If you have questions about whether a co-parenting custody arrangement is right for you, pat yourself on the back.
The decision to co-parent after a divorce is rarely an easy one. If your relationship with an ex-partner is contentious, it may be difficult to express confidence in his or her parenting skills. Stresses about financial issues and child support can leave you feeling worn down. You might feel that co-parenting is impossible with the current resentments you hold about the relationship.
Take a step back. Amicable co-parenting with a former spouse can be great for your children. It can provide additional security, stability, and closeness between children and parents that everyone needs. For the sake of the children’s well-being, ask yourself, “Is it possible for me to overcome current challenges to develop a working relationship with my ex?”
Consider the following tips to decide if a co-parenting custody arrangement is right for you:
- Involvement of both parents in the children’s lives can benefit their emotional and mental well-being. Psychologists and researchers say that co-parenting eases the depression and anxiety that many children experience after divorce:
- Children remain confident that both parents love them—they build stronger self-esteem.
- Children benefit by building stronger problem-solving skills. When children see their parents work together as co-parents, they may learn how to more peacefully and effectively solve personal problems.
- Children have healthy examples to model. In a co-parenting model, your children learn cooperation skills.
- Making shared decisions with an ex-spouse can help you to overcome old resentments. Researchers, religious leaders, and common sense tell us that letting go of old resentments with an ex-spouse is a healthy step forward. Co-parenting with an ex-spouse can actually help you develop a new working relationship. Although your ex-spouse is no longer an intimate partner, he or she is a parent to your children. Build a new relationship with your ex because it’s the best possible thing for your kids. You’ll probably feel more mature and responsible as a result when your children’s needs are firmly placed above your own.
- Adults in a co-parenting relationship learn to separate their feelings from behavior. It’s okay to “fake it until you make it.” If you aspire to have a successful co-parenting relationship but you’re still hurt or angry now, your feelings shouldn’t direct your behavior. Use other outlets than your children or ex-spouse to express your feelings. Don’t vent to the children. Exercise, speak privately to a trusted friend, or visit a therapist.
After the divorce is final, it’s time to keep personal issues to yourself. Never make the mistake of sharing negative thoughts and emotions about a former spouse with the children. Don’t put them in the middle. They don’t have to choose. The kids have a right to stay close with both parents.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.