The process of separation and divorce can often result in a challenging relationship between former spouses. For couples who are also parents, no matter how difficult the dynamics may be, the top priority has to be the children. Shared custody arrangements for former spouses who find it difficult to get along can bring strain to the family dynamics.
If you feel concerned about how to manage a shared parenting relationship with a difficult former spouse, there are strategies and tools to help simplify this process for all parties. Your family is unique, which means you may need an individualized strategy for shared parenting. Consider some tips and tools as you prepare to navigate this new parenting landscape.
Common challenges for co-parents
Former spouses who went through a difficult divorce often struggle to maintain civility, open communication and cooperation when transitioning into a new co-parenting dynamic. While these challenges are a real issue and can cause a great deal of strife for parents, these difficulties can’t overshadow the needs of the children.
Many courts, lawyers and child psychologists widely regard shared custody as the preferable arrangement for the betterment of children involved. This means that when it’s in the best interest of the children, shared custody will be the default arrangement in most cases. Because of its prevalence, many former couples find themselves in a new type of relationship with their former spouse.
Poor communication may have been a factor in your split, but it can’t deter your parenting post-divorce. Not only do parents need to find a way to communicate with one another, but they also need to resist the temptation to talk negatively about the co-parent or otherwise place children in an uncomfortable position. Prioritize their relationship with both parents over your feelings of frustration.
Consider a digital solution
It is easier said than done to recommend that parents find a way to work together. That said, many new tools exist for former spouses to simplify their co-parenting relationships. Apps for co-parents such as Our Family Wizard, Cozi and 2Houses provide a platform to consolidate shared parenting responsibilities into one convenient system.
These apps provide shared calendars, expense reports, shopping lists and in-app messaging systems to help parents keep track of all responsibilities and hold each other accountable. Instead of texting about pick-up duties or a child’s school events, utilize a digital resource that keeps the information handy and helps prevent outside drama from affecting the parenting goals.
Divorce and child custody can be challenging issues for parents, but they are not insurmountable tasks. Consider the resources and tools available to simplify and streamline your co-parenting duties.