With the end of your marriage, you enter a new stage in your life with your ex. Now the two of you are co-parents. You have to work together even though you're not married and you may both move on with your romantic lives. You still have to share the portions of your life that include the kids.
If that sounds hard to do, it's understandable. Not everyone enjoys dealing with their ex, but it's unavoidable if you have kids. The goal is to focus on them. When you see how your actions help them, even when it's difficult, the whole thing feels easier. Here are some priorities that you should have:
- Make sure the children always feel safe and secure in both homes.
- Communicate well with your ex so that the kids' lives go smoothly.
- Be flexible when possible so that they can enjoy their lives.
- Be respectful and civil, even if you're not necessarily friends.
- Don't put the kids in the middle of the situation.
- Always be fair to your ex and to the children, no matter how you feel.
- Talk to the kids and give them a chance to speak. Listen when they do.
- Set healthy boundaries and make sure you both know where you stand.
- Above all else, focus on the kids' well-being: Physically, emotionally and mentally.
These priorities give you a great place to start and can help define your plans for the future. As you work toward that future, with your parenting plan and everything else, make sure you understand exactly what legal options you have.