It’s no secret that divorce can be one of the most stressful events a person goes through in life. Unfortunately when children are involved things can be doubly challenging. The co-parenting process can be tricky to master at first, but here are 5 top tips to help the transition run smoothly.
- Separate feelings from behaviour
No matter how tricky the grounds for your desired separation are, consideration for your children’s well-being should be paramount. Although it can be all too easy to want to take your anger out on your ex-partner, this is likely to only cause more friction, and create a negative atmosphere for everyone.
Separating your emotions from your behaviours can ensure you put the needs of your children first. Stepping into the role of “parent” rather than “ex-partner” when discussing co-parenting arrangements can really help make sure you are both communicating in a balanced way, where emotions are not clouding your judgement.
- Improve your communication
Effective communication is essential in co-parenting. Although you may not be together anymore, you still share the responsibility of raising your child as separate individuals. This can take some getting used to and can be challenging, however, it doesn’t always have to be hard work.
A useful method of communicating about co-parenting arrangements can be setting a business-like tone with your ex partner. This again removes emotions from the interaction, and puts the focus on the main priority at hand, which is the shared parenting of your children.
- Consider mediation
Mediation is a method used to resolve disputes under the guidance of a trained neutral third party. One of the main benefits of this is that the negotiation process can be carried out in a collaborative way, with an unbiased individual to help keep the discussion on track and diffuse any potential conflict. This can be a lot less daunting than going straight to court, and can give both of you the chance to come to an agreeable arrangement.
Mediation can be especially useful when coming to agreements regarding childcare, as it gives you both the space to discuss logistics and preferences for your future co-parenting plan in a relaxed and safe environment. It should be noted that although mediation’s aim is not to result in a legally binding agreement, you can apply to a family court for a Consent of Order to make the agreement legally binding.
If you are looking for a more structured and formal approach, Collaborative Law is another option in which you each hire your own lawyer to sit in on formal discussions to come to legal agreements. This can also be less pressurising than going to court, and can help you come to a solid legal agreement that you are both satisfied with.
- Parenting Plan
Parenting is a topic that can bring about all kinds of conflict. When two parents are living apart it can be even more complicated. A Parenting Plan is a written agreement between both parents, which includes how you both plan to raise your children now and in the future.
A Parenting Plan is normally divided into sections such as communication, education, social activities, finance and childcare. It can be as detailed or simple as you like, and can be changed easily. A Parenting Plan is not a legally binding document, meaning it can be changed if necessary, or if circumstances change.
- Keep reviewing logistics
Life rarely stands still, and although you may have agreed fixed schedules, it is likely that both your and you ex partner’s circumstances will change over time. New partners, jobs and your children moving to new schools can mean how you juggle each other’s schedules needs to be reviewed periodically.
This needn’t be a major issue, and should be discussed regularly with your ex partner. This can make the process of co-parenting easier, meaning your childcare arrangements can fit into each of your new separate lives.
Our family mediation solicitors will be happy to assist you with mediation for childcare arrangements, or any other family law issues. For a free initial consultation please telephone on 01245 228106 or email email@example.com