Even though your marriage is coming to an end, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may have decided to share legal and physical custody of your kids. If you each commit to meeting the best interests of your children, you are likely to increase your chances of having a successful co-parenting relationship.
Outlining each parent’s rights and responsibilities in a comprehensive parenting plan or custody agreement may help you avoid future conflict. Still, at the outset, you should decide what kind of relationship you want with your co-parent.
It is possible to be friends with your co-parent. Even if your marriage was acrimonious, you and your ex-spouse may decide to get along for the benefit of your kids. Doing so may make holidays, birthday parties, dance recitals and other family events easier. Of course, just because you decide to be friends with your co-parent does not mean you have to socialize with him or her in the absence of your children.
Co-parents often choose to treat their relationships as business ones. If you go this route, you and your co-parent make rational and dispassionate decisions for your children. That is, you negotiate custody transfers, visitation schedules and other important matters in a businesslike way. If disagreements arise, you use a dispute resolution procedure to solve them without becoming angry.
You may not be able to stand your co-parent. Furthermore, you may not trust him or her to abide by your parenting plan or custody agreement. If you think your co-parent lacks good parenting skills, you may want to document every aspect of your co-parenting relationship. Keeping a custody journal may beneficial if you need to seek a modification of your existing custody arrangement.
While you probably cannot control how your co-parent behaves, much of the success of your relationship may depend on your attitude. If making a good faith effort does not produce the results you want, you likely have options for protecting the interests of your children.