You might breathe a sigh of relief once your child custody is hashed out, whether through negotiation or litigation. But the truth of the matter is that custody issues can linger well after your initial dispute is settled. And your relationship with your child’s other parent can be strained, making it difficult to co-parent.
But ineffective co-parenting can be stressful and even harmful to your child. It may cause you to miss out on contact with your child, thereby harming your relationship with them, and it can cause a lot of stress and anxiety for everyone involved.
Building a better co-parenting relationship
Fortunately, there are things that you can do to help strengthen your co-parenting relationship. Let’s look at some of them here:
- Find an outlet for your emotions: There’s no doubt that you’re feeling all kinds of emotions as you navigate your child custody issues. But don’t use your child or your child’s other parent as an outlet, as this can create strained relationships. Instead, consider finding other family members and friends to talk to, or even consider turning to a therapist for assistance.
- Don’t put your kid in the middle: Even though child custody disputes center around your child, don’t put your child in the middle of your disputes with the other parent. Avoid having your child play messenger, as this puts a significant emotional burden on your kid. After all, you want to protect your child from your relationship issues, not make them a part of them.
- Keep the appropriate tone: It’s easy to lose your cool and say things to your child’s other parent that may be inflammatory, but that’s just going to lead to more conflict. So, to avoid issues spiraling out of control, consider keeping a professional, almost business-like tone as you discuss issues with your child’s other parent. This is going to require you to practice some restraint and avoid saying things that you might later regret.
- Work together to build consistency: Your child thrives on routine and consistency. That can be hard to build when your child is splitting time between two households. But by being diligent in discussing this with your child’s other parent, you can better determine how to provide consistency in discipline, bedtimes, chores, and other responsibilities and expectations.
- Make decisions together: There are going to be a lot of decisions to make as you continue to co-parent. You can strengthen your relationship with your child’s other parent by including them in major decisions, such as those pertaining to medical care and education. That way, you and the other parent share in raising your child.
- Be respectful: It’s easy for your conversations with your child’s other parent to get out of hand. But if you remain respectful, you might find that you can more easily work through challenging issues and find common ground.
What to do if you still struggle
If even after trying these strategies you still have excessive conflict in your co-parenting relationship, you might need to consider taking additional legal action. This could include seeking modification if the current arrangement doesn’t support your child’s best interests, or it might include negotiating a new arrangement to ensure that an existing custody order is more strictly followed.
These are stressful matters and your child’s well-being are at stake. That’s why it might be best for you to discuss these matters with an experienced family law attorney who is able to help you work toward the resolution that is best for you and your child.