Divorce disrupts the family unit, so most parents are conscious of the idea that a divorce can have a negative impact on their children. They may not realize, however, that kids have a harder time dealing with parents who are constantly in conflict with each other than they do the marital split.
Divorcing parents need to work hard to keep their relationship as civil as possible. Despite their split, they may have to co-parent for quite a while. Here are some tips that may help:
Keep the focus on the children
Your ex can be a terrible spouse and still be a good parent. When working on custody issues or negotiating anything about the parenting plan, the focus needs to be solely on the children and their well-being. It does nobody any good to bring up the issues that caused the marital breakup — and they have no place in custody discussions unless something like alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness or abuse is involved.
Keep your discussion private
Hashing out custody detail and venting your frustrations with each other in front of the children can be very damaging to the kids. Set time aside to work out your parenting plan and custody agreement without the kids around. If you can’t communicate in a civil way directly, communicate through your attorneys.
Work with a third party
Some parents opt to use a parenting coordinator or a family therapist to help them keep on track with the discussions they have to have with each other. This enables them to keep the focus on what’s best for the children instead of thinking about how they can make life more miserable for the other parent.
It’s a good idea to have a parenting plan in place from the start so that the guidelines are in place. These should be set according to what the children need now, and they can be modified down the road if necessary. Your attorney can help you to work through the matters that need to be covered in this agreement.