After parents are no longer together, sharing custody of children can be an emotional and complicated process for the entire family. Parents have to adjust to sharing their time while children are left to get used to a life where they have two homes and a parenting schedule. While parents in this situation may encounter frustration and disagreement at times, it is possible to build a positive co-parenting relationship.
Your Parenting Plan is the Foundation
In Florida, your parenting plan will establish the manner in which you and the child’s other parent will divide your time and parental responsibilities and share in decision-making. These plans are ordinarily the product of negotiation and effort on behalf of both parents. While going through the details of the plan, you and your attorney should be considering ways to devise terms which allow you to have ongoing contact with your child and a say in matters such as their medical care and education. However, if possible, you should also consider how the plan will work with the other parent. A well-crafted plan will minimize stress on your child and foster cooperation between you. If you can work together in developing time-sharing and other aspects of your parenting plan, you will increase your chances of creating a functional parenting plan and beginning a positive co-parenting relationship.
Agree to be Mutually Respectful
It can be a real challenge to know how to act towards your former partner after you transition from being a couple. While your past relationship may have been about trying to stay together, this one is about learning to be cooperative for the sake of your children. To that end, it is important to make a firm commitment to refrain from making negative comments about one another in the presence of your children. You need to remember that your children identify as being part of both of you. Consequently, when they hear a parent say something disparaging about the other, they can perceive this to be true about themselves. Be aware of the fact that your children love you both more than anything in the world and it can only hurt them to hear these types of biting remarks. By showing one another mutual respect, you can give your kids the sense of stability and safety they need from both of you.
Exercise Flexibility When You Can
Even a well-constructed parenting plan will require flexibility. No matter how carefully you have mapped out your time-sharing schedule for instance, at some point, you will need to make a change. This could be because your child has a school event or a social commitment or because you or the other parent have to work or have another obligation. You could insist that everyone strictly adhere to the plan but this will most likely create conflict and resentment. By being flexible and reasonable about the necessary changes, you can create a less stressful environment for your child and build a cooperative relationship with the other parent.
Co-parenting can be challenging even in the most amicable situations. However, with the right plan and cooperative parents, it is possible to co-parent positively. At the Draper Law Firm, we have attorneys who are experienced with helping families create parenting plans which minimize conflict and support the parent-child relationship. We are here to help. Please, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We invite you to learn more about our firm here.