If you decide to divorce your spouse and don’t have children, it is easy to cut all ties, start a new life, and never look back. However, if you divorce and have kids with your spouse, you must understand that your ex will likely be present in your life for the foreseeable future. Even though you will no longer be in a relationship or sharing your life, you will continue to be your kids’ parents – and if you want to do what’s best for your kids, you will strive to form a successful co-parenting relationship with your former partner.
It can be extremely difficult to redefine your relationship with your ex and start over as responsible and respectful co-parents, but working on this relationship is key in helping your children stay healthy and happy during and after a divorce. Here are five tips on how you can start:
  • Have a plan for conflict resolution. You should expect conflicts (almost all parents have them), so have a plan for how you will resolve them. It might help, for example, to have a written plan in these situations or to have a mediator who can help you from a neutral position.
  • Communicate. It’s likely that your ex isn’t your favorite person to talk with, but communication is key to co-parenting. You don’t have to chat on the phone for hours, but be sure to relay important information about the kids and their schedules via email or text.
  • Be financially fair. Unfortunately, arguing about money might not end when you sign your divorce papers – it can still be a huge issue when dealing with your kids and their needs. Have a solid plan in place that outlines who pays for what.
  • Accept their parenting style. You and your ex will not have the same parenting style, and that is okay. In fact, it may even be good for your kids. Resist the urge to criticize how your ex handles parenting situations and only bring up issues in parenting styles that you believe affects the health or wellbeing of your children.
  • Accept their new lives and families. It can be very difficult when your ex decides to start dating, get remarried, or simply start a new chapter. However, jealousy and resentment will only harm your chances of being a great co-parent. Accept your ex’s new life and focus on your new life instead of the past.
Do you have a Washington State child custody issue that requires the help of a Seattle family law attorney? Call Molly Kenny today to speak with a lawyer in a private setting.
Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington