No matter how you feel about your ex-spouse, he or she is still your child's other parent. That means you both have to learn how to handle the post-divorce parenting changes -- together.
Your primary goal, naturally, is to make the post-divorce transition time smooth and easy for your child. With that in mind, follow these tips:
1. Treat parenting like a business relationship.
You may not love your ex-spouse, but you need to keep things civil and work together. Approach each situation prepared to negotiate a little -- assume in advance you are going to need to find a middle ground you can both live with whenever there's a problem. That will help minimize fighting and keep the atmosphere around your child healthy.
2. Work out the details without your child present.
Just in case negotiations get tense, talk about parenting issues when your child isn't there. If necessary, get a babysitter and meet at a coffee shop to talk.
3. Always let your child know when he or she will see the other parent next.
Things are going to change and your child's routine is going to be all new. You'll minimize your child's distress by reminding him or her that Mom or Dad will be back in just a few days.
4. Drop your child off for visits and let your ex-spouse bring your child back (and vice-versa).
This fosters the idea of a co-operative spirit between you and your ex-spouse in your child's mind. Neither of you is taking the child from the other.
5. Volunteer to babysit and accept your ex-spouse's offer to do so.
If you and your ex-spouse want to make the most of your parenting time, volunteer to step in whenever the other parent needs a "sitter." You'll get the bonus of extra time with your child, and your child won't be with a stranger.
6. Plan your time with your child.
This is important in order to really enjoy being a parent. Whether you don't have primary physical custody or just work long hours, make sure you plan specific activities with your child -- rather than letting the time drift away while your child plays video games or watches television.
As always, remember that child custody is something that has to remain flexible over the years -- as your needs and your child's needs change.
Source: the Bump, "Co-Parenting For Grown-Ups: Making The Most Of Family Time After The Divorce," Laura Putre, accessed Feb. 16, 2018