Sep 21, 2022
Custody and Working with Your Ex-Spouse
Co-parenting when going through a divorce can be difficult, but there are things that you can do to make your life and your child’s life better.
Custody arrangements can be difficult and filled with stress, especially if you do not have the best relationship with your previous spouse. You may be concerned about a number if things such as your previous spouse’s living arrangement, parenting abilities, financial issues, and/or never being able to overcome your failed relationship.
Michael Hughes, Esq., an attorney-mediator at Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation, discusses tips on co-parenting when going through a divorce to make your child’s life better.
Accordingly, making decisions together about your child and interacting with each other at transitions may seem like it is something that will be impossible to do. However, you must consider not only you child’s well-being, but your own stability and ability to properly co-parent.
The important thing to remember is to separate the previous relationship you had with your ex-spouse from the current relationship you have now as parents. I have told many people as a mediator that their marriage may be ending, but they are going to remain a family for a very long time and will be at school events, games, recitals weddings and funerals together. I explain that they need to start with being mature and treating each other civilly and then they can start to grow a “new” relationship as parents. I always stress to couples that their child or children are more important than an argument, disagreement or the reasons that their marriage ended.
Once parents understand these basic ideals, they can start working on their relationship and start to co-parent. There are some simple things that parents can do to minimize issues and help build a good relationship:
- Stay focused on the needs of the child. The more you can focus on what is important to your child, the less concerned you will be about your needs or wants.
- Never put your child in the middle. If you do have a disagreement, work to a reasonable compromise with your ex-spouse. If you are making your child select who “wins”, you are putting pressure on them.
- Going hand-in hand with not putting your child in the middle, don’t make them messengers as well. This definitely puts them in the middle and, again, can create undue pressure on the child.
- Continue to remail civil with your ex-spouse. Listen, really listen, to what they are talking about. If you do that and remain open, you will have a better opportunity to compromise.
- Show and demonstrate respect to your ex-spouse in the presence of your child at transitions, games, school events, etc.
Remembering some of these simple examples can make life for you, your ex-spouse and your child/children much better even though you are going through the difficult process of divorce.
Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation