When a relationship involving children ends (by divorce, separation, whether with or without marriage), co-parenting becomes an issue.
We don’t doubt that you have learned by now that life is complicated. Take a relationship on its own, for example. Enjoying the company of the each other forever commonly is not likely if not impossible. People change over time. Relationships change. They can become unhealthy. And this is just the reality of a relationship.
Now, add children into the life picture. The stresses of parenting can take an even further toll on the happiness of a relationship. When unhappiness becomes the norm and a legal process becomes necessary, that decision and legal process are rarely simple. The main reason for that is often because of concern over the children and child custody.
Most parents tend to worry more about how their kids will be impacted by the end oif a relationship than how their lives as individuals will be impacted. Kids will go through changes and transition through various emotions. One aspect of the end of a legal process that can significantly impact kids’ wellbeing is how the parents work together as the relationship is ending and thereafter.
Sure, during a relationship co-parenting is important. Parents need to be on the same page about raising the kids. What is their take on education, discipline, religion, etc.? Even something as specific as screen time can create disagreements.
Once a relationship is ending, the kids’ needs remain the same, if not more at-risk of being neglected. Therefore, separated parents honestly might need to work even harder and more wisely than while together to ensure the best interests of their children are protected. This means parents need to still communicate with each other and foster a healthy working relationship. This can be as difficult as it is important.
A couple of future posts on this California blog will outline some of our tips related to co-parenting after separation. Working together with a former partner can be hard, but with the exception of extreme situations, doing so can make life after a split better than before.