When a relationship ends, it can feel like the end of a life. Everything changes. Habits. Expectations. Future plans. Ending a marriage or partnership that includes children can feel like this, but on a whole other level. The entirety of your life is often upended, and you are literally forced to find a way to make things work again. Being a co-parent is one way to make separation easier. But, we will admit – becoming a co-parent itself isn’t easy.
Here are four things to remember about being a co-parent.
- Grow into a unified approach – Many parents, once they separate, start to live completely separate lives from one another. Which makes total sense – you may end up living the life you always wanted, but felt held back. However, you are being a co-parent, and that means coming together on some crucial aspects of raising your children. The best way to do this is to develop a unified approach to the way you raise children. Set aside goals, expectations, and what you want from the other parent. It’s good to understand how you will raise your children. Is dad responsible for taking them to sports practice? Who’s going to make sure they do their homework on time? Who will take them on the weekend? Who will pay for extracurriculars? These are crucial to being a co-parent; and it starts with developing a unified approach.
- This is for the kids – As cliched as it sounds, yes, this is for the kids. Being a co-parent means making sacrifices for your children. Which means, sure enough, you no longer get to do everything you wanted. And while you might have thought that a divorce would let you have more freedom, you are still on the hook for your parenting responsibilities. If you’re getting into a fight with your ex about who should take care of the kids, remember that at the end of the day, it’s for your children, and not you.
- It’s still a full time job – Just because you are no longer living with the mother/father of your children, doesn’t mean that you get to go off on your own and live an independent life. You are still sharing childcare responsibilities. Being a co-parent still means being a parent full-time. Make sure you plan your schedule in advance with your ex. Looking at this as though you are still a full time parent is not just important for your kids, but important for being a full time co-parent.
- It’s not always easy – Pretty obvious. But this is something you should prepare for. For example, you aren’t going to always like, or approve of, your ex’s choice of boyfriends or girlfriends. This certainly get get a lot of co-parents hung up – after all, this person could be spending a significant amount of time with your children, and in an ideal world, you’ll always like that person. Unfortunately, you may not. And that is a reality. So prepare for it to be more difficult, and set aside ways you can communicate with your ex.
- Fulfill your child support obligations on time – This one we can actually help with. SupportPay is the #1 automated child support management and payment tool. Our latest version not only allows unlimited document storage, but also partial payments, payment tracking, and more. We are currently running an offer for first time registrants. Try it today to make sure that you are fulfilling your child support obligations.