On behalf of Cooper & Tanis, P.C. posted in child custody on Thursday, July 2, 2015.
As we wrote in our post last week, divorce is often a lengthy and emotionally trying process. As such, it is tempting to think: “I’ll be ok as soon as I sign those papers and finalize everything.” For some people, this is a reasonable expectation. But if you have kids, divorce probably won’t be the end of your relationship with your ex.
Colorado courts try to make child custody decisions that are in the best interests of children. In many cases, that means keeping both parents in a child’s life, when possible. So if you’ll be sharing custody (in any ratio) with your ex, divorce will be the end of your romantic relationship but the beginning of a new co-parenting relationship.
Hopefully, this news doesn’t come as a surprise. Even so, most divorcees are less than thrilled about the idea of maintaining communication and cooperation with their ex. In spite of this, peaceful and successful co-parenting is possible (and necessary for the long-term health and wellbeing of everyone involved).
Tips for being a good co-parent are similar to those for parenting successfully when married. For starters, your problems with and feelings about your ex should not be your children’s concern. They should not have to hear either parent badmouth the other or see them fight/argue. Toxic situations like this can lead to serious and long-lasting emotional injuries for kids who are exposed to parental conflict.
Next, try to be flexible and accommodating whenever possible. If your co-parent is 20 minutes late dropping off the kids, it’s likely not worth getting upset about. And if your co-parent asks to change the schedule for one-time special events, accommodating that request could make it easier for you to ask for something similar in the future.
Finally, please remember that even if your ex is less than mature and tries to drag you into conflict, you have a choice to take the high road. If things get bad enough, you may need to discuss legal options with your attorney. But for the small slights, you will ultimately save energy and reduce stress by choosing not to engage.
Co-parenting is not easy after divorce, even if you and your ex are on fairly good terms. But for the sake of your children’s happiness and your own, striving for successful co-parenting is worth the effort.