Co-parenting can be a nightmare. Ineffective communication, residual resentment, lack of trust and differing parenting styles are just a sampling of the issues that make co-parenting post-divorce especially difficult. Although difficult, it is imperative for parents to learn to cooperate with each other post-divorce to further the best interests of their children. Below are three tips that may serve as a starting place for parents who desire to work together to co-parent more effectively.
Communicate Regularly. Lack of communication is one of the most common precursors to divorce. Thus, it is not uncommon for co-parents to have difficulty communicating post-divorce. If former spouses have trouble communicating directly, communication tools such as text messages, emails and online co-parenting tools like Our Family Wizard may facilitate effective communication between co-parents. Use of these tools also allows co-parents to keep records of communication in the event there is a later dispute between the parties.
Seek Professional Help. There are several resources available to those who are currently going through the divorce process as well as those whose divorces have been finalized. These resources include family counselors, individual therapists, and parenting coordinators. Taking advantage of such resources may help both parents work through personal and family issues that may be hampering the co-parenting relationship. As mentioned above, there are also online resources available such as Our Family Wizard and 2Houses.com that may be very helpful to co-parents by helping them keep track of communications, schedules, and appointments.
Avoid Litigation: Sometimes litigation is necessary, especially if it the only way to resolve disputed issues between the parties. However, if at all possible co-parents should avoid litigation and instead take advantage of alternatives to litigation such as mediation or settlement negotiations. If parents resort to seeking court intervention every time a dispute arises, resentment escalates, both parties become entrenched in their position and there is a risk the co-parenting may be damaged in the future. Additionally, resorting to litigation to resolve co-parenting issues may be financially damaging to both parties as child custody and child support matters are often lengthy and expensive endeavors.