Filing for divorce is stressful, but when you add the challenge of raising kids with your spouse, the process can be even harder. You want to do what’s right for your children and that often means cooperating and coordinating with your spouse even as you navigate divorce proceedings.
If you’re still reeling from initiating the divorce and aren’t sure where to start, your New Jersey divorce lawyer can help you figure out the next steps and better identify ways to communicate with your spouse with regard to parenting your kids. But before you schedule that consultation, try using these tips.
1. Put Your Kids’ Interests and Needs First
Though you and your spouse may not get along, it’s important to remember that your kids’ interests and needs should come first. Ultimately, you want to do what’s right for them and, for many couples, this means co-parenting until the court determines custody arrangements. Put your kids first and keep any conversations you and your spouse have without your New Jersey divorce lawyer present about your kids and nothing else. If your spouse tries to bring up divorce terms, encourage them to only focus on the kids during that conversation. By shifting the focus to your children and not the terms of your divorce, you and your spouse may be less likely to butt heads.
2. Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Though it might be tempting to go radio silent with your spouse, try to keep the lines of communication open when it comes to your children. Make an effort to keep them updated on any health issues or concerns, mention if they’re struggling in school, or are exhibiting behavioral issues that your spouse may be able to help resolve.
3. Create Consistent Rules
It’s rare for parents to be in complete agreement over the rules kids need to follow, but when you’re going through a divorce, one parent may want to relax the rules their kids have to follow in an attempt to make them seem more like the “fun” parent or to alleviate some of the stress the kids experience during the divorce. Instead, try to be consistent. If you and your spouse agreed on rules in the past, encourage them to enforce those same rules now. And if your spouse believes new rules may be beneficial, consider enforcing them when your kids are with you. This consistency can help present a unified front and encourage your children to behave regardless of which parent they’re with.
4. Try to Be Flexible
During a divorce, your kids may express a desire to stay with your spouse or to visit them even when they’re supposed to stay with you and vice versa. Try to be flexible with these requests. Remember, your children are going through an adjustment period, too.
Co-Parenting Is Possible
Co-parenting is possible, even as you and your spouse are negotiating the terms of your divorce. Just be patient with yourself, with your spouse, and with your children if at all possible, and follow these tips as you start co-parenting. As long as you keep your kids’ best interest in mind and encourage your spouse to do the same, you and your spouse will be able to co-parent with confidence.
Keep in mind that co-parenting doesn’t have to end once the divorce is settled. If you and your spouse both want to be active and communicative co-parents once the divorce is finalized, your New Jersey divorce lawyer can help you figure out a good co-parenting plan. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.