For some, the most difficult aspect of
divorce that they have to deal doesn't become apparent until after the papers
co-parenting. It doesn’t sound completely impossible. In fact, on the outset,
before you attempt to successfully manage it in real life, co-parenting
doesn’t even hit very high on the radar for “high stress”
that comes out in the midst of a divorce. But once co-parenting is necessary
and you realize that you now have to parent right alongside the person
you went through all that trouble to divorce…panic can sometimes
set in for newly divorced parents.
It might help to consider co-parenting as your new job. Don’t think
of it as the same old relationship that you can’t seem to escape.
Instead, consider co-parenting as a business. You just have a partner.
People have business partners all the time. In fact, people have business
all the time that they don’t even like. You can do it, too. In fact,
you have to do it. You’ll be parenting for the rest of your life.
Yes, eventually your children will turn 18, but let’s face it; kids
aren’t done with their parents at that age. There’s still
plenty of parenting left for parents of 18 year olds.
You worked really hard to help your children deal with the difficulties
in your marriage. Then you worked really hard to help your children deal
with the divorce and avoid allowing them to see any negativity when possible.
It’s the same with co-parenting. Your kids need to see you and their
other parent get along while co-parenting. For some it will work to approach
it simply as you do your part, your ex will do their part and instead
of focusing on each other, you’ll focus on the kids. But if that’s
not enough – use the business partner analogy. You are now in business
with your ex. What’s your business? Your business is to raise your
child (or children). Just like any business, you’ll need to be able
to turn around at the end of the day and see that you’ve done a
good job running the business and getting things done.
How is it possible to approach co-parenting as a business partnership?
First, picture your ex as a business partner. When you communicate –
keep it professional. Type your texts/emails as if a co-worker was going
to read it. Don’t sneak in any subtle digs or insults. Don’t
send it until it’s something that would be appropriate for the workplace.
Anytime you need to have a face-to-face discussion about the kids, make
sure it’s not in front of them. Instead set up a meeting –
or a board meeting if you need to continue the “business partnership”
line. If you talk on the phone, do it privately when there are important
issues regarding parenting to discuss. If a child accidentally (or accidentally
on purpose) overhears one side of a conversation, they’ll make up
the other side. And this method doesn’t lend itself to accuracy.
You never know what they’ll end up “hearing.”
If you can do this, you’ll be sending a clear message that the adults
are running the show and all they need to do is show up and act like the
kids they are.
In some cases, every good intention to keep co-parenting civil (or even
professional) will do no good because the other spouse is constantly dragging
issues into court to hash out every little detail. It’s hard to
generate a positive change to the co-parenting situation when the other
party isn’t willing to participate on a civil level. If you need
assistance creating and/or managing a successful co-parenting plan, please
get in touch with the experienced divorce lawyers at
Arizona Family Law Attorneys.