Shared custody has become the standard expectation in modern divorce. Research has made it clear that children adjust better to post divorce life when they maintain relationships with both of their parents. You can expect to see a lot of your ex even after the courts finalize your divorce, because you will likely need to exchange custody several times a week.
While you may never become as close as you were before, you can navigate the complicated relationship you will have as co-parents with grace and dignity. Adjusting your approach to your relationship with your ex to reflect the realities of life after marriage can help you both be better parents. It can also help keep your kids balanced while learning to adjust to the new family situation.
Consistency is key to helping your children adjust
Chances are good that even while you were married, you and your spouse did not agree on every aspect of parenting. One of you may be more strict than the other, or you could have different goals for your children's futures. Successful co-parenting requires that you both agree to the same standards for your kids.
That often means both compromise and dedication to sticking with your standards and rules, not matter how difficult it may be. Creating a written outline for your expectations and hopes for your children is an important part of the co-parenting relationship. Your parenting plan should address everything from curfews to extracurricular activities.
That way, the children understand that the rules are the same at both houses. Consistent expectations make it easier for your kids to behave properly and will reduce the potential risk of your children playing you and your spouse against one another after the divorce.
Be a source of support for your ex by remaining flexible
Some divorced parents use their parenting plan as a weapon against their former spouse. They may threaten to involve the courts when someone misses visitation or arrives early or late for scheduled parenting time. It is often about power and control instead of mutual respect and dedication to the children.
That is not a healthy way to manage your relationship with your ex or your parental responsibilities. Instead of looking for any excuse to start a fight, try to be flexible and forgiving. You and your ex will need to work together to raise your children.
Approaching it as something you are undertaking together, as opposed to a competition between you, is a much healthier attitude. Working with your ex means that you can likely rely on them for similar support when issues arise. It will also take some of the stress off your children.