Now that your divorce has concluded, you and your ex-spouse can focus on the young ones in your family. If you share custody of your kids with your former partner, having a comprehensive parenting plan is a good way to minimize conflict.
While your parenting plan may help you avoid many potential co-parenting pitfalls, it has limitations. That is, you and your ex-spouse are apt to bump heads occasionally. Here are four situations that may strain your co-parenting relationship.
At the beginning and end of parenting time, you likely must meet your former spouse to exchange the kids. If your partner regularly runs late, he or she does not show much respect for your time. Therefore, it is important always to arrive a bit early. If either you or your children’s co-parent must arrive late, prompt communication may help avoid an argument.
2. Scheduling conflicts
Even though your custody agreement and parenting plan probably detail visitation schedules, life may interfere. If there is a scheduling conflict, both parents should try to be flexible. On the other hand, if scheduling conflicts become an ongoing problem, you may need to seek a modification of your custody order.
3. Lack of cooperation
A lack of cooperation may have been one reason you chose to end your marriage. As a co-parent, though, you must try to cooperate with your ex-spouse for the good of your children. When arguments arise, it is important to find common ground. If you are unable to do so, your parenting plan may include a formal framework for resolving disputes.
4. Disparaging comments
You are not going to agree with everything your children’s co-parent does. Still, both you and your ex-spouse should refrain from making negative or disparaging comments about each other to or in front of your kids. If your former partner routinely derides you, your parent-child relationship may suffer.
While a negative comment from your children’s co-parent is likely to strain your co-parenting relationship, other situations may make co-parenting difficult. Therefore, it is important to work diligently to prevent long-term harm to the co-parenting relationship you have with your ex-spouse.