One of the harshest realities when you and your partner decide to separate is the likelihood of finding a way to keep working as a partnership if you have children together. Regardless of whether you will split the time 50/50, or if your children will only be seeing one parent every other weekend, it is vital that you and your ex are able to co-parent.
As Family Law specialists, our expert team have a real insight into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to co-parenting with an ex. We have put together some of our top tips to help make co-parenting a little easier.
Your Children Are Your Main Priority
To begin creating a good relationship with your ex-partner, you must remember why you are doing it. Your children. They must remain the main priority and your focus as the thing that is going to get them through a separation is your love and ability to discuss rationally with your ex. You should both focus on creating an atmosphere in which your children can grow, thrive and feel emotionally secure.
Communication is Key
Communication with an ex can vary depending on your circumstances. It could be through email, text, phone, or face-to-face, choose what works for you both, as long as the rules are clearly outlined. You may want to share a calendar which includes important dates surrounding your children, such as birthday parties or school activities, this minimises the risk for conflict and confusion.
There may be a few things that you wish you didn’t have to speak with your ex about, however, with co-parenting, you should be completely honest with each other. If notable things happen when your children are with you, for example erratic behaviour, or they have been open with you about their feelings or worries, then you have to be able to tell your ex-partner, so they are aware. Co-parenting becomes more difficult when you are not in possession of all the facts.
Be Flexible Where Possible
Consistency and stability are vital in the early stages of separation to establish routine for your children. Depending on their age, there are likely to be many months or years of co-parenting ahead. However, being accommodating and flexible are required with co-parenting and can have a positive impact on your children. It will show them that you are willing to be supportive of their relationship with your ex-partner. For example, if there is a family wedding on your ex’s side on your weekend, consider letting your children go, even if it means that they spend less time with you that week. Maintaining good relationships on both sides of the family is healthy for your children’s development, and they may feel like they are missing out on family fun.
Although, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, so if your ex is asking you to change plans continuously, then consider whether they are trying to undermine you and the agreement that was made. If this is the case, you can refuse and suggest a reconsideration of the arrangements, if they are not working for both parties.
It is important to not be too flexible and set boundaries when you need to. The rules do not have to be exactly the same in each household, however, your child should know what the basic boundaries and expectations are with both of you. Do not feel pressured to be the ‘fun’ parent, it is not a competition between you both, and if you both have boundaries set, there is no opportunity for this to arise.
It may be helpful to set boundaries with your ex too. You both may want to agree on a timeframe for when new partners are introduced to their children.
Write It Down
Once you have agreed on arrangements such as schedules and communication, write them down so you both have a copy. This way, if your ex tries to change anything, you have documented proof on what was agreed. This sort of thing will be useful should you end up in court.
Keep Your Children Away From The Adult Conversations
It might be tempting to pass messages through your children to your ex to avoid communicating directly. However, we would not recommend this as it puts them in the middle of what needs to be an adult conversation. It is an unnecessary burden that your children do not need to go through.
Also, be mindful of the adult conversions you may have which your children can overhear, you may upset them if they hear you criticise the other parent.
Do Not Interfere On Your Ex’s Time
It can be difficult, but try as hard as you can not to interfere when your children are with your ex. You have to accept that it is your ex’s turn to spend time with your children, and that relationship will continue to develop without you. If you are concerned about negative influences, then all you can do is ensure that you are teaching them what is right vs what is wrong when you are with them.
Contact Our Family Lawyers in Glasgow
Co-parenting with an ex is possible when you set the right boundaries, are honest with one another, and have full communication about your children. However, if you require legal advice about co-parenting, our Family Law solicitors are experts within the field. Contact us today, and we can help you every step of the way.