Tips for a Successful Co-Parenting Relationship
The case of the Florida mother who went into hiding with her four-year-old son rather than allow him to be circumcised ended in May when, after being arrested and jailed, she signed a consent form authorizing the procedure. As part of his ruling the judge advised the parents to talk out their differences in the future, rather than taking the law into their own hands.
If you have children, just because the marriage ends in divorce doesn’t mean your relationship with your ex-spouse is completely over – you still need to raise the children. Though it may be difficult, you and your ex-spouse can successfully co-parent your children after the child custody case is over.
Communication is key. Even if you and your ex-spouse had remained married, it’s unlikely that you would have agreed on every aspect of raising your children. Whether it was a decision over holding a child back in school, the amount of television or screen time that will be allowed, or even if he’s ready to get his driver’s license, parenting involves communication and compromise. Parents who disagree don’t run to court and expect the judge to decide. They talk – yes, even fight – the issue through until they come to a resolution.
So when you and your ex find yourselves at an impasse, recognize that in the majority of cases, your ex’s opinion isn’t personal. Instead, it’s coming from the same place as yours – a desire to do what’s best for your child. Schedule a time to discuss the issue – possibly even in a public place, which could help keep things from getting heated. Calmly and rationally lay out the reasons behind your opinion, and be ready to listen to your ex’s. Find the common ground and build from there.
Keep disagreements private. Consistency is key in child-rearing, and that shouldn’t fall by the wayside simply because you and your ex are no longer together. Just as you would if you lived in the same house, in front of the child maintain a united front with your spouse. It is okay to let the child know that you and your ex are discussing the issue, if the child is old enough to understand there is tension. But don’t bad mouth the other parent in the process.
Involve a neutral third-party. If discussions leave you at an impasse, seek out the aide of a neutral third-party. Perhaps this is a pastor, counselor or a mediator. An unbiased third-party can help keep the discussion focused on the relevant issues, rather than on personal issues that do nothing but fan the flames of disagreement.
Boca Raton Family Law Attorney
Heading back to court to resolve child rearing disputes should be a last resort. But if, despite your best efforts, you and your ex cannot agree, the Boca Raton child custody attorneys at Schwartz l White can help. Our family law attorneys have more than 50 years’ combined experience helping parents resolve parenting disputes and modifying parenting agreements. Contact us today at 561.391.9943, or complete our web form, to schedule a free initial consultation.