co-parenting

How To Lower Your Shared Parenting Anxiety After Divorce

Shared parenting is a kind of agreement after divorce, in which both parents continue a positive presence in the lives of children. It provides for the need for the child to stay with each parent more or less equally.

The joint custody agreement may vary depending on each specific situation. According to Wikipedia, the time spent by the child with each parent can be divided 50 to 50, or the child can live with one of the parents for four days, and the rest of the week with the second, and so on. That is, the main essence of this concept is to ensure quality rather than quantity. 

According to Onlinedivorce, a joint custody order cannot be entered if either spouse is guilty of abusive behaviour, domestic violence, or suffers from chemical or alcohol addiction. In other cases, shared parenting may be requested by the parents, or be awarded by the court as a preferred option due to the presumption (now, more and more US jurisdiction declare that shared parenting is in the best interest of the child.) 

Why Co-Parenting Matters So Much

Most children also prefer co-parenting to traditional but outdated measures, in which one of the parents loses the opportunity to communicate with the child and becomes only a rare guest (notorious “weekend dad” phenomenon.) With a joint upbringing, the child retains the possibility of a meaningful relationship with each of the parents. Otherwise, relationship problems both with the custodian and non-custodial parent often occur. There are two quite common situations:

– Either the child lose the close connection with the non-custodial parent (even if they meet and spend some time on holidays, but the parent is not involved in the child’s daily life, preferring just to compensate for poor parenting with splashy gestures and gifts);

– Or vice versa – due to the absence of one of the parents, the child begins to idealize him subconsciously. This inner image of the father (or mother) often becomes divorced from reality. While quarrels with the parent, who has taken on the upbringing process with all its difficult moments, are only becoming more frequent. 

Yet, despite all these obvious and proven pros of shared parenting, a lot of parents feel anxious no less than their children while adjusting to the new conditions. How to overcome this feeling? How to decide on delegating responsibility? How to maintain close relationships with your child and healthy relationships with your former spouse?

You are not alone! People who divorce amicably and with no mess, still face a lot of problems and fears concerning custody and parenting issues, and this is normal. For the spouses who have kids, calm and friendly divorce is just the first step, and then, they need to manage their new lives so as not to lose what they already have and keep the feeling of a loving family for the child.

Let’s sort out, how to deal with shared parenting and your own fears and doubts.

Author of this article is  Dina Caldwell from  www.onlinedivorce.com/

How To Get Your Child Help When Your Ex Thinks That Nothing Is Wrong

When a child is raised in two different households, it can cause some problems when it comes to childcare. One thing that sometimes happens is different opinions are formed over the behavior of the child. If one parent believes the child is showing signs of ADD or ADHD, the other may think their child is being disorganized and unfocused but not in a way that is unusual for a kid.

The only way to be sure is by visiting health care professionals so that your child can be assessed, and that can be tricky. Since doctors visits and medication still require joint consent, it can sometimes be difficult to get your ex-partner to consent.

If you are stuck in this position right now, there are some steps you can take to work with your ex and convince them that your child needs help.

Ask For A Meeting At Neutral Territory

When you are ready to talk to your ex about your concerns, it is best to meet at a neutral place. Often, meeting at either of your homes or that of grandparents homes, can leave the other person off-balance and on the defensive.

Instead, to create a conducive environment of cooperation, I would recommend you two meet together at places like a park, cafe, or reserve a meeting room at your local library. Not only are these places neutral, but they are public enough that outbursts are likely to be held to a minimum.

Have Clear Examples Of Concerning Behavior

If your ex-partner doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with your child, it is important that you bring clear examples of the concerning behavior with you to the meeting. This aspect can especially important if you are the main custodial parent and the other parent doesn’t see the child enough to notice the problem you are concerned with.

For instance, say you are concerned that your child has anger management issues. Outline recent outbursts, reports from teachers, and other examples when you discuss the issue with your ex. This tactic works with most problems, from insidious issues like teenage narcissism to eating disorders.

Maintain Focus On The Child, Not Past Issues

As you talk about the issues your child is facing, be sure to keep the conversation on the topic. It can be hard for both of you to not open up past wounds, especially if the issues your child is facing is likely caused by either the divorce or the behavior of your ex.

But, picking a fight with your ex or re-hashing old hurts will not help you gain their cooperation. You may have to be the adult in the conversation and redirect your ex back to the important matter by saying something like this, “I don’t think now is the time to talk about that. Can we please discuss Billy and his anger management issues?”

Offer Options And Ask For Their Opinions

While it can be frustrating, especially if you have done all the research and found the best option when it comes to the care of your child, do your best to offer options. As the other parent, your ex is more likely to consent to treatment if they feel like they had the ability to help in choosing a course of treatment.

For instance, say that you have researched anger management treatment and found that specific therapeutic treatment for teenage boys is the best route. While you should say that you believe that is the ideal solution, be sure to offer other acceptable ones that may help such as different types of therapy and perhaps medication.

Your ex may also have opinions on the course of treatment. Do your best to listen to them and allow them to feel heard, though you can discuss why you discounted those options during your own research.

Be Prepared To Cover Costs On Your Own

It is unpleasant to think about, but some ex-partners block treatment just because they don’t want to pay for it. With that in mind, you may need to be prepared to offer to pay for some or all the treatment to get your ex to agree.

If needed, there are tools that can help you find sliding scale healthcare, which takes your income into account when it comes to paying for services. Many therapists also offer sliding scale payments, so you shouldn’t feel like you are without resources.

It can be tough to work with an ex-spouse that is combative, but for your child’s sake, it is important that you do your best to work together so that your child can receive the care they need.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

 

Understanding Co-Parenting- Complications And What To Expect

Co-parenting may seem like a modern or new term but in practice it’s been around as long as divorce has. The dynamic and arrangement of each family is different, there’s no wrong or right way but many families throughout history have adopted an approach which we would now label as some form of co-parenting or parallel parenting.

Co-parenting is simultaneously simple yet complicated. The concept is easy to understand, two parents who for one reason or another (but usually through mutual desire to separate) have decided to parent their children separately. Whether this means the children live permanently with one parent or if it’s a more equal shared parenting setup obviously varies on an individual basis.

Co-parenting well on the other hand can be complicated as it incorporates many varying factors. I’ll try to simplify them so that if you’re new to co-parenting you can absorb the basics easily and identify the imperative points and inevitable pitfalls.

Communication

The key to every relationship, romantic or otherwise is communicating effectively. As someone whose partner is from another country and a completely different cultural background I can testify in regards to the difficulty of always communicating well and also the consequences of miscommunication.

After a divorce and all that comes with it, barriers in relation to communication may be at an all-time high between you and your ex. However if you wish to forge a successful parenting relationship for the sake of your children you need to sit down together and work out your parenting plan, whether this is with the help of a therapist or mediator depends on how co-operative your ex-spouse is. You both need to be clear on where you stand in terms of obligations and expectations to avoid potential future disagreements and conflict.

Keep in contact and keep each other updated in order to fulfil your co-parenting duties and stick to the schedule you have agreed upon to the best of your abilities. You are a parenting team now and need to be able to work together which means being able to voice your concerns or misgivings without initiating a giant argument. Easier said than done! You will come across obstacles; no two parenting styles are exactly the same. Learn to lead by example, communicate your issues politely and calmly, encourage rather than disparage and be assertive but not confrontational.

Trust

An essential component of parenting well together is learning to trust in your co-parent. Don’t continually hold them up to your standards or you’ll always be left disappointed and frustrated. That being said they need to fulfil agreed upon obligations, don’t be afraid to take the necessary action if they continually fail on their end of the agreement, it takes two people to co-parent!

Non damaging aspects of your ex partner’s parenting style are better to accept. Trust is compromise and you should learn to respect your differences. After all this is a clean break for you, you can parent the way you always wanted now, create a new dynamic. It’s an opportunity to invent a new routine, game, activity or go on trips with your children that you always wanted to. Your parenting time is now truly yours and unique.

Trust is generally reciprocated which helps form a healthy co-parenting relationship, it fosters a sense of responsibility and you can motivate each other to meet that responsibility. The more you trust the more you will let your children’s relationship develop naturally with their other parent, this is vital for your children and benefits them indefinitely.

Stability and consistency

Your ability to communicate effectively with your co-parent affects stability which in turn directly affects the well-being of your children. They need stability, consistency and structure in the form of routine to help them adapt to this new form of parenting and family life. Your parenting plan and schedule whilst not inflexible (it can help to have a temporary agreement whilst you adjust to your new schedules, leave room for change in your initial agreed up schedule) need to be clear. Establish routine and remember the schedule is not designed to be convenient for the parents. The goal is the best possible parent-child relationship for your children and a smooth transition to this new set-up with minimum disruption to them. Although parent styles differ, ensure you keep the rules more or less the same in both households, stability in this way minimizes the risk of separation anxiety.  

Terms

Another confusing aspect of co-parenting is the documentation that comes with it and also the interchangeable terms for said documentation. A parenting plan is essentially the same thing as a custody agreement, a detailed document which outlines your custody schedule or calendar along with certain provisions legal or otherwise as to how you will both manage the custody of your children.

The terms can be used interchangeably or sometimes a plan is said to contain the agreement or the agreement said to contain the plan! In order to avoid misunderstandings it is better to just remember that your plan or agreement should include a regular custody visitation schedule/calendar, a holiday custody visitation schedule/calendar, all the relevant provisions, child support information and any extra relevant details that can help you and your fellow co-parent raise your child or children.

There are custody agreements or parenting plans to meet everyone’s needs or expectations. Agreements designed specifically for long distance co-parenting, temporary custody agreements to help through transitional stages and also agreements intended for parents with shared/joint custody or when one parent has sole or primary custody.

Lastly I would say it pays to have a non-verbal agreement. Getting it in writing gives you action to take for (and evidence of) repeated violations/unfulfilled obligations. The less formal option may be appealing if you are really amicable with your ex-spouse but that option will most likely lead to future complications.

Co-parenting when done well gives your children what they need whilst giving you more quality time with them and more free time for yourself. If you are new to co-parenting keep an open mind it may be much more rewarding than you are expecting!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources.

 

 

 

Co-Parenting with Divorce

Co-parenting can be easier as time marches on and heals wounds. Remember this is all about the children and not about scoring points or being in a popularity contest. Leave emotions and judgments out of interactions with your ex. If he becomes agitated, suggest resuming the discussion when he is calm. Do not let him trigger your hot buttons. Try to be on the same page with basic routines, such as meals and bedtimes. Children are clever and may try to manipulate you both into getting extra privileges. If you have a united front, than this is less problematic and you can both firmly state the common rules.

Be flexible when the other parent’s request is reasonable, such as having the kids a little extra time when his out-of-town relatives are visiting. Children will appreciate your generosity and could feel hurt if they missed a reunion. Do not say “no” out of vindictiveness, only if it is not in the children’s best interest. If you feel that requests are getting out of hand or there is too much switching going on, then perhaps meeting with a mediator or counsellor may be in order. This is a reality check for you both, so that a better plan can be implemented.

Children want both parents to attend school events and important milestones. If you can sit together for these, then great. If not, keep your emotions in check and remain polite, even if from across the auditorium. There will be important functions such as First Communions or Bar Mitzvahs that you both will want to attend. Even if the other parent brings the person who broke up your marriage, smile when you grit your teeth, because he/she is the kids’ step-parent. They may be very loving and kind to your offspring. You do have class and model this dignity to your children.

Of course, the other parent gave the kids half of their DNA, so never say anything mean about him or her. In my case, I find it better to say nothing whatsoever at all.  Do not make children choose sides. If you can have a few friendly words on the doorstep or occasionally invite him in for coffee, the kids will appreciate this.  Some former spouses get together on holidays with their children, for at least part of the day. You may have had an adversarial marital relationship, but that is now behind you. What lies ahead is being on the same team to ensure the children are safe, happy and thriving.

If co-parenting truly is unmanageable, then a mediator can step in to handle all communication between both of you.  Co-parenting is a skill which is learned by trial and error. Give both of you some slack to make some missteps, especially in the beginning. I have talked to and read about former couples who really like their exes’ new partners, and getting together for birthday parties and other events is enjoyable.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Divorce Talk Radio California

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We talk about the different types of divorce, children and parenting, alternative therapies, professional custody evaluations, and my book on Amazon.

 

www.divorcetalkradiocalifornia.com/20140315/