One of the lingering effects of particularly contentious and acrimonious divorces is the inability of the exes to successfully co-parent their children together. The very problems that led to the couple splitting up continue to wreak havoc in their post-divorce relationship.
This is troublesome on all fronts. It keeps the adults trapped in negative relationship patterns where settling even the most minor difficulties becomes impossible. But worst of all, the kids suffer needlessly when their parents can't manage to civilly interact with one another.
How to Get from War to Peace
Time heals most, if not all, wounds. If the ink is still fresh on your divorce judgment — or if the dust has not yet settled on your pending case — give it time.
Remember, too, that you cannot control how your ex behaves but you can control your response to any provocations or incivility. Refuse to engage and take the high road whenever you are able.
Put the Kids First
All co-parenting decisions should be made with the children's interests foremost overall parental considerations. That means if it's your weekend with the kids but there's a golf weekend with the guys coming up, your first duty is as an involved parent.
Don't Trash Talk Your Ex
If you are still smarting from the injustices you experienced in your marriage and/or divorce, don't let those feelings of resentment and anger bleed over into your conversations and interactions with the kids. Never let them hear you disparage their other parent. Save it for your therapy appointments or vent to your best friend.
Pick Your Battles
Every disagreement does not have to escalate to a full-fledged dispute with your ex. The two of you will differ on some aspects of child-rearing. Ask yourself if your children are at risk of harm from the consequences. If your ex allows the kids to stay up to 10 or 11 p.m. when bedtime at your house is at 9 p.m. sharp, realistically, little permanent harm could arise from the later bedtimes.
However, in a situation where your ex allows young children to stay at home unsupervised or allows sketchy adults to babysit them, direct harm is a very real possibility. Learning to pick your battles wisely can make a big difference in the co-parenting relationship with your ex.
Learn the Art of Compromise
Face the fact that in a co-parenting relationship, things will not always go your way. If you and your ex can learn to compromise on your own, you can save yourselves an incredible amount of money and time by avoiding the need to return to court to modify the parenting or custody agreement.
Remember the Good Times
Even dysfunctional relationships have their moments where good times were had by the parties and their children. Whether it was an exciting family vacation or just a fun evening spent at home, looking back fondly on those shared memories may ease some of the anger and tension that remains between the adults.
Despite employing these suggestions in your relationship with your ex, you may still run into real problems. Address the problem with your Frisco family law attorney and allow them to counsel you on the appropriate legal strategies to get your co-parenting relationship back on track.