Ending a marriage is a difficult decision, and those with children have an added challenge to face. Parents contemplating the end of a marriage must consider the road forward — co-parenting after divorce. As a parent, it may seem second nature to put the interests of your children above your own. However, during the divorce process, decisions can become clouded by bitterness and acrimony toward the other party. In these times, parents must dig even deeper to come together around some common goals for your children.
Children benefit greatly from co-parenting. Parenting together requires that you find respectful ways of communicating and resolving conflicts related to important aspects of child rearing.
Working with an experienced divorce attorney or mediator can help you resolve areas of disagreement and guide the path toward a healthy co-parenting relationship. As you move forward in the divorce process, here are three considerations to keep in mind:
Communication is imperative for successful co-parenting.
Share important information about your children and events that occur during your scheduled time. This includes extreme behavior, school attendance and grades, sickness, awards and the like. When possible, speak to your ex-spouse directly or write a note. Do not use your child as the go between. Being the designated messenger can be stressful for your child and information may be relayed inaccurately, causing undue stress and frustration. Come to some agreement about the best ways to share important information (e.g., text messages, emails, phone calls, etc.) and be consistent.
Parenting together will mean taking the high road a lot.
Refrain from belittling or otherwise speaking badly about your former spouse to or in front of your children. Easier said than done? Keep in mind that when you say hurtful things about your ex-spouse, you are saying hurtful things about your child’s parent. This is confusing and upsetting for children to experience. Your children may feel the need to take sides and support you in that moment, which can lead to feelings of guilt and sadness later on. Find other healthy outlets for your anger and frustration, including journaling or talking with a counselor or close friend.
Co-parenting helps children feel the love.
Though negative feelings may continue after the divorce, it is important that your children feel they are more important than your anger and hostility. Your actions are a reflection of your feelings, and your children need to see and feel your love and commitment to helping them deal with this transition. Help your children to understand that while the marriage may have come to an end, your love for them continues on.
In our experience, divorce mediation has helped parents work through some of these important issues successfully, forging a path toward healthy co-parenting. For questions about divorce, mediation, or child custody and access, please contact Linda Sorg Ostovitz, Offit Kurman, P.A., at (301) 575-0381 to schedule a consultation.
ABOUT LINDA SORG OSTOVITZ
Linda Sorg Ostovitz is a family law attorney. Her legal experience spans more than 32 years. In this time, she has served as a leader, educator and advocate. Mrs. Ostovitz holds a prestigious fellowship in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Currently, she serves as President for the Business Women’s Network of Howard County, by which she was chosen Woman of Distinction for 2014. Mrs. Ostovitz represents clients in Howard, Anne Arundel, Carroll and Baltimore Counties. Her practice focuses exclusively on divorce litigation and mediation, child custody and access, child support, alimony, business valuation, as well as property and asset distribution. In addition to providing legal representation in court, Mrs. Ostovitz provides mediation services to help families come to a fair and legally-sound conclusion outside of the traditional court proceedings.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
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