even if that wasn’t your plan to begin with. Be practical. Make your child’s welfare your top priority. Warring over who has more time with the kids is a great way to ruin your relationship with your co-parent AND your own kids. 
  2. Put your beef aside. I know it’s easier said than done, but setting your emotions aside is crucial to having an amicable relationship with your ex. Remember, co-parenting is not about your past hurts, anger or resentment, no matter how justified it is (in other words, it’s not about you at all). Never vent to your child about your feelings—that’s what licensed therapists, friends, and therapy dogs are for. Even if you don’t love your ex anymore, your kids do, so acknowledge and respect that. It’s much easier to get along with your co-parent when you’re not constantly keeping score of all the ways they’ve done you wrong. 
  3. Communicate. NOPE, sending your kid over with a message during their visitation time to avoid confrontation doesn’t count. Your kid should never be asked to communicate for you! Establish conflict-free communication via texts, e-mails, or phone calls. No one is asking you to meet in-person, unless it’s absolutely necessary. If it helps, think of it as a business call (with the “business” being your child’s welfare). Frequent and consistent communication will convey to your kids that mom and dad are on the same page and can be counted on to work together for the sake of their children. 
  4. Be positive. This can be a hard one when you’re navigating the ins and outs of divorce, but being a debbie downer never helped anyone. No one wants their kid to live through a divorce, but it is possible to co-parent as a team and be honest, open, and cordial. Regardless of your history, you and your co-parent are going to have to make major decisions together regarding finances, medical needs, education and so forth, so having a positive attitude can go a long way.
  5. Be respectful. Ultimately, treat your co-parent the way you’d like to be treated. Try to understand where they’re coming from, practice empathy, and respect their time with the kids. Don’t call your child night and day and tell them how much you miss them when they’re with their mom or dad—respecting your co-parent’s time is respecting your child’s time as well. When you do want something, make a request instead of a demand, and always be willing to compromise. 
  6. Make transitions easy. There’s a lot of back and forth during a divorce, so try to make those transitions and visitations as easy as possible for everyone involved. Keep your kids in the loop when it comes to when they’re coming and going, deliver them to your co-parent on time, make sure they have everything they need in advance, and avoid “picking up” your child and have them dropped off instead (to avoid interrupting a special moment or cutting the visit short). Always follow provisions in the Separation Agreement or Custody Order regarding pickups and drop-offs. If either allows you to be flexible, then consult your co-parent about making changes, etc.
  7. Pick your battles. We get it, there’s a certain way you do things, but you’re not the only parent in the picture here. You might not always get your way when it comes to things like bedtimes or screen time, but learn to let the small things go and save your time and energy for the bigger issues at hand (and trust me, 2020 is FULL of those). 
  8. Encourage your child’s relationship with your co-parent. You never want your child to fear showing love for their other parent! If they want to make their dad a father’s day card, help them. If they ask you to share a picture of a special moment in their life with your ex, allow it. Even better, encourage them to communicate with your co-parent, particularly if they’ve been separated due to quarantine. Ask them to call, to schedule virtual visits, or to text/write them on a regular basis. Help them remember birthdays and other special events. These thoughtful gestures will go a long way when it comes to having the best possible relationship with your co-parent. 

If you’re ready to avoid Strugglesville and move your divorce forward in a positive, peaceful manner, schedule an appointment today.