Cooperative parenting after divorce supports a child’s healthy growth and development. However, issues sometimes arise that can threaten a relatively peaceful custody sharing situation.
Try these tactics to manage common conflicts with your child’s other parent when you have a custody plan in place.
Abide by the plan
Once the court has put an agreed-upon parenting plan in place, stick with the provisions within the plan that dictate matters such as drop-off and pick-up times, schedules, holidays and sharing information with the other parent. If either parent fails to abide by the terms of the parenting plan, the court can find him or her in contempt. If an emergency occurs and you need to make changes, be courteous and let the other parent know as soon as possible.
Take advantage of technology
Crossed wires about schedules often lead to conflict, especially in the early days of co-parenting before everyone adjusts to the new routine. Free smartphone apps offer tools like shared calendars and messaging. Use a password-protected, cloud-based drive to upload important school records and documents.
Choose your battles
Even parents who remain married have differences in raising children. Avoid the impulse to control what goes on in the other parent’s house, as long as your kids are happy, healthy, safe and well-cared-for. Save conflict for issues that really matter; for example, if kids miss school when in the other parent’s home or experience emotional or physical trauma, you can ask the court to intervene.
Just as your children develop and mature, the co-parenting arrangement must evolve in response to changes in your lifestyle. Periodically touch base with your kids and the other parent about how things are going and whether adjustments could help the situation work better for everyone. This approach could proactively limit conflicts before they arise.
If your divorce was contentious, getting along with the other parent may take practice. Start with these strategies for a smooth familial relationship even after a split.