Understandably, divorce can be very stressful for spouses, especially due to the fact that divorce impacts child custody and financial assets – two very important issues in a person’s life. For many unhappy couples, they delay filing for divorce because they are afraid how it would affect their children’s happiness and their relationship with their children.
In our experience, parents are often afraid to file for divorce because they’ve observed how it’s affected other families. They’ve heard horror stories of child custody battles and parental alienation, and they don’t want those tragic outcomes to happen to them. We have good news: Your divorce does not have to have a bad ending. It is possible to have a good divorce where your relationship with your children is not compromised, but instead it’s strengthened.
In order to preserve your family and shield it from the effects of divorce, it’s important that you and your spouse work together to build a strong and healthy co-parenting relationship. We know that teaming up with your spouse can be difficult to imagine, especially if you’re going through a painful divorce, but if you can manage to be on the same page, your children will benefit in more ways than one.
Co-Parenting During & After Divorce
Right about now, you and your spouse may not be exactly friends and we understand that. However, if you can get your spouse to agree to build a strong co-parenting relationship, it can ease the divorce process and greatly minimize the effect the divorce has on your children.
Here are some tips to help you build a successful co-parenting relationship:
- First, you need to forgive your spouse for their role in the breakdown of the marriage.
- Do not badmouth your spouse to your children; this harms the kids more than it harms your spouse.
- Don’t rant about your divorce on social media – it won’t help you or your spouse heal and move on.
- Explain to your children that the divorce is NOT their fault and that you love them very much.
- When you create a Parenting Plan for child custody, keep your children’s best interests in mind at all times.
- Consider living close to your ex; for example, in the same school zone. This will cut down on travel time and make sharing custody much easier.
- Consider a shared or equal custody arrangement where you both have the children almost equally.
- Be flexible with your spouse when reasonable. For example, if your ex wants to take your children to Disney Land one day and it’s not “their day,” go ahead and let them. It doesn’t hurt to be flexible here and there.
- Realize that your work schedules may require you to be flexible with each other. If your ex needs you to watch the kids so he or she can work and you have the time, see this as an extra opportunity to spend more time with your children.
- When you create a Parenting Plan, try to keep your children’s lives as stable as possible. Often, this means keeping their routines consistent (where possible) so their lives won’t be completely interrupted, which can lead to resentment.
- If your ex remarries down the road, treat the new spouse with respect and try to get along for the sake of the children. If you remarry, expect your ex to do the same for you.
Nowadays, the California courts strongly encourage shared parenting arrangements where the children get lots of time with both parents. In the absence of domestic violence or substance abuse, children from divorce definitely do better when their parents get along after the divorce. With the right amount of focus on having a positive co-parenting relationship with your ex, you can minimize the effects of your divorce on your children.
If you are seeking a divorce attorney in Encino or San Fernando, reach out to Cutter & Lax today. Let a board certified family law specialist handle your divorce!