This week I'm writing a series of blog postings on making joint custody - co-parenting - work after a divorce.
Co-parenting after a split is rarely easy, especially if you have a contentious relationship with your ex-partner. You may be concerned about your ex’s parenting abilities, stressed about child support or other financial issues, feel worn down by conflict, or think you’ll never be able to overcome all the resentments in your relationship. But co-parenting amicably with your ex can give your children the stability, security, and close relationships with both parents they need. For the sake of your kids’ well-being, it is possible for you to overcome co-parenting challenges and develop a cordial working relationship with your ex. With these tips, you can remain calm, stay consistent, and resolve conflicts to make joint custody work and enable your kids to thrive.
What is co-parenting?
Unless your family has faced serious issues such as domestic violence or substance abuse, co-parenting—having both parents play an active role in their children’s daily lives—is the best way to ensure all your kids’ needs are met and they are able to retain close relationships with both parents. Research suggests that the quality of the relationship between co-parents can also have a strong influence on the mental and emotional well-being of children, and the incidence of anxiety and depression. Of course, putting aside relationship issues, especially after an acrimonious split, to co-parent agreeably can be easier said than done.
Joint custody arrangements can be exhausting, infuriating, and fraught with stress. It can be extremely difficult to get past the painful history you may have with your ex and overcome built-up resentments. Making shared decisions, interacting with each another at drop-offs, or just speaking to a person you’d rather forget all about can seem like impossible tasks. Despite the many challenges, though, it is possible to develop an amicable working relationship with your ex for the sake of your children.
Tomorrow I'll cover the benefits to your children of making co-parenting work.