Tips for Mississippi parents to more effectively co-parent after divorce

Parents can co-parent more easily after divorce if they communicate regularly, commit to cooperation and develop means to handle negative emotions.

Divorce is synonymous with endings in many ways: the end of a marriage, the end of a family arrangement, the end of a way of life. For parents, however, divorce also signals a beginning: they have to learn how to continue to raise their children with their ex-spouses while no longer being married. Trying to navigate this new relationship with an ex-spouse can be daunting, but if you follow a few simple steps, co-parenting after divorce can be easier.

Communicate

The primary key to successful co-parenting after divorce is communicating with your ex-spouse. It may be difficult for you and your ex-spouse to talk, particularly if your divorce was recent and emotions are still running high. However, it is crucial to put aside your emotions to communicate about your children. It is helpful to think of conversations with your ex-spouse like business conversations, avoiding personal feelings and attending to the matters that need to be communicated or resolved. You should listen to your ex-spouse when discussing your children, rather than focusing on the next thing you want to say, so you fully understand your ex-spouse's point of view. Also you should avoid blaming your ex-spouse if they refuse to agree to your requests, remember you each have a say in the effective raising of your children. Always be respectful towards your ex-spouse even if they are being unreasonable as any abusive, derogatory or foul language you use towards the other party will likely be admitted into evidence should your dispute find its way into Court. Also trying to listen, being respectful and genuinely trying to cooperate, will help you be able to reach resolutions to conflicts more easily.

Resist the urge to use your children as go-betweens rather than talking directly with your ex-spouse. It is unfair to put your children in the middle of the dynamics of your relationship with your ex-spouse. Many courts have started to prohibit this type of conduct as they realize it is detrimental to the children to use them in the resolution of conflicts involving visitation, custody, support or other financial issues. If speaking in person with your ex-spouse is not possible or usually devolves into arguments, agree to use some other means of communication, such as email, to keep each other informed.

Cooperate

To raise your children with your ex-spouse after divorce, you should commit to setting aside your issues with your ex-spouse and working cooperatively on matters pertaining to your children. If you make an effort to cooperate, it is more likely that your ex-spouse will respond in kind.

Cooperation can come through in small gestures such as asking your ex-spouse's opinion about a matter regarding the children, being flexible if your ex-spouse wants to make a one-time change to the parenting time schedule or apologizing when you are sorry about something that happened.

There will be times when your ex-spouse angers and frustrates you. You should develop a variety of ways to handle these negative emotions so that you do not escalate matters. Also, managing your emotions is important for the sake of your children. Children can tell when there is tension between their parents, and it often makes the children anxious and stressed, too.

Seek professional assistance

You may want to consider consulting a professional counselor after divorce. You can use counseling sessions to express your feelings about the divorce, and your ex-spouse, or any issues that have come up since the divorce in a safe place where your children will not hear it and you do not risk having it repeated to them. Additionally, a counselor can help you develop conflict resolution techniques and strategies that you can use in the future for communicating with your ex-spouse in difficult situations.

With all that said, however, there are matters which cannot be resolved by agreement or circumstances change so that there must be a modification of the prior agreement and it is important to have the aid of a seasoned divorce attorney when dealing with such post-divorce issues. Your emotions are often running high, and you are often not in the best position to make sure that your interests and your children are protected. An experienced divorce attorney can tell you what to expect during the divorce or post-divorce process and help you reach a fair agreement with your ex-spouse about child custody and property division matters. If you are considering divorce, or if you have questions following your divorce, call us at the Maggio Law Firm. We are experienced Mississippi divorce attorneys who can advise you about your specific situation.

Keywords: divorce; child custody; visitation