Raising a child after a divorce can be challenging for both parents, but with clear lines of communication open, co-parenting can be less of a hassle.
After a divorce; and the child custody and visitation arrangements are all finalized, it can be easy to feel like a single parent. However, it is important to remember that your child does have another parent, and that their opinions and routines matter and that the two of you are still raising the child together.
Aside from being able to make decisions together, it’s also important to remember that no matter what, both parents should always be able to have access to their child, which means that phone calls should be answered and messages should be returned. This is also not just important for the parents, but it is also critical for children to know that they too always have access to both of their parents. Even though exes might not get along, it’s important to keep the best interest of the child always at the forefront of decisions.
One piece of advice that one woman who provides counseling to those pre-, during and post-divorce gives, it to keep communication with the other parent as if it were a business deal, with both people in the “business” of raising their child. By keeping it at this level, both parents can avoid entering that personal level where communication can break down based on the ex-couple’s problems with each other.
In the state of Missouri, two people submitting documents to the courts related to child custody and visitation must also create a parenting plan. In this plan both parents will come together to write down specific information related to their case, such as child custody and visitation schedules, decision making and responsibility, as well as decisions related to healthcare and education costs. While this parenting plan can help a divorce case run more smoothly in court, it can also be used as a great stepping stone to co-parenting and realizing the importance of maintaining open lines of communication.
Source: Huffington Post, “Co-Parenting: The Toughest Job in The World,” Lee Block, 4 Jan 2011