The effort of carrying out co-parenting arrangements following a divorce can be frustrating and very trying, especially if you and your ex are on less than civil terms. A plan that provides the most benefits to your children must have consistent input and ongoing cooperation from both Mom and Dad. It may seem a difficult task, especially at first, but keep in mind that the welfare of your children is the most important consideration.
A new chapter
If you are concerned about how best to engage your ex-spouse in a co-parenting plan, try thinking about your relationship as if it is a completely new chapter in your lives, which is true enough. You can talk with your ex on the phone, have face-to-face meetings or communicate through email, but the goal is to keep the lines of communication open. Approach the relationship in a business-like way; after all, there are decisions to be made that will have both immediate and far-reaching effects on the lives of your children.
Routines and responsibilities
Schedules, routines, and who handles what appointment or event will be important. Decisions you should make include who will be responsible for certain expenses and who will take the children to dental appointments or to extracurricular events like soccer practice and music lessons. You will want to devise a plan for holidays and school vacations, work out who stays home with a sick child or who accompanies the child on a school field trip.
Managing two households
Some of the most important decisions you will make involve helping children to transition as smoothly as possible between two households. Commit to delivering the children to the home of your ex-spouse on time. Stay positive and remind the kids of the upcoming visit a couple of days in advance. Help the young ones pack, also in advance, so that favorite items are not left behind. When they return from their visit, let them have some time to readjust. Children like familiar routines, so plan their favorite meal for the homecoming, have some outdoors playtime together after they arrive, or just help them unpack and settle in. Certain rules should be set up at each house and enforced so the children know what is expected of them. This is an important topic to discuss with the other parent.
Co-parenting can work well
Cooperation and compromise between you and your former spouse will go a long way toward helping the children accept the post-divorce chapter in their lives. If you both work to reinforce your love for them, they will be able to move forward feeling confident and secure. If you have questions about this new co-parenting effort, you can seek counsel from an attorney experienced in family law.