By: Amanda Vann, Esq.
Going through a divorce is not easy. After the divorce is finalized the last thing ex-spouses want to do is see or speak with each other. But, when kids are involved, you must accept that you and your ex must continue to communicate regularly. It is important to keep the lines of communication open to avoid a toxic relationship, making it difficult on your kids and your ability to co-parent. Below are 3 tips to keep in mind to ensure that you and your former spouse are working towards a cordial relationship for the sake of the kids.
Treat Your Ex With Respect
Divorced couples often find it difficult to develop and maintain a level of respect with each other after a highly contested divorce. It is important to remember that your ex-spouse is still a parent to your kids. Remember that you didn’t agree on every parenting decision even when you were together. Co-parenting can be more of a challenge now that you are divorced. Being respectful of your ex-spouse’s feelings, wants, and wishes when making decisions regarding your kids can go a long way.
I always recommend maintaining a business-like relationship as the easiest way to keep respect for one another. Don’t continue to bring up the divorce case. Instead, remain positive, especially in front of your children. You can also display respect by not speaking negatively about the other parent in front of the children. Try to remain as one parental front to your kids, despite the fact that you are now divorced. You and your ex can disagree about decisions affecting your kids, but showing mutual support in front of the kids can guarantee that they will not be pitting one parent against the other.
Keep the Communication Between Yourselves
Never use your kids as messengers for matters that should only be discussed between parents. Giving children the duty of carrying messages back and forth can create a negative mindset for them when one parent isn’t happy about what is being communicated to them. This puts your kids in an awkward position. It also demonstrates to your kids that you and your ex are not one parental unit. Pick one method of communication and stick to it – whether it be emails, text messages, or phone calls. When using the chosen system of communication, remember to keep the messages strictly about the children. Don’t go into detail about your personal life. Keep it business-like, about the children, and nothing else.
Develop an Understanding for Your Ex’s Parenting—Even if You Don’t Agree With It
Don’t undermine your ex’s style of parenting. Try to develop a way to understand it. Just because you don’t agree with it, doesn’t make it wrong. Ask them for their reasoning when they let the kids do something or why they handle situations in the matter that they do. Don’t be swayed by what your children say about how the other parent handles things. Instead, educate and inform yourself about what really is happening.
Although there will be some bumps along the way, keeping these tips in mind will help you move forward and will make the transition as easy as possible on your kids, which is always the main focus for both parents. It may be helpful to start thinking of your relationship with your ex as a completely new one—one that is entirely about the well-being of your children, and not about either of you. Your marriage may be over, but your family is not—doing what is best for your kids is your most important priority.
Divorce & Family Law Lawyers
For additional advice regarding divorce, visit our divorce and family law FAQ. Going through a divorce is never easy, but neither is holding together a marriage that is clearly falling apart. Whether the decision to pursue divorce is reached as a result of irreconcilable differences, adultery, mental illness, domestic violence, or even conflicts over how children should be raised, divorce is sometimes the only path to a better life. At the law firm of Andalman & Flynn, we always impress upon our clients the idea that divorce is as much a new beginning as it is an ending. Contact us to learn how we can assist with your divorce.
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