Tips for Effective Coparenting Following Divorce in CA
Transitioning from married life back to single living can be very difficult, especially if you are a divorced parent. It is necessary to not only take care of yourself and adapt to your new reality but also to ensure your children can adjust in the healthiest ways possible. Unfortunately, it is fairly common for recently divorced parents to notice significant changes in their children’s behavior. Some parents even feel lost when it comes to communicating with their children about their new reality. One of divorced parents’ greatest challenges is often reconciling their personal feelings about the other parent with their shared responsibilities.
If you have recently divorced in San Diego and have a child custody agreement with your ex-spouse, it is natural to experience many difficult emotions during the transition phase. However, it is vital to be reasonable and practical when it comes to dealing with your ex. No matter what type of personal issues lie between you and your ex, you both have a responsibility to do what is best for your children.
At Bickford, Blado & Botros, we strive to provide our clients and prospective clients in the San Diego area with tips and information that help them navigate family law matters with greater confidence. If you have recently divorced and are struggling to adjust, keep the following tips in mind to have a successful, less stressful coparenting experience.
Keep Your Issues Between the Two of You
Divorce can certainly provide you with a sense of closure, but it is not uncommon for recently divorced individuals to feel they have “unfinished business” with their former spouse. These emotional hang-ups can persist for months or even years following divorce. Personal issues between divorced spouses have the potential to boil over with every interaction, a situation that is especially perilous for divorced parents. The most important tip to keep in mind as you begin coparenting is to keep your personal issues with your ex exclusively between the two of you.
Do not allow your personal issues to affect your relationships with your children. This is incredibly destructive. Your coparent has parental rights and obligations just like you, and most children thrive with equal access to both of their parents. Attempting to subvert your children’s relationships with your ex, even if you believe your ex does not “deserve” their love and affection, will only backfire.
Follow Your Custody Agreement to the Letter
The California family court has a duty to ensure that a custody agreement between divorcing parents suits the best interests of their children. Still, many divorcing parents have quite different ideas about what the “ideal” custody arrangement should look like. It is quite possible that you did not agree with one or more aspects of the child custody determination approved by the judge who handled your divorce case. However, even if you believe your child custody agreement or child support obligations are unfair or one-sided, do not make the mistake of violating your custody order.
Violation of your child custody agreement in any way can have disastrous results. You may face contempt of court charges or even loss of your custody and visitation rights. If you believe that your child custody agreement is unbalanced in any way, an experienced San Diego family law attorney can help you file a petition for post-judgment modification. Modifications can alter the terms of your custody arrangement if you make a compelling case.
Keep Lines of Communication Open and Civil
You may dread the idea of speaking to your ex, but the reality as divorced parents is that you will need to interact with one another concerning your children. Your custody agreement will outline your responsibilities pertaining to communication. For example, if you have joint legal custody with your ex, both of you have the right to make major decisions on your children’s behalf. However, your agreement will stipulate that you both need to discuss such decisions with one another before making them.
Dealing with your ex may be difficult but do your best to put your personal feelings aside and focus on your responsibilities as a parent for these interactions. If your ex becomes argumentative or combative when you are trying to have a serious conversation about something that affects your children, take a step back from the situation. Then, do your best to remind them of your shared responsibilities as parents and try to keep the conversation focused on what is best for your children.
Never Use Your Children as “Messengers”
Your children are in an extremely difficult situation following divorce, so do not make things worse by expecting them to relay messages to your ex on your behalf. You are perfectly capable of communicating with your coparent as an adult, no matter what personal tension lies between the two of you. There is simply no good reason to have your children act as messengers between you and your ex. Putting this type of pressure on them will only strain your relationships with your children.
Similarly, avoid speaking poorly about your ex-spouse to your kids. Attempting to weaponize your children against your ex is unnecessary, petty, and cruel. If they have proven themselves as a capable parent, you must respect the fact that they are going to be part of your children’s lives. If your children ask direct questions about your ex or why your marriage broke down, do your best to explain these issues objectively without casting the other parent in a bad light. Negatively influencing your children’s relationships with your ex can backfire tremendously once they realize you attempted to use them as pawns for revenge.
Consult Your Attorney
You and your former spouse may disagree about issues pertaining to your children at some point. In this situation, dealing with your ex directly may be emotionally exhausting and stressful. Consulting with your attorney is a great option, as they can provide the objective, measured logic you may lack due to the emotional turbulence of the situation.
If you are preparing to divorce or need legal assistance navigating your post-divorce life as a single parent, contact Bickford, Blado & Botros today. Scheduling a consultation with an experienced and compassionate San Diego, CA divorce attorney can help you manage the terms of your divorce and coparent more successfully.
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