Co-parenting is not easy. In fact, it can be downright frustrating when you have to learn how to share your child with your ex. But there are ways to make the process a little less painful and more fulfilling in the long run. Here’s what you need to know about co-parenting with an ex!
What is co-parenting and why is it important
Co-parenting is the ability to work together as parents after a divorce, and it is important because you and your child’s other parent will be able to share child rearing responsibilities. It can allow you to create a level of trust that may not exist if only one parent were taking care of things. This trust also allows each parent some freedom, which may ultimately lead to increased happiness for everyone involved.
How do I co-parent with an ex who has another partner?
If your child’s other parent begins dating someone else, there are still steps you can take to ensure that your child is cared for appropriately, even if it is difficult for you emotionally or physically. Establishing boundaries can help prevent conflicts down the road, and make sharing child rearing responsibilities easier.
What are the child custody laws in my state?
One of the first things you can do is to familiarize yourself with your child custody rights by getting professional advice from child custody attorneys. Child custody laws often vary by state, so it’s important to know about how child custody will be determined in your jurisdiction before entering into negotiations with your child’s other parent.
Who takes care of what?
Once you have established some ground rules for co-parenting , you should consider who is responsible for what type of child rearing tasks. For example, one person may be more comfortable changing diapers while another may want to take on preparing or giving baths. It can be helpful to make a list of housework and child rearing responsibilities in order to avoid conflict when it comes time for division of labor.
Make sure your communication remains intact
Communication is key, especially if each parent will be sharing the role of primary caregiver at different times or on overlapping schedules. Communication can help establish trust and prevent misunderstandings and conflicts down the road. This is why it’s important to make sure that you and your ex remain in contact, and that both of you are on the same page when it comes to your parenting roles and duties.
How to create boundaries in your co-parenting relationship
Establishing household ground rules and clearly communicating them with your child’s other parent can help set expectations early on about what you want. It may seem simple, but simply talking through potential situations that could arise in your shared custody arrangement can help prevent misunderstandings before they happen. This also shows your child that you are willing to work together, and it may help them feel more comfortable with the situation.
What to do when issues arise
In the event that a conflict arises between you and your child’s other parent, or if your co-parent needs some coaching on how to care for your child, try not to accuse or blame him/her. Instead, express how you feel about a particular situation and what you would like done next time instead. Giving suggestions is also helpful in this instance, as long as they don’t sound accusatory or condescending. For example, saying something along the lines of “I know it can be difficult finding childcare at such short notice, so I was wondering if you could give me a call before you make other arrangements next time” is a much better alternative to saying “You are always letting me down because you can’t find childcare again.”
What happens if there are major issues?
If you feel that your child’s other parent is not willing to work with you on important matters, whether it pertains to child rearing or shared household space, consider speaking to an attorney about how best to proceed. You may be able to have visitation rights limited or supervised until the situation improves. If the matter becomes too difficult for you, you will need to seek professional help in order to move forward with your life and co-parenting arrangement.
Co-parenting is not necessarily easy especially when it comes to time-sharing with your child after a breakup, but it can also be very rewarding. When parents do not work together to raise their child, the child will suffer most in the long run. Remember that this is only temporary and eventually you will both be able to build healthy, independent lives for yourselves while sharing in your love for your co-parenting responsibilities.