Anyone who has lived through a divorce can agree that going through the divorce process is no easy task, especially if there are children involved. However, parties need to be mindful that after their divorce, they need to be able to effectively co-parent their children.
The conclusion of the divorce may end the marriage of the parties, but it does not end the necessity to work together to raise their children. There will be many important decisions to be made regarding the children such as education, medical care, religious upbringing, and other matters. And, the parties must be able to communicate to make these decisions on behalf of their children.
In order to effectively co-parent, the parties must be able to let go of the past and focus their attention on the children – to make decisions in the best interest of the children. Your frustration and anger with your former spouse should never get in the way of making appropriate decisions for the children. You may want to take this moment to develop a new relationship with your former spouse – one in which the only focus is the children (not the failed marriage).
In order to move forward after the divorce, you will need to find a way to effectively communicate. How do you achieve that with someone you divorced? When speaking to your former spouse use some common-sense rules:
- Be respectful – as one judge said to one of my clients “fake it until you can make it”. This rule certainly applies when you are communicating with your former spouse while in front of the children.
- Be cooperative and be willing to compromise.
- Never use the children to deliver messages to your former spouse. The children should never be involved with your communication, nor should they be used as the pony express.
- Support the decisions that are made at your former spouse’s house. It’s true that each party is allowed to have their own lifestyle and rules in their own home. However, perhaps you can agree to have some consistent rules for the children in both of your homes.
- Use a business tone in your communication with your former spouse. Don’t use communication about the children as a time to re-live your marriage and subsequent divorce. Post-divorce communication is about the children, and not to be used as marriage counseling or to play the blame game.
- If you can’t be nice, then say nothing. Take a break and reply later.
To conclude, if you and your former spouse are unable to effectively communicate, and unable to make joint decisions on behalf of the children, then one party may petition the court for sole legal custody. And if that party is successful, the other party will have no decision-making rights for the children. Hence, it is imperative to put your differences aside, and learn to co-parent.
AGREEMENTS BASED ON FAIRNESS
When attorneys listen to their clients and work together to create a fair settlement, contested divorces can be effectively settled through negotiations and alternative dispute methods. When possible, Schmitt Law, PLLC focuses on resolving divorce and child custody matters through mediation or collaborative divorce methods. Resolving your divorce through mediation or the collaborative divorce allows you to have complete control over the outcome of your future.
GRAND RAPIDS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEY SERVING KENT, OTTAWA, AND ALLEGAN COUNTY.
Contact Schmitt Law, PLLC today by completing our online contact form, or calling us at (616) 608-4634 to schedule a consultation.