Marriages End; Co-Parenting Doesn’t
Your Children Deserve A Positive Co-Parenting Relationship
Unfortunately, not every marriage is meant to last “until death do us part.” But even if your marriage isn’t stamped “No Expiration Date,” if you were lucky enough for it to result in children, then you should come out of your marriage with some lasting relationships. Of course, your relationships with your children never end. But what you may not realize is that, even though your marriage has ended, your relationship with your children’s other parent will never end either.
Many of us already know that we’ll have to co-parent our children until they turn eighteen. But do we consider that, even after then, we’ll want to maintain a relationship with our ex that allows us both to enjoy our children’s significant milestones once they are adults?
How do we do that?
Be Respectful In Your Divorce.
Tensions are probably high as you are getting divorced. Nevertheless, try to act politely and rationally. Never lose sight of the fact that this person will be in your life for years to come. Do you want co-parenting after divorce to be awkward and hostile, a constant battle? Or do you want to have the kind of relationship with your ex where you can maturely and respectfully make decisions for your children together? Which type of co-parenting relationship would be more beneficial to your children?
Act As You Wish To Be Treated
If your spouse is having a hard time being respectful towards you, it may be difficult for you to take the high road, to act maturely and fairly. But “keep your eye on the ball,” as they say, on what is truly important. Treat your ex as though your children are always watching. Don’t call him/her names. Don’t talk negatively about him/her in front of your children. Avoid posting things that would upset him/her on social media. Keep your promises. Treat him/her the same way you would like to be treated. It may be difficult, but it is so important. Your children will learn by watching your behavior. You are their most important role model. Never forget that.
Marriage Ends, Co-Parenting Never Does
Your choice of what divorce process to use will likely affect how you treat one another. Divorce is stressful and tends to bring out the worst in people. The stress and hostility that comes from litigation can bring the devil out of even the nicest people. But by choosing a form of alternative dispute resolution for your divorce, you stand a better chance of acting civilly towards your spouse. That’s because the professionals you involve in your divorce will encourage you to do so, rather than finding ways to purposely upset your ex. Those professionals will also model respectful behavior towards one another, setting a tone that will make it easier for both you and your ex to act appropriately.
Whether you choose to collaborate, mediate, cooperate, or negotiate, choosing to divorce in a manner other than litigation will help to ensure that your co-parenting relationship will be a positive one. Because, while your marriage may end, co-parenting never does.
Joryn, attorney and Open Palm Founder, began her own firm here in Tampa after a 14-year career in law, 2 of which she served as a professor of law at Stetson University. She is a recipient of the prestigious A. Sherman Christensen Award, an honor bestowed upon those who have provided exceptional leadership to The American Inns of Court Movement. For more information on Joryn’s professional experience, take a look at her resume.