Jan 20, 2013 | Co-Parenting, Divorce


While many divorcing couples view their divorce as an opportunity to begin an exciting new life, severing all ties with their ex, realistically these expectations for complete alienation of one’s ex are almost never recommended when children are involved in the divorce. After your divorce has been finalized and you begin life as a newly single parent, keep in mind that you and your ex will always share the one thing that you both value more than anything-your children. You will remain co-parents for life, and until your children reach adulthood, you will both be legally responsible for their well-being. To successfully co-parent with the least amount of conflict possible, it is always recommended that the lines of communication remain open between you and your ex. The following describe a few reasons why communication with your ex will be in your best interest.

Get off on the right foot by informing children of the divorce together. For children, divorce can be one of the most confusing and stressful times in their lives. As the two people that have offered the most stability in their lives announce that they no longer wish to be recognized as a traditional family, children are often left feeling like the world as they know it has suddenly become an unfamiliar and frightening place. One thing you will want to avoid is encouraging children to choose sides in the divorce. The best way to avoid this is by keeping the lines of communication open from the very beginning. When you are ready to announce to the kids your decision to divorce, consider doing so together, as co-parents. This should be done to ensure that the parent-child relationship will not be harmed. In having both parents present during the discussion, children can feel comfort in knowing that Mom and Dad are willing to work together in the future for the best interest of the child. This simple action is an excellent way for parents to start things off on the right foot as they enter this new season in life as single parents.

Communicate with your ex for the best interest of your children. As a co-parent, whether you have sole or joint custody, you will find that the issues requiring both parents’ input are endless in number. These issues can include medical decisions when your children are sick; where to send them to high school; whose house to throw the children’s birthday parties at; the appropriate forms of behavior punishment and reinforcement; bedtimes; the appropriate age to begin dating; and thousands of other decisions. Additionally, children of divorced families tend to play one parent against the other in an effort to get what they want. Psychologists agree on the idea that children need a sense of consistency as they are raised, which can only be accomplished through communication and compromise between both parents. Striving to enforce the same rules at both mom’s and dad’s house will make parenting much more effective for both parents.

Communicate with your ex to avoid conflict with your new partner. It is no secret that dating as a single parent can include a unique set of conflicts. In the event that you decide to begin dating again, you will want to avoid what is commonly referred to as “baby mama drama.” Making your new partner as comfortable as possible with your relationship to the mother or father of your children is vital to the health of your new relationship. Additionally, the less you are in conflict with your ex, the less your new partner will feel dragged into the problem. This can all be avoided through a healthy level of communication with your ex regarding your children.

Finally. communicate to save money on legal fees. While attorneys are always willing to assist in resolving conflict between divorced couples, the more you and your ex can handle issues on your own, the more money you can save. When parents refuse to communicate with each other, the best interest of the child can often be compromised. In this case a guardian ad litem will be assigned to the child, ensuring that the child’s best interest and wishes are truly represented in court while resulting in extra fees for both parents. However, to avoid such unnecessary expenses, consider resolving co-parenting issues outside of an attorney’s office as much as possible. When both parents truly have the child’s best interest at heart, many issues can be resolved simply through effective communication between mom and dad.

For more information on your options regarding effective co-parenting after your divorce, feel free to contact the Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler at 815-981-4859 for a free consultation. Please note, the above does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your own jurisdiction.