Creating a new family dynamic through separation and divorce is challenging, especially when deciding how to share parenting duties with your ex.  The idea of co-parenting may seem impossible in the beginning, but taking the time and effort to work together with your ex can ease the transition for you and your child.  

The following guidelines can help you navigate the situation and create a good co-parenting relationship.   

  1. Put Your Child First 

Although there may be intense hurt and history between you and your co-parent, it is important to remember that your child is affected by the negative ways to act and speak to your ex.  When interactions (either in-person or by phone) are tense, take a moment to process and evaluate the best way to respond. Keeping your criticisms to yourself and not expressing them to your child is difficult, but will foster a more positive environment for you and your co-parent.  It is also crucial to avoid using your child as messengers.    

  1. Create Rules and Be Consistent 

Even though you and the other parent may have different parenting methods, creating consistent rules in both households will provide more stability and reassurance for your child.  Create these rules and guidelines about homework, curfews, and extracurricular activities with your co-parent.

  1. Make Important Decisions Together

Nothing causes more friction between parents than making important decisions unilaterally.  Early on, you should establish that you and your ex will make important decisions regarding your child together.  Some of these major decisions include the medical needs of your child and their education. 

  1. Reduce Friction

If you recognize that civil communication is impossible, at least in the beginning, consider workarounds.  For example, you may try to limit in-person communication when possible and try to stay in touch with the co-parent by phone.  Another option is to try communicating through a neutral third-party (such as your family law attorney) in the beginning stages.

Do you need help developing a co-parenting plan?  Our skilled family law attorneys can help you create and navigate a new family dynamic.