In the days immediately following your divorce, everything can feel strange and uncomfortable. Things that you took for granted, such as seeing your child daily, can suddenly take a lot more effort and energy. If you and your ex-spouse have come to an agreement that joint custody and co-parenting is the best scenario for both you and your children, your full plate has become much fuller as you try to navigate the tricky waters of starting a co-parenting relationship.
The 3 Cs of Successful Co-Parenting in New Joint Custody Agreements
Joint custody, when done well, can offer a child the opportunity to have an equal relationship with both parents. However, it also requires both parents to have a civil and productive relationship with each other, which can be challenging.
Immediately following a divorce, it is important that you build a strong foundation on which to build your new co-parenting relationship. Below are some of the most important things to keep at the top of your priorities:
- Consideration. Being considerate of your ex-spouse is one of the most important parts of successful joint custody agreements. While your marriage may have ended, you must maintain a positive relationship with your co-parent for your child’s wellbeing as well as your own. This means that you may have to compromise and be flexible, as well as learn to be civil and kind in front of your child. Remember, your ex may no longer be your spouse, but you are working at building a new relationship as a parent to your child.
- Consistency. Dedicate yourself to upholding the agreements in your joint custody order. If you have made a commitment to attend your child’s extracurricular activities or doctor’s appointments, make sure that you follow through. Do not let your own insecurities (fearing an awkward run-in with your spouse, etc.) stop you from attending events and functions that are important to your child.
- Communication. Communication can often be the most difficult part for newly divorced couples, especially if the marriage did not end amicably. Remember, though, that treating each other with respect and dignity is important even when your child is not present. While it can seem like an impossible task, remember that the feelings of anger or resentment will eventually subside. The best way for parents to communicate is via e-mail; and all e-mails should be future focused - making a request for a future behavior - or information, such as providing information from a doctor's appointment.
While joint custody agreements can be difficult at first, with time and hard work they can result in positive relationships with both your children and your ex-spouse. For help crafting an agreeable custody order, speak with our experienced family law attorney today.