Child custody: Effective co-parenting with your ex

Going through a separation and divorce in Pima County can be a painful experience and, if you have children, it can be even more difficult. It means that you and your soon-to-be ex will always have to stay in communication with one another. In an effort to provide children with access to both parents, Arizona courts often recommend joint child custody and this can create a great strain on your emotional and mental state.

Beliefs and co-parenting

According to Psych Central, the attitude that you have towards your ex-spouse can influence how effective your co-parenting relationship is. For example, if your ex has not been really involved with the children, or you have disagreements over how the children should be raised, that can have a big influence on how you view that person as a co-parent.

In a study conducted on mothers in co-parenting relationships, it was revealed that when mothers had personal issues with the fathers, this made the relationship more contentious. Mothers who were able to put personal feelings aside reported an improvement in the co-parenting relationship. While the study focused on mothers, the same is true when it comes to fathers and their attitudes.

Creating a new relationship

Once you accept the fact that the other parent is going to have a part in your life long after the divorce is final, the sooner you will be able to reinvent that relationship. Help Guide.org says that a good way to do this is to view the relationship as similar to a business one. Business relationships are based on non-emotional foundations. Generally there is a goal in mind and when it comes to co-parenting, the goal is to raise happy and well-adjusted children.

A good business relationship is based on respect, communication and a sense of purpose. The Family Academy recommends the following tips:

  • Contain anger - while there will be times that your ex will do something to upset you, you should never vent that anger when your children are around. Talk to a good friend about it instead or work out these feelings through physical exercise.
  • Use a collaborative approach - just as you have your own thoughts and feelings towards your children and their welfare, so does your ex. Remember that you both likely have the same goals and that the outcome is what is important.
  • Show your ex that you are listening to them - By showing that you are listening to your ex, you convey a message that you respect and understand their situation. In turn, your ex will likely be more willing to work with you.
  • Take responsibility - Establishing a working relationship requires you to accept responsibility when you make a mistake. Owning up to an error prevents the issue from being blown out of proportion.

In addition, it is important to make sure that the conversations are always focused on your children. This means that you should avoid talking about what went wrong in your marriage or intruding on your ex's personal life. This will prevent unnecessary conflict and help establish a co-parenting relationship that provides your children with the security and love they need from both of you. For help in creating a co-parenting relationship that is effective, you should discuss your concerns and questions with a qualified attorney.