It may not be easy to maintain a working relationship with your ex. However, the well-being of your children depends on it. The following are commonsense tips for co-parenting with your ex.
USING THE CHILDREN AS MESSENGERS: Your communication with your ex should be directly to your ex, not through the children. When you use your children as messengers, you put them in the middle of your adult war. Parents should never involve their children in adult matters and discussions. Let your children be children and let them love you both.
REFUSING TO RESPOND: Communication is key to a successful co-parenting relationship.
If your ex-contacts you regarding a legitimate co-parenting concern, respond within a timely manner. If you want to maintain joint legal custody, you need to be an effective parent. You need to work with your ex and respond appropriately. Your failure to respond can be read as your disinterest in what happens with the children. Your unwillingness to work with your ex can be used against you, and the joint legal status can be reviewed. Use your joint legal status wisely or lose it!
REFUSING TO MAKE DECISIONS WITH YOUR EX: Part of co-parenting means assisting in important decisions. Your ex-contacts you regarding a co-parenting decision. You do respond but refuse to commit. A non-committal response is nothing more than failing to respond disguised as cooperation. Once again, if you want to maintain joint legal custody, then participate.
FAILING TO TAKE THE CHILDREN TO EXTRA-CURRICULAR EVENTS ON YOUR PARENTING TIME: If the children have routinely participated in extracurricular events, both parents should honor the children’s involvement in these events. This means that when they are with you, take them to their games and practices. Failure to allow your children to attend extra-curricular events only leads to disappointed children.
FAILING TO FOLLOW THE PARENTING TIME ORDER: Your parenting time order defines the terms of your parenting time. Follow it or suffer the consequences of the court!
BEING CONSISTENTLY LATE FOR EXCHANGE OF THE CHILDREN: Your parenting time order clearly defines what time you are to be at the exchange of the children. Prioritize your children and be at exchanges, on time!
FIGHTING AT EXCHANGES OF THE CHILDREN: What needs to be said about bad behavior at exchanges of your children? Fighting, screaming, yelling, swearing, and physical altercations have no place during exchanges. Your children are witnesses and innocent victims to your inappropriate behavior. They learn from your actions. Be adults, exchange the children, and be on your way.
In summary, if you place the needs of your children first, it’s not hard to make good decisions for the benefit of your children. If you share joint legal custody, you have equal rights in making major decisions for your children. If you want to maintain joint legal custody, put aside your frustration and anger with your ex, and participate in the decision-making process.
At Schmitt Law, PLLC, we help parents work together to create a parenting plan that is in the best interests of your children. Through mediation, collaboration, or litigation, if necessary, our knowledgeable Michigan family law attorney will be your advocate and help you through this difficult time. To schedule a consultation or learn more about our services, contact us online or call (616) 310-4975.