Children make divorce even more complicated. You cannot end your relationship then and there and go your separate ways. You will be tied together as co-parents for years to come.
Determining how you will share parenting responsibilities and parenting time can be challenging to negotiate. Yet, when your children’s future is at stake, negotiating is the best way forward if at all possible.
Few, if any, parents get everything right when divorcing
You will not get everything right. All you can do is try your best and make adjustments as you go along. A good start is to be aware of some classic errors:
- Wanting it all your way: Unless your spouse has no interest in staying in contact with the kids, a court will always opt to allow both parents some role in their child’s life. The rare exceptions occur when doing so would endanger the child. Many parents could save themselves a lot of time, money and stress if they realized this and looked for a compromise rather than an outright victory.
- Assuming the other person cannot care for the kids: People often adopt specific roles in a marriage. Maybe your spouse has never once cooked in all the years you were married. Yet, that does not mean they cannot. It may be you fell into a pattern of them working late and you always having food on the table. Maybe you yelled at them once when they burnt the toast and took that as a sign they should stay out of the kitchen. Even if they do not know how to boil an egg, they can learn.
- Sticking rigidly to the rules: Once you create parenting agreements, it is crucial to build in a bit of flexibility. If your spouse outright ignores the agreement, you may need to go back to court. However, it is not the end of the world if one of you cannot pick the kids up on the day they are meant to occasionally. You both have other lives aside from your parental duties, so helping each other out when needed makes life simpler for you and your children.
Co-parenting tends to become easier with time as the hurt of the divorce fades. Getting help to set about custody the right way can help this improvement come much sooner.