This series aims to help those going through a divorce to avoid common mistakes people make in this situation. Our last post focused on working with your lawyer. In this post, we will look at three mistakes’ people make when trying to co-parent with their ex.
Mistake #1: Badmouthing your ex to your kids
Few things will get a parent’s blood boiling faster than a problem involving their child. It can be easy to allow your emotions to take over when it comes to your kids, but it is important to stay positive for their sake. Even if your ex has done something to hurt or disappoint your kids, remember that this is still a person they love and want in their life. It harms your children to hear you complain about the affair their other parent had or their reckless spending habits.
In the same vein, save any disagreements for a time when your children are not present. You should try to work out your disagreements in a respectful manner in a private conversation. You should not burden your children with the adult conversations. You could also, work with a parenting coordinator to help you work through your differences.
Mistake #2: Changing your schedule and not sticking to the co-parenting plan
Unforeseen circumstances occur, and you may occasionally show up late for pick-up or have to reschedule due to a timing conflict. Just remember that the people who suffer most when this happens are your children. If you consistently show up late or cancel, they may feel that they are not a priority in your life. Your ex may also decide to ask the court for a modification of your custody arrangement.
When it comes to other aspects of your agreement, such as bedtimes and school schedules, remember that these are in there for a reason. Children need stability, especially after a divorce. The more structure and predictability they have in their lives, the better they will likely adjust.
Mistake #3: Communicating through your child
Your child does not want to be the go-between for you and your ex. Do not rely on them to communicate information, especially changes in the co-parenting schedule or other important facts. This will only make your child uncomfortable and anxious about how the other parent will react and it is not their job to communicate the information for you.
As the adults, you have a responsibility to communicate with each other in a respectful manner. If it helps, think of it like a business communication with a colleague. You do not have to like your colleague to send a text or email in a civil manner. If communication is challenging for you and your ex, try a co-parenting app. Courts across the country are requiring them more and more due to their success rates.
In our next post, we will explore the mistakes people make regarding financial decisions during divorce.