When you are in the midst of a contentious divorce, it may seem impossible to work with your former spouse to raise happy, healthy children. Whether you like it or not, you will have to work with your former spouse in your new roles as co-parents. The way that children deal with divorce has much to do with the amount of conflict they witness their parents enduring.
The following tips will help you face the challenges of co-parenting, reduce the stress, and protect your kids along the way:
- Focus on the child: Your child should be free to continue loving both parents. The fact that your spouse may have hurt you doesn't mean that they are a bad parent. The relationship your child has with both their parents affects their future relationships. By saying hurtful things about the other parent or limiting their time together, you can cause your child to become distant from that parent. Children should be left out of the conflict between you and your spouse so they can enjoy time separately with both parents.
- Take time for yourself: Divorce affects both spouses, the one leaving and the one getting left. Many people feel a mixture of sadness, anger, hurt and worry as a result. This emotional roller coaster can negatively impact both your mental and physical health, and as a result, it is important to take time to be alone and work through your thoughts. Having friends and family members for support can help you both as a person and as a parent.
- Have co-parenting meetings: When you both feel ready, consider scheduling a meeting between both parents to discuss issues about your child. These meetings will help your child deal with change and also help maintain consistency between the different houses. Meetings should be brief and focus on simple, positive things involving your child. These meetings should ideally be conducted over the phone rather than risk an eruption with an in-person meeting. Topics to be addressed include schedule changes, upcoming special activities, academics, and behavior problem. If you simply cannot interact alone with your former spouse, consider using a counselor or mediator for these occasional brief chats.
Co-parenting lasts a lifetime, and while it might not be enjoyable, you should do your children a favor and get used to it now. If you find yourself in the midst of a child custody fight, you need the help of an experienced family law attorney to help you through this complex process.
The Stevens Firm, P.A. - Family Law Center has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us at (864) 598-9172 to schedule an initial consultation.