As you prepare to divorce your spouse, you may be concerned about how the two of you will ever be able to co-parent your children. You may have feelings of anger, hurt and resentment towards your spouse. You may just plain not like them anymore. So how do you share custody of your children?
For some people, it helps to treat their co-parenting relationship like a work-relationship. Think about the people with whom you work every day. They may have very different lifestyles, political views, values and backgrounds than you. However, you manage to put all of that aside to do your jobs. If you both attend a work-related social gathering, you don’t start fighting. You exchange pleasantries and move on.
Focusing on the shared goal
If you and a colleague need to work out a schedule for a project, you focus on that. You don’t argue about who voted for whom in the last election or the fact that you hear that person talking on the phone every day with someone who’s not their spouse. You both have a vested interest in getting the job done.
The same is true for raising your children. If you’re going to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children, you need to focus on that job and put everything else aside. Easier said than done? Of course – isn’t everything?
Limiting what you share
Another thing that separates most work relationships from friendships is that you don’t share as much with colleagues as you would with friends. The same can apply to co-parenting. Of course, if you or your spouse has a new boyfriend or girlfriend who’s part of your children’s lives, that’s information that needs to be shared. However, you don’t need to know everything that’s going on in each other’s lives if it doesn’t affect your kids or any support agreements.
As you work out your parenting plan and custody agreement, you can begin to set the expectations and boundaries of your new relationship. Even if your co-parent doesn’t adhere to them, that doesn’t have to stop you. You don’t have to engage in conversations and arguments that just rehash old issues and don’t help your kids — and there’s definitely some peace and wisdom in that approach.