Though divorce does occur in many marriages, it still can be challenging to navigate when it happens to you. It is normal to feel confused, lost, or frustrated while you and your ex-spouse decide what your new family structure will be.
One of the biggest hurdles that you will have to overcome is deciding what your future co-parenting relationship will be. While there are many different options for custody and child support, the struggles of co-parenting do not end in the courtroom. You will face lots of emotional and logistical challenges along the way.
No matter how you decide to structure your custody, visitation, and support, we have some general tips to make the co-parenting process more manageable and ensure that you enter the new stage of your family’s life with confidence.
- Set BoundariesAs with any relationship, it is vital that you set clear and firm boundaries with your ex-spouse surrounding your co-parenting agreements.
For example, do you feel uncomfortable with your children meeting the people your ex-spouse dates? Would you rather that your ex-spouse waits in the car when picking up and dropping off the children? Are you uncomfortable with schedule changes that occur less than 24 hours in advance?
Ask yourself what situations are okay with you and which are not, and clearly state them to your ex-spouse. They may have boundaries of their own, and by clearly stating them, you can both create a situation that works for your family.
- Hire the Right AttorneyHiring a Midwest family law attorney is essential when you are going through a divorce. This individual will help you draft the contracts that will legally bind your family to custody schedules, child support payments, and visitation rights.
When you hire your attorney, be sure to seek out someone who understands your situation and empathizes with your needs. You need to be able to talk freely with them about any situation that may arise.
When you hire the right attorney, you can bring any co-parenting issues to them to ask for advice. This can help to make the process significantly easier.
- Remember That You’re the AdultMany times, parents are tempted to talk to their children about their ex-spouses after a divorce. Snide or backhanded comments about their character, actions, or decisions often make it into conversations with or around the children. It is crucial to avoid this behavior and remain neutral.
Remember, you are an adult, and your ex-spouse is still your children’s other parent. They still have love and respect for both their parents, and it is unethical to involve your children in the turmoil of your former marriage.
What’s more, speaking ill of your ex-spouse to your children can lead to legal issues and may even affect your custody rights. So, for many reasons, keep the gossip about your ex-spouse to a close circle of friends or a professional.
- Go to TherapyMany people decide to go to therapy during a divorce. This often helps them work through their complicated emotions and heal from the emotional trauma that they have endured. But, remember, divorce is complex and can leave significant scars if you aren’t careful.
Your therapist also acts as a wonderful third party to help field any anger, sadness, or resentment you may have. This ensures that you aren’t tempted to speak ill of your ex-spouse to your children and can help to maintain a healthy family balance.
- Be FlexibleThough it is vital to have boundaries, it is also essential to be flexible when it is reasonable. If you feel comfortable bending a boundary or rule for a specific situation, feel free to do so. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices to make things easier on ourselves.
However, if you are constantly being flexible to your ex-spouse’s needs, it may be time to call your attorney or therapist.
- Consider Co-Parenting TogetherSometimes, divorces are amicable, and both people find mutual respect and friendship after they split. In other cases, the wounds of the divorce heal, and both parties move on. If you find that you are in a pleasant place with your ex-spouse, consider doing activities with the kids as a family. It can be beneficial for the kids to see their parents together and happy, even if they are no longer romantically involved. Activities like going to the park, seeing a movie, or getting ice cream can be great low-risk situations to test the waters.
However, this co-parenting is not for everyone, and don’t feel bad if you aren’t able to do it. You should never put yourself or your children in an uncomfortable or unhealthy situation.
- Forgive YourselfPerhaps the best thing you can do in a co-parenting situation is forgive yourself when you make a mistake. You will probably misstep on occasion, and usually, it is not the end of the world. If you feel that you have violated a legal agreement, speak with your Midwest family law attorney to see if you need to take action. All in all, remember that this situation is inherently tricky, and you are trying your best.
Contact Stange Law
Whether you are just entering a divorce or have recently gone through one, it is important to have a family law attorney on your side who can help you navigate your changing family landscape. The adjustment period is fraught with emotional and logistical issues, and having someone on your side to ensure that you are following the law is invaluable.
Here at Stange Law, we specialize in family law services. We know this industry and its laws inside and out and can provide you with the best divorce and co-parenting advice in the Midwest. Our attorneys are highly educated, highly trained, and ready to take on any situation you may be facing. With our firm on your side, you can be assured that your family is well cared for.
For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.