How can I co-parent with my ex?

| Nov 25, 2019 | Divorce |

This is a common question that many Ohio couples have after getting a divorce. Perhaps you and your spouse negotiated a shared custody agreement, but how can you put it into action?

Continuing to parent together after divorce might be a challenge at first, but as long as both parents commit to putting their child first and consider the long-term future of their family, then they often can make it work. Here are three helpful tips you can use to make your co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse more effective.

1. Communicate regularly

Communication is often the most important element of shared parenting, but it can also be the most challenging after a divorce. Maintaining an open line of communication with your ex-spouse is essential, so you can stay on the same page and provide your child with the holistic care they need.

Parents should ensure they communicate with each other regarding:

  • Updates or changes in their child’s life, such as important events;
  • Updates about the parenting schedule, such as a planned vacation; and
  • Any other important information or concerns relating to parenting or their children.

It is important that parents communicate directly with each other, whether face-to-face or through text. Communicating through your children can place too much stress on the kids, as well as lead to misunderstandings and conflicts between parents.

2. Do not try to compete

For shared parenting in a joint custody arrangement to work effectively, parents must be able to collaborate – not compete.

Competition between you and your co-parent can not only increase your own stress, but your child’s as well. It might be emotionally challenging, especially right after a divorce, but it is important to be empathetic to your ex-spouse. After all, they are still your child’s parent. Respect the relationships your child has with you and your ex-spouse, instead of trying to compete to be “the favorite.”

3. Establish certain rules that stay the same at both homes

Your parenting style might be different from your ex-spouse’s, and that is okay. However, certain rules should remain the same in both parent’s households. These rules should relate to significant matters in the child’s life, such as:

  • Bedtimes
  • Screen time
  • Chores and responsibilities

This is critical for your child. Maintaining similar rules on important matters creates a routine and sense of consistency in your child’s life, even after the significant changes divorce may bring to your family.