Even for happily married spouses, being on the same page as parents can be difficult, so, unsurprisingly, co-parenting as divorced parents brings its unique set of challenges. You and your ex have committed to this approach. You believe that each parent has a role to play in your children’s lives. And you work with each other to make that a reality. While resources such as Helpguide.org have valuable tips on co-parenting for divorced parents, here some other ideas to consider:
Safety and Then Everything Else
Is your ex’s behavior endangering your children’s safety? It can be frustrating when your ex isn’t abiding by your co-parenting agreement, and that needs to be addressed, but, firstly, you must determine, “Are my children safe when they are with my ex?” If they are in immediate danger, of course, call your local emergency services. If the danger isn’t acute but still a source of concern, call a lawyer to discuss the circumstances about what steps may be necessary to ensure the safety of your children.
And, importantly, talk to a lawyer before taking any action. Because you may have every right to be concerned, but if your ex has court-ordered visitation rights, you can’t, on your own, just ignore the court order. You need a judge’s approval to do so.
Talking May Help
You’ve agreed to co-parent but somehow it isn’t working, what can you do? Discuss the issues with your ex. Focus on problem solving, and be specific why you think your ex’s behavior isn’t helpful to the children. (And don’t use this as an opportunity to re-litigate your divorce.) There could be reasons you weren’t aware of, for why your spouse is acting this way. When presented with your concerns, you both may be able to come up with a solution.
You’re co-parenting, and you’re working hard to make it work for the sake of the children, but it, from time to time, is driving you crazy. What to do? Consider bringing in an expert such as a parenting coach or therapist to help. That many mean that they actively mediate your dispute, but it could also just be a session or two between you and the expert—an opportunity to take a breath and gain a new perspective on what is going on. (“Coping with Coparenting After Divorce” by Rosalind Sedacca has some useful insights on this topic.)
If you’re struggling with co-parenting issues or any other divorce related concerns, contact DiPietro Family Law Group. We are a family law firm dedicated to help families move past conflict and into a happier, healthier future.