Going through a divorce when you have children adds an extra layer of challenges because you and your ex can’t just walk away from each other and never speak again. Instead, you’re going to have to figure out how to work as a parenting team for the children.
There are certain pitfalls that parents shouldn’t fall into when they’re handling child custody matters. Avoiding these five is a good place to start.
Trap #1: Associating their relationship with child custody
Your ex might have done things you didn’t appreciate as a spouse, but that doesn’t automatically make them a bad parent. Focusing on how things are going with the kids has to be the priority now. As long as there wasn’t any neglect or abuse, the past should remain solidly in the past.
Trap #2: Trying to use the children as messengers
You and your ex need to communicate directly. The children shouldn’t ever be used as messengers because it sets the stage for miscommunication to occur. Speaking directly to your ex or messaging them is the best way to keep the lines of communication open. This might not always be easy, but making this work will make the situation easier for everyone.
Trap #3: Attempting to get information from the children
The children shouldn’t be pressured to provide information about what either parent is doing. Unless there are situations that directly impact the health or safety of the children, what happens at one parent’s home is none of the other parent’s business.
Trap #4: Using finances to manipulate their co-parent
The kids’ needs should always be a priority. Never try to use financial matters to manipulate a co-parent. Instead, work with your ex to ensure the children have what they need. This includes medical care, education and extracurricular activities.
Trap #5: Giving each other the cold shoulder
There will be activities for the children that you and your ex have to attend together. While you don’t have to pretend to be best friends, you shouldn’t ignore either other either. Your children will likely notice that behavior, and it can have a negative impact on them.
The parenting plan is the key to making sure that your children have what they need. It should reflect their needs now because modifying it in the future is possible.