Co-parenting is a complicated proposition that few people are prepared for or happy to encounter. This setup can work out well, though, if both parents assume a mature, responsible, and put the-children-first attitude.
What often happens, however, is that one parent (or maybe both) act childishly or vindictively. Or maybe both mean well, but one is too permissive, while the other one is too stern.
In a perfect world, both parents should get everything they want while children get the direction, love and protection they need. Since this isn’t a perfect world, what usually happens is that parents don’t get along, which only makes a difficult process even more difficult.
Doing what’s best for the children, though, should be what matters most. If you agree, then here are some suggestions that maybe you can turn into your 2018 New Year’s Co-parenting Resolutions.
10 Ways to Make Co-Parenting Easier in 2018
1. Determine to keep the lines of communication open with your Ex. Whether you enjoy such communication should be irrelevant. Pretend you’re talking to your mortgage company or the IRS. You probably don’t love talking to these people but you definitely don’t want trouble with them either.
2. Collaborate with your Ex about what rules will continue to be enforced for the child. Children need boundaries and structure. Some parents make the mistake of thinking that they will make their child happier if they take away rules the sterner parent had insisted upon while they were married. But it’s better for a child if they get consistency no matter where they go.
3. Accept the notion that it isn’t a good idea to bad-mouth your Ex. Don’t do it in front of your children and don’t tolerate it when they are disrespectful to their father/mother. Make 2018 the year when you will start enforcing this irrefutably important concept.
4. Work out an Extended Family Plan that clearly stipulates what roles family members may be asked to play while the children are in each parent’s jurisdiction. This can prevent many mishaps, including miscommunication fiascos.
5. Determine that you will have to make many compromises, not because your Ex wants to have it his/her way, but because you want to do what’s best for the child. Whenever the Ex asks for something, answer the request with the child in mind, not the Ex.
6. Decide to keep an eye on children that try to take advantage of the situation by playing “divide and conquer” or “pitting one side against the other.” The boundaries your children had while you were married should stay in place. Whatever you do, don’t let your children manipulate the situation to their benefit.
7. Decide that you will start taking advantage of the time you get with your children. To that end, don’t schedule anything that will keep you away from the kids while they’re in your custody. When possible, include the kids in activities you can’t reschedule.
8. Work on setting up a system that will keep both of you up-to-date on everything that concerns the children. If the children’s grades, for example, have started to decline, or they will be getting a new pediatrician, don’t let the Ex find this out by accident. These types of things, even if unintentionally done, lead to unnecessary friction.
9. Resolve that you will teach your children the importance of being a good sport and of speaking of others respectfully, even if you may no longer be friends. When possible, say something positive about your Ex. This simple act can teach children what being a mature, responsible person is all about. It also teaches them not to be rancorous.
10. Make 2018 the year when you decide never to “use” your child in regard to what’s gone wrong with your Ex. To that end: don’t make any decision because you want to get back at your Ex; don’t burden your child with any emotional baggage they are simply too young to deal with; don’t immediately condemn any action by the Ex until you confirm its accuracy; and don’t do anything you then have to tell your child to keep a secret from your Ex.
In the End..
There are good and bad things that come out of everything that happens. While it may be difficult to see the “good” from becoming separated or divorced, dwelling on the “bad” is a mistake too many people make. It’s up to you, though, how you will deal with your co-parenting situation.
If genuinely asking for guidance, ask yourself: “What’s my main responsibility and whose welfare in all this is most important to me?”
If the inescapable answer is “the children,” then this should be the lodestar or focus of everything you do and say as you maneuver through the murky waters of co-parenting.
For Co-Parenting Agreement Questions, Contact Salt Lake City, Utah Family Law Attorneys Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law
Give our experienced family law attorneys a call at (801) 948-2188 to schedule a free consultation at Wall & Wall Attorneys at Law. Our lawyers have over 190 years of legal experience combined with knowledge on divorce and family law to guide you through the many different challenges surrounding child custody, child support, alimony, and more. Our free case review will provide you with the opportunity to have your unique situation reviewed by one of our attorneys at our Salt Lake City, Utah law office.