By: Lisa Marie Vari
Divorces can be very drawn out fights and a very emotional time especially when the marriage produced children. In Pennsylvania there is a presumption of joint custody and shared responsibilities between the parents. When the court allows both parents to share in the decision making responsibilities for their children, they often use the term co-parenting to describe how these parents must work together. With a co-parenting plan you are expected to put aside any feelings you have toward your ex for the betterment of your child. Here are some pieces of advice given by divorcees that are working toward having a successful co-parenting relationship with their ex.
1. Children need both parents and they need them to get along. Consider your ex a business partner so that you can co-parent in a civil manner, teaching your children how to create healthy relationships in hardships. If you feel the need to vent about your ex do so to your friends not your children. Putting your children's feelings first will show them that they always come first and will ensure that they continue to have a healthy relationship with both their parents.
2. Come up with a set of rules that you and your ex agree with so that your children have a consistent set of rules in both homes. This will keep your children from playing both sides because they will know that what is not allowed at mom's house is also not allowed at dad's house. It also keeps you and your ex on an even playing field, keeping either of you from being able to blame the other for the way in which your children are acting.
3. Try not to be judgmental about your ex's parenting style. Your children will be a reflection of both of you so if you become judgmental about their parenting style due to the way that your child is acting they can quickly turn it around and question your parenting style. This will only lead to bitterness between the parents and will not be beneficial for the children. Just remember you are both doing the best you can, which is all that can be expected of each of you.
4. You must keep the lines of communication open between you and your ex. The way in which you and your ex speak will have a profound impact on your children. Your children look up to both of you, so the way in which you manage to overcome adversity and continue to work with your ex will determine how your children emerge from the divorce. You likely will be dealing with your ex for the rest of your life, which will be uncomfortable for all parties involved if you cannot be cordial with one another.
Although co-parenting can be hard, it is likely what is best for your children. Your Pittsburgh family law attorneys at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates have drafted many co-parenting plans that have proven to be successful. If you are facing a divorce or have a custody issue contact our office today to set up a consultation so that we may be able to help you establish a parenting plan that is best for your children.