- Family Law
You’ll just have to deal with your children’s other parent for the next 18 years, right? Wrong. Love them or hate them, your “parenting team” is here to stay. You will be seeing and being around your co-parent for the rest of your children’s important events no matter their ages.
There are many compelling reasons to keep the relationship with your co-parent harmonious.
The first is the relationship does not end when your child quits soccer, graduates high school, or reaches the age of 19. Consider what events in your child’s life that you (and therefore your co-parent and their extended family would like to attend): college events, graduations, birthdays, weddings, the birth of grandchildren, events with grandchildren: games, birthdays, concerts, recitals, the list goes on.
Second, it is better for the children. If you are filled with dread just thinking about interacting with the other parent, think about the feelings that this creates in your child. Studies show conflict between parents is very harmful to the children.
Third, if you do end up back in court – the court considers the behavior of the parents when determining the best interests of the child. If you speak negatively about the other parent to the child or do not show you can foster the relationship between your child and the other parent, this hurts you in Court.
Creating a harmonious relationship with your co-parent, and everyone who comes with them: the child’s other grandparents, their new partner, their extended family, is not easy. It takes consistent patience and a willingness to politely communicate.
Helpful Co-Parenting Resources
There are many books about co-parenting and creating better communication. Also support groups, co-parenting classes, or individual and group therapy can be very helpful in creating this new role with your co-parent. Self-care can include meditation, relaxation, getting outside, setting healthy boundaries, getting enough sleep, and asking for help.
We recommend the following books on Co-parenting/communication:
- BIFF: For CoParent Communication, Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq.
- A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the Effects of Conflict and Divorce; Protecting Your Children from Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), Joan H. McWilliams, Esq.
While harmony is the goal, issues do arise, and we recommend having your parenting plan include methods of communication in writing. The knowledgeable family law attorneys at Jorgensen, Brownell, & Pepin are happy to help at any point in navigating a co-parenting relationship if issues do arise or when just getting started.