Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law

Co-parenting pitfalls to avoid

One would like to presume that most parents, despite divorcing their ex, genuinely love their children and want what is best for them. That often involves sharing parenting time with your ex, and that isn't always easy. Co-parenting successfully takes a lot of work across all of the years after the ink is dry on the child custody agreement. Here are a few key pitfalls to avoid.

One pitfall is a failure to communicate. You may want, in the immediate wake of your divorce, to limit communication to throwing shade at them. That, however, is not productive when there are children who need parents who are mature enough to communicate with each other. There is, after all, a lot to talk about regarding the children, including their happiness, their health and their schooling.

Another pitfall is responding in emotionally negative ways to communications from your ex. It is important to set your emotional baggage aside when communicating with your ex so that important information about the children can be exchanged. Remember, your children's lives, health and happiness are more important than your personal issues. An approach that can help you with this is venting to a supportive friend, so you can feel like you have your issues with your ex off the table before you talk with them about the children.

A big pitfall is using the children as pawns in your battle with your ex. That should be avoided at all costs. Most children blessed with good parents love them and should never be made to feel that they have to choose one over the other or that loving both of their parents should make them feel disloyal to one of their parents. Dedicate yourself to the happiness of the children above all else.

If you feel that your parenting plan needs to be modified, your attorney can petition the court to hear your case. A new custody agreement or parenting plan may be what is needed to quell some of the angst between you and your ex.

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