After a divorce: Find a way to co-parent effectively with your ex

Ending a marriage can be a complex process, which can be made more challenging due to the heightened emotions typically involved. When the couple divorcing has children, additional factors must be considered during the process, including establishing custody agreements.

In many cases, a joint custody arrangement will be established, allowing both parents to share in the continuing responsibilities of raising the children. While this type of agreement can provide benefits for the children involved, it can also create hurdles for the former spouses.

Consequently, it is wise for parents in such situations to take steps to ensure they are co-parenting effectively with their ex. Adhering to certain guidelines can ease tension between the parents and help the children smoothly transition into their new living arrangements.

Continue communicating with your former spouse

One of the most important steps parents should take following a divorce is to determine an effective method of communication. While many former spouses may be tempted to cut off communication altogether, such a situation is not typically possible when parents share custody of their children.

First, parents should determine the best way to communicate, whether it is in person, on the phone or in writing. Some may find communicating primarily in writing is easier, as there may be a lower chance of the conversation veering toward unproductive topics unrelated to the children.

Once the method of communication is established, parents should make efforts to keep an open line of communication regarding their children while avoiding other topics, when possible. By establishing that the continuing communication will only relate to the children, there is a greater likelihood that the parents will be able to establish a productive relationship to successfully co-parent their children.

Focus on maintaining some structure

Parents should also take steps to maintain some regularity in their children's lives, despite the transition to a joint custody arrangement. For instance, ensuring the children are able to continue participating in after-school activities, despite which parent they are staying with that night, can be helpful.

In addition, parents should always inform their children of the custody schedule in advance. With small children, parents can help explain the custody arrangement by creating a calendar, detailing when the children will stay with each parent.

If you are considering divorcing your spouse, you should take steps to protect your interests throughout the process. Consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney will ensure your rights are protected.