Separating from a partner is never easy, but it’s especially complicated when children are involved. In an ideal situation, both parents are committed to helping each other continue having a relationship with the children. It’s an opportunity for each parent to build an individual relationship with the child. So after the meeting with the divorce lawyer in Westminster, start thinking about the ways that you will maintain a relationship with your child.
If you will be splitting time or moving far away, it’s crucial to start making a plan now. It doesn’t take long for young children to form primary relationships with their main caregiver. To avoid being the weekend second choice, it just takes a little effort. Here are some ideas.
Show Up at School Events and Milestones
Your child custody lawyer in Erie has helped you come to an arrangement. Now it’s time to show up, as often as possible, to the key moments in your kid’s life. Don’t wait for the holidays or birthdays to roll around, and then send a belated card. Ask your ex or your child’s school to send you a calendar of their upcoming events. Mark them on your own calendar and commit to showing up for some of them.
For instance, could you be a classroom volunteer on a field trip? Is there a piano performance you could attend? What about regional soccer games? These are great ways to continue showing up for your child while they’re living away from you. Plus, this allows you to keep up a strong relationship so that milestone events like birthdays and graduation feel like just another day, rather than a special occasion where the estranged parent shows up.
Establish a Communication Channel
If your child is young, it might be best to focus on phone calls for now. A regular weekly phone call at a pre-established time is a great way to maintain a relationship without visiting in person. Alternatively, it can be fun to send and receive snail mail. Your child could send you drawings, and you could send them items that made you think of them during the week.
Once your children get a bit older, they might get their own smartphones and email addresses. In these situations, it’s much easier to stay in touch with kids directly. You can text them on their personal numbers and check in, rather than having to go through an ex-partner. Emails are a great way to express yourself when verbal communication is challenging, or you haven’t seen them in person for a long time.
Make sure that you also keep a clear communication channel open between you and the other parent. It’s crucial that you both provide a united front when it comes to certain parenting issues. In these circumstances, back-channel communications between one parent and the child can undermine this united front.
Special One-on-One Monthly Outings
This step is especially important if you have more than one child. Your divorce lawyer in Erie will probably advise you to carve out time for individual outings with each child. Older children can feel very left out if all the focus is given to younger children. This frequently happens in families with multiple children. When parents are separating, sometimes the parent doesn’t have the time or support to get individual time with each child. However, this makes it even more important.
Find a babysitter and take your child out for dinner and dessert, just the two of us. With older children, head out to a museum or concert and listen to them talk about their life. For serious quality time, go camping or take an overnight trip to a nearby small town and soak up the time together.
It’s important that these outings are not flippantly organized and randomly scheduled. You should plan out a nice day together and then show up when promised. Children track every little promise you make to them, especially when they’re going through a challenging separation. Do a bit of research and make sure that nothing gets in the way of your trip together.
Speak Kindly About Your Ex
Your lawyer in Broomfield has probably already mentioned this, but it’s important you speak kindly about your ex in front of your children. They will be spending time with both parents, and it’s just not fair to create alliances. Don’t bring up adult issues in front of the children. If necessary, just say that you have different perspectives on an issue but you respect your ex and they’re allowed to make their own choices.
On a related note, don’t ask kids to relay messages to your ex. Don’t check in on your ex-partner by interrogating your kids. Kids might misinterpret something and then report back to the other parent. It’s okay to disagree but keep it friendly, without arguing or fighting. Show them how adults can treat each other with respect, even if they disagree.
It’s important that you create separate lives now. This is a wonderful opportunity to build individual relationships with your children. You don’t have to talk about your previous relationship with them. You don’t have to talk about how difficult it’s been, or what you can’t afford. There’s no need to hide anything from them, but it doesn’t have to be a focus.
Instead, try to talk about the present and the future. Ask them how school is going. Ask them if they’ve watched anything cool recently. Talk about your own activities and what you’re enjoying about the season. Building a good relationship takes time and consistent energy. When separating from a partner, it’s worth investing a little extra effort into those parent-child relationships until everything smoothes over.