When you get divorced, you often wish you could cut ties with your ex completely. But if you have kids, that’s not usually in anyone’s best interest. Ironically, most couples who get divorced struggle with communication… and communication becomes even more important after divorce. Co-parenting with your ex is often one of the most difficult parts of being divorced because you have to try to agree on things concerning your children, even if you really don’t like the other person.
It’s been speculated that if parents can agree on child support in a timely manner, they will each save as much as 80 days that would otherwise be lost to bitter fighting. Most states have systems in place to help determine child support amounts and it’s recommended that divorced couples utilize these calculations. Many parents will need a court order to determine child support payment amounts.
When it comes to co-parenting, agreeing on child support payment amounts is only piece of the puzzle. Parents should consider everything from which parent the children will live with to who will put the kids on their medical insurance plan to childcare, vacations, and even religious practices. Other things to consider include splitting holidays, moving, international travel, and how to handle new partners for the parents.
There are so many things to consider when it comes to co-parenting, but more than anything, kids need stability. Typically when parents get divorced, there are a lot of changes in kids’ lives… including who they live with and how often they see each parent. Kids tend to thrive on routines, but those tend to get lost in the shuffle of divorce.
Here are a few ways to maintain some stability and routine throughout the situation:
1. Establish a co-parenting agreement and get it into place as quickly as possible. Try to make sure that rules and discipline are consistent between both households.
2. Establish a visitation schedule that is consistent from week to week. It’s easier for kids to handle change when they know what to expect ahead of time.
3. Remember that kids will often feel a sense of responsibility for the divorce. It’s important to let them know often that the divorce was not their fault.
4. Kids require lots of love, but under circumstances of divorce, kids tend to need it so much more. Be incredibly giving of your love and affection.
5. Don’t fight in front of the kids and don’t talk bad about your ex to your kids. Your kids love both their parents and they shouldn’t be forced to side with one over the other. Do your best to keep them out of the middle.