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One of the hardest things about going through a divorce with children is the fact that you have to continue to interact with your former spouse all of the time. It can be very hard to remain civil and appropriate with someone who inspires intense emotions and who may or may not be cooperative during custody exchanges.
No matter how poorly your ex may behave, you want to take the high road and always base your behavior on what will be best for the kids. Are you really ready to share custody with your ex, or do you need to take a few extra steps to facilitate successful co-parenting?
Can you and your ex see one another without arguing?
It is the acrimony between their parents that often makes divorce so hard for kids. If you and your spouse can’t interact with one another without becoming aggressive or angry, that can put a lot of unnecessary stress on your children during custody exchanges.
Can you communicate about parenting issues or do you withhold information from each other?
Just being able to make it through the brief process of transferring custody without arguing isn’t necessarily an indicator that the two of you share a healthy dynamic.
When parents don’t freely share information with one another about what occurred during their parenting time and what’s going on in the lives of their children, that can lead to preventable issues and miscommunication. Parents need to find a way to calmly communicate about their children with one another.
Will special processes or help make the transition to co-parenting easier?
Sometimes, putting certain rules in place early in a co-parenting relationship will make it easier for the two of you to share responsibilities later. Having a friend, family member or neighbor assist in the custody exchange can be one way to reduce conflict.
Agreeing to share pertinent information about the children either in writing to avoid emotional escalation or via an intermediary so there is a witness to what information parents share can help reduce conflict between co-parents after a divorce. Co-parenting therapy can also be a way for the two of you to find a way to work together for the good of your children.