For you, it's simple: Nothing is as important as your children. That's always been your focus, ever since they were born. Now that you and your spouse are getting divorced, you know it won't change. You want to put them first. You want to make post-divorce life as easy for them as you can.
So, what should you do? While every situation is unique, here are a few key tips that can help:
- Encourage each child's relationship with your ex. While you and your ex may not feel like spending time together or even communicating, it's still important to your child to have that connection. Never stand in the way of it and promote it when you can.
- Remember that you'll need to be flexible at times. It's easy to feel angry when your ex wants to drop the kids off early or pick them up early, but having fights about these things just puts stress on the children. Forcing them to conform to your schedule may mean they miss events they were excited about. Be flexible and make scheduling changes when it suits them.
- When exchanging custody of the kids, help them get ready to go stay with your ex. Help them pack their bags, clean their clothes, gather up their homework and more. You want that exchange to go smoothly and, as much as you wish they could stay with you 100% of the time, you want their stay at your ex's house to be enjoyable.
- Adopt similar parenting styles and rules. Consistency is important to your children's development. You do not have to agree on everything, but it's important to sit down with your ex and make decisions about how you plan to co-parent the children. The more you can operate on the same page, the better for all involved.
- Never try to use your children to snoop on your ex, and do not snoop on your children's relationship with them, either. Give them some space. Focus on your own life. Never put the kids in the middle of things.
- Don't interrogate the kids when they come back from your ex's place. If you ask them what they ate, what they did, when they went to bed and who was there, you may feel like you're protecting them. They feel like you're overbearing. It's stressful.
- Allow your children to have a voice. Ask them what they want. Listen to their desires and let them help determine things regarding the custody schedule and the like.
These tips can help, but they also show how complex this type of situation can get. Make sure you are well aware of all of your legal rights in Texas as you navigate things moving forward.