Learning to co-parent with an ex-partner can be a long and difficult journey. Removing the intimacy of a relationship and replacing it with the co-operation of a child-focused partnership can take many attempts to finally get right. When it comes to co-parents, our lawyers have seen it all: the good, the bad and the very, very ugly. We have composed a list of tips and tricks we have gathered from clients on how to be the best co-parent possible.
Don’t Discuss Divorce Proceedings In Front of the Kids
Parental conflict is the highest risk factor for a child’s poor adjustment during divorce. This is why it’s so important that parents to do not argue or bad mouth one another in front of the kids. You should never put your children in the middle by talking about the divorce proceedings such as parenting time, child support or asking them to relay information to the other parent. If the guilt this will put on your child is not enough to keep you from sharing details about the divorce, we should also note that a Judge will not look favourably upon a parent who discloses details with their children. This is especially true if the parenting is perceived as alienating the child from the other parent. If the situation is extremely high conflict it may be best to communicate only in writing or through an app such as Our Family Wizard.
Put Your Children’s Needs Before Your Emotions
Often times, we see parties do things to get back at their ex and “punish” them. These “things” often have the greatest impact on the children who end up being the real victims. For example, we have seen many cases of parents arbitrarily denying travel time with the other parent during summer vacation as a way to get back at the other party. This means children are missing out on opportunities to see new places and be exposed to new cultures purely out of spite. If you find yourself lashing out at the other party we recommend taking a moment to reflect on who will really be impacted by your choices.
Learn to Let Go
You can’t move forward and on get on with your life if you’re stuck living in the past. It’s best to accept the marriage for what it was and hold onto the good memories without dragging blame into the future. The faster you are able to accept your new circumstance and adjust to the transition, the easier it will be for your kids to do the same. This philosophy also applies to new partners and lifestyle changes. If you are able to accept your ex’s current situation with grace it will make it easier for your children to do so as well. This doesn’t mean you always have to agree with your ex’s decisions but putting on a brave face and keeping comments to yourself goes a long way.