Separation or divorce is rarely easy, but it can be made even more complicated if you share children together. It’s vital to put children’s best interests first, even if the split was acrimonious, so how do you successfully co-parent after a breakup?
Your relationship may not have worked, but both parties can still be great parents while apart. Successful co-parenting means less stress for everyone and shows you’re putting your children’s needs first, so read on for our top tips.
Agree on a schedule
This is absolutely vital, whether it’s a formal custody agreement or an informal schedule you’ve come up with yourselves. It’s important that both parties are happy with how the childcare is split; will it be 50/50? Or will children live with one parent, with visitation rights for the other? If you’re struggling to come to an agreement, try family mediation or seek professional advice from a family lawyer.
Communication is key
Keeping an open dialogue is key, even if you’re communicating through a third party like a lawyer. Both parents need to be kept informed of any changes to the schedule, or important information like illness or school absences. There are even websites and apps where you can share calendars and info if you don’t want to be in constant direct communication with your ex partner.
Ensure rules are consistent
Routine and structure is very important for children, so ensure that rules are consistent in both parents’ households. A separation can be an anxious time for children, so they need routine and security more than ever. Try to keep schedules as similar as possible, including bedtimes, mealtimes and rules about homework and screen time.
Don’t speak negatively about your ex-partner
A break up can be very painful, but don’t burden children by speaking negatively about your ex. They might have not been a good partner, but this doesn’t mean that they’ll be a bad parent. Keep any discussions as neutral or positive as possible and make sure any questions about why you broke up are answered in a sensitive, age-appropriate way.
If you’re finding it difficult to come to a co-parenting agreement, get professional help and advice from the child law team at Richards & Lewis. We’re on hand to help you finalise custody agreements, resolve holiday or schooling disputes, or offer general help and advice with any aspect of child law. We understand how important your children are, so give us a call today or contact us online to find out how we could help.