If you’re a parent who is headed toward divorce, you may be worried about how the divorce is going to affect your children and your relationship with them. These are valid concerns indeed, especially when so many parent-child relationships have been destroyed by parental alienation, which followed a stressful or contested divorce.
If you want to have a good divorce experience, one where your relationship with your children remains intact, if not stronger, it’s crucial that you and your spouse agree to set your differences aside for the sole purpose of achieving an amicable divorce.
Why do this if your spouse has cheated on you, disrespected you, or otherwise treated you poorly throughout the marriage? Because, when you have kids with someone, he or she is going to be in your life for a long time. It’s much better if you can both treat each other with respect, so everyone can get along and experience a positive outcome.
Good Co-Parenting Before & After Divorce
When you can have a good relationship with your spouse, it makes co-parenting so much easier and it’s a lot less stressful on the kids. To have the most positive co-parenting experience possible during and after divorce, follow this advice:
- Right now, decide to treat your spouse with dignity and respect and expect him or her to do the same. No mudslinging or name calling.
- Do not badmouth your spouse to your children.
- Avoid posting about your divorce on social media as this can anger your spouse.
- Do not change your Facebook status from “married” to “single” until you’re officially divorced. This would only disrespect your marriage and your spouse.
- Don’t post anything on social media that could anger your spouse and impact the divorce case, such as pics of you on dates, drinking, or partying.
- When deciding on child custody, aim for an arrangement that is in the children’s best interests and encourages both parents to be highly involved in their lives.
- Be flexible with your spouse when it comes to helping with the children when something important or last-minute comes up with them and expect him or her to do the same. Besides, it’s bonus kid time for you!
- Encourage a strong and healthy relationship with your children and their other parent (in the absence of domestic violence).
- Be active in your children’s lives! Drive them to extra-curricular activities, arrange for family recreation, help out in their class, attend their sporting events, etc. and encourage your soon-to-be-ex to do the same.
- Agree with your spouse to have the same rules regarding bedtime, chores, homework, etc. in both households.
- If possible, avoid moving too far away from your spouse. Even better, live in the same school district so drop-offs and pickups are convenient seven days a week.
What’s the number one secret to obtaining a good divorce? It’s for both spouses to treat each other with respect despite what went wrong in the marriage. If you follow that up with a flexible and encouraging approach to co-parenting where both parents are actively involved in the children’s upbringing, a successful co-parenting relationship can flourish.