Four Ways to Be the Best Co-Parent You Can Be
Divorce changes everything. Not just for you and your ex, but for your children, too. Suddenly they’re splitting their time between two households, not seeing their parents together in the same place anymore and attempting to process a new way of life. As a parent, you might no longer get along with your ex, but you still want what’s best for your kids. Usually that means working— and working hard — on co-parenting so your kids can have stability and maintain close relationships with both of you.
In helping thousands of New Yorkers get through divorces and other family law challenges, we’ve observed how parental behavior affects children in profound ways. With that in mind, we’d like to offer these four tips to help you succeed as co-parents:
- Shield your children from negative comments — You might bear resentment toward your former spouse, but criticizing them in front of your children makes a bad situation worse. If you have a disagreement that must be addressed, keep the conversation private.
- Stick to the parenting time schedule — Custody and visitation terms are set forth in a court order, and there are other reasons why you should stick to your parenting plan whenever possible. Whether intentional or not, keeping the child away from the other parent leads to more bitterness, and if it goes on long enough the aggrieved parent could even take legal action. If circumstances warrant, you can seek a modification order from the court.
- Be flexible — While you should both do your best to stick to the parenting plan, you also need to realize that situations will arise that require some flexibility. Perhaps a family visit or travel opportunity will warrant an adjustment. Communicate about these kinds of situations openly and as far ahead of time as possible.
- Find a communication method that works — Parenting issues are complicated and sorting them out is real work. It’s easy to misunderstand each other, so clarity is key. To make sure you’re on the same page, try to find the mode of communication that suits both of you best. Phone calls tend to work well in complex situations because you can ask questions and get answers in real time. Email can be good, too, but just make sure you both know your expectations about how long it should take to get a response. Texting is something everyone does, but brief messages are easily misinterpreted. You might want to have important discussions using another communication method.
Co-parenting is a long-term effort and there will be ups and downs. But always remember that you’re doing it for your children. At Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. our lawyers can help you create custody and parenting arrangements that work for everyone. Call 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys. We serve parents throughout Long Island.