Co-parenting is a skill, and like any skill, it can always be improved upon. One of the most common areas that divorced or divorcing parties can improve is with respect to communication.
In regards to communication about children, parents should exchange all important information. For example, if someone is sick or injured; if there is a school project that needs to be done; or if a child is upset about something.
When in Doubt, It Is Better to Share Information
Sometimes there is an issue of how you are going to communicate with your spouse. It can often be difficult for people to verbally communicate with each other during the divorce process. While verbal communication is obviously the ideal scenario, being able to speak (whether in person or by phone) can sometimes not be an option. In that situation, email and/or text messages can be utilized.
You should figure out and agree upon the best method of communication in the event of an emergency concerning your children. It is also a good idea to try to agree upon a reasonable period of time for a response when communicating from one parent to the other.
When you are actually doing the communicating, remember to be respectful of each other — even if there are contentious issues still to be resolved (like custody, support, or the division of assets). When all parties are polite to each other in their communications, they set the tone for the children, which helps to minimize the children’s stress.
It is also a good idea to have a shared calendar for the children so that both parents know their extra-curricular activities, when visitation will take place when vacations are planned, birthday parties, and things of that nature.
Willingness to Compromise Is Key
Finally, think about what is really important when you engage in a dispute with the other parent. Some things are more important to one spouse than to the other. For example, one party may feel much more strongly about the children’s extra-curricular activities, whereas the other party may be more involved in the children’s religious activities and upbringing.
There has to be a willingness to compromise on the side of both parents when arranging for these activities with the children. Sometimes it is necessary to give way on the areas that are more important to the other spouse — in the hope that the other spouse will give way to you on the areas that are more important to you.
Sharing parenting responsibilities with somebody that may have hurt you may be difficult, but just keep in mind that it is for the sake of your children. Your children love both of you and whatever happened between you is not their fault — and they should not, in any way, be put in the middle of it.
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By Debra Rubin