Divorcing couples without children can go their separate ways once the divorce is finalized. However, for divorcing parents, you and your former spouse are entering a new stage in life. Now, you will have to learn how to work together as teammates until your children are ready to go out on their own. Welcome to co-parenting! Use these three tips for healthy co-parenting after your divorce.
Children can handle change much better when they have a routine and schedule. When you went through your divorce, the judge may have set a visitation schedule for you and your former spouse to share time with your child. Put that schedule on a calendar that your child has access to. This way, your child can better prepare for what is going to happen today and tomorrow. Having a calendar for your child can also help ease anxiety the child might have about when he or she can see the other parent.
Although this schedule might feel very thorough, it’s not the only schedule you and your former spouse need to pay attention to – you also need to be aware of your child’s personal schedule. Make sure that your child wakes, dresses, eats, and goes to bed at approximately the same time. It shouldn’t matter whose house your child is at, the personal schedule should still be roughly the same.
One of the keys to successful co-parenting is being respectful of your former spouse. Whether you actually respect your former spouse or not, this other person is your teammate for the task of raising your child. Embrace that he or she is going to be a part of your life, set aside any personal feelings, and move forward with the intention of making decisions that are best for your child.
In particular, it’s important for you not to say or do anything disrespectful to your former spouse or disparage them when you are in front of your child. As a parent, you lead by example. Show your child that both parents deserve complete respect, and it’s more likely your child will show respect to both of you.
Divorces are stressful for everyone. In order to practice self-care, find someone to talk to. You don’t need to go to a therapist or group (although they are immensely helpful). Instead, you can talk to a good friend. What matters most is that you’re talking with someone with whom you can be completely honest without being judged.
Save all your gripes and big emotions for when you are talking to that person. Be sure you don’t accidentally vent around your child. Sharing your thoughts and opinions about your divorce with your child puts your child in an extremely awkward and difficult position. However, if your child comes to you and wants to talk about the divorce, be completely open to conversation. You should also encourage your child to have a non-family member he or she can speak with. Therapists are extremely beneficial for children after divorce.
Other Professional Help
Although therapists are wonderfully helpful after your divorce is finalized, it’s also important to have an experienced family law attorney that you trust. This way, if any legal questions arise or if your former spouse starts disobeying your court ruling, you can take action. At McKINNON LEGAL, our experts are here to help, call us today to speak with our attorneys.