Co-Parenting During and After a Divorce
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Going through a separation or divorce is never easy. And it becomes exponentially harder when you have children. Odds are, if you’re getting a Tulsa family divorce, there’s already some bad blood between you and your ex. It may seem easy enough to use your children to ‘get back’ at each other or ‘punish’ each other in some way. But while it’s easy, it’s never a good idea.
A divorce is hard on the whole family, especially the children. It can be a confusing and scary time for them, and they need your love and support now more than ever. If you plan on sharing custody (or you both simply want the best for your children), it’s important to get ahead of the game and start your co-parenting plan as soon as possible.
During the Divorce
Divorce proceedings can take a while, especially the longer you’ve been married. This is the time when discussions are liable to get heated. It’s perfectly normal to be upset with your ex, but it’s important not to let this affect your children. When going through a divorce, keep these tips in mind to help get your whole family through it.
- Tell the kids why and let them know it’s not their fault
It’s one of the most common reactions a child can have to finding out their parents are splitting up. They want to know why you’re getting divorced and whether or not they had anything to do with it. During this time, you should be honest with your children. How honest will depend on their age. It’s best to sit down as a family, where both of you can explain why you decided to divorce. Together, you can let them know that you still love and care for them and will both be there for them.
- Don’t let unrelated battles affect custody battles
It’s unfortunately not uncommon for some people to use custody as a way of getting other things they want. You want the house? Well then, I get the kids! But it’s important to remember that your children are not bargaining chips. You should never hold them or their custody agreements hostage in an attempt to settle other divorce issues.
- Plan ahead
If you already have agreed to share joint custody, you should come to an agreement on what that will look like as soon as possible. Put your differences aside, sit down, and put together a plan. Decide who the children will live with and when. If moving is involved, decide what schools they’ll be attending. Make a schedule for regular updates while the children are with the other.
Plan for the future as well. What role will any future stepparents play in the children’s lives? What happens if the child gets seriously injured? How will you handle any financial concerns?
It may be hard to think about all of this right now, but it’s crucial. Not only will this save you time and money on court fees figuring it all out, but you and your children will have a bit more peace of mind knowing what to expect once the divorce is final.
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After the Divorce
You’ve made it through the divorce, but now comes the hard part. Co-parenting after a divorce is stressful and frustrating, but there are ways to mitigate the pains of it. Having a solid plan ahead of time is key, but here are some additional tips on caring for your children under joint custody.
- Keep communication open
No one likes talking to their ex, especially right after a split when any wounds are still fresh. But when it comes to raising your kids, communication needs to be open. Make a schedule with your ex about how and when you can expect to receive any updates while your children are living with them. Make clear expectations about what sort of things you should be notified about and when. And most importantly, be sure you stick to your side of the offer as well. You wouldn’t want to miss out on important things in your kids’ lives, so don’t hold out on your ex when the children are with you.
- Clearly define rules and consequences for breaking those rules
You won’t always see eye to eye on the best way to raise your kids, but it’s important to work with your ex to know what the rules are when it comes down to the important stuff. For example, you may each have a different opinion on what time curfew for an older child should be, but you should both agree on what the proper punishment is for breaking curfew. It’s important that the two of you are a united front on these kinds of issues, providing stability and standard expectations for your kids no matter who they are living with.
- Don’t bad-mouth each other
You may not like your ex after a divorce, and that’s to be expected. But no matter how much you dislike them, they are still your child’s other parent, and you should never speak badly about them in front of your kids. What happened between the two of you was between the two of you, and your children should still have the chance for a good relationship with your ex, even if you don’t. Putting on a brave or civil face is not easy, but it’s necessary to help your children process the situation and move through it.
You only want what is best for your kid, and it’s not easy to admit that what’s best for them is spending time with your ex. But if your ex is a good parent and does right by them, you’ll need to let them have that relationship. Joint custody and co-parenting are arduous. They take a lot of hard work from both parents, but it’s the best way to ensure your children don’t suffer after a divorce.
If you’re going through a family divorce in or near Tulsa or are having issues with custody rights, give our firm a call at 918-585-8600. We can help you set up a joint custody plan that gets you what you want, and gets your child what they need.