Advice for Co-Parenting After Your Long Island Divorce
Many of our clients look forward to the day they after their Long Island divorce is final and they no longer have to “deal with” their former spouse. What many do not realize is that, if you have children together, your former spouse is likely to be in your life for many years to come. If your former spouse is going to be involved with your children you are going to have to communicate with him or her regarding the children for many years, if not the rest of your life. This is known as co-parenting.
For many clients, co-parenting is a constant uphill battle. You just divorced your partner, but are still expected to be co-parents and interact with your children in a healthy, responsible and calm manner. How is this possible? To be honest, it takes a lot of patience and an understanding that you and your former spouse will not get it right every time. However, if you can remember certain tips, it may make the process easier.
Respect Your Co-Parent’s Decisions
The first and probably most obvious tip is to treat your fellow co-parent, and the decisions he or she makes on his or her own time, with respect. By no means do you have to agree on everything, but you need to be able to listen and have an adult conversation about the decisions that affect your children. It is important and helpful if you remember during your divorce that you will be working and communicating with your former spouse after the divorce. If you treat your former spouse with respect during your divorce, it will likely be much easier to continue that trend post-divorce.
In conjunction with this tip, “take the high road” is also a helpful phrase to remember. It is natural, before, during and at the end of your divorce, to have certain feelings of bitterness or even resentment toward your former spouse. It is not, however, in your children’s best interests for you to share those feelings with them, or, to let those feelings interfere with your ability to co-parent. These feelings are normal, but they do not belong in your relationship with your children.
Help Your Children Cope
For many parents, post-divorce life can be very stressful. You are trying to adjust to multiple major changes, but it’s important to remember your children are going through them as well. While your life has changed in many ways, so has your children’s lives. As such, many children may have difficulty coping with those changes. For some children, just some extra one-on-one time may do the trick; for others, some regular therapy sessions for a period of time could do wonders. Another way to help your children would be to remain physically close to the things that feel normal to them. If possible, try to remain in the same school district, or frequent the same places you did while you were married. If your children are dealing with your divorce in a healthy fashion, it will be easier to effectively co-parenting with your former spouse.
Attempting to effectively schedule your children’s lives post-divorce can be incredibly challenging for any set of parents. If there are multiple children, this can just make matters all the more difficult. If you and your fellow co-parent can remain flexible, and keep the lines of communication open, you can ensure that your children get to where they need to be with as little stress to them, and you, as possible. Sometimes this means allowing the other parent to keep your children over his or her parenting time, or, allowing the parent who does not have parenting time to drive one of your children to his or her event. Remaining flexible and open-minded can help your children continue to participate in the same extracurricular activities they did prior to your divorce.
Have Questions About Co-Parenting? Contact Us
If you have questions about co-parenting after your divorce, or are having post-divorce problems, we can help. Contact our Long Island Divorce & Family Law firm at 631-629-2545 to set up your free consultation.
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