Co-Parenting Tips for Divorced Couples
San Antonio unfortunately sees its share of divorces. However, regardless of where you live, there are many considerations even after finalizing a divorce.
Once the divorce is final and parents have gone their separate ways, there is yet another long term commitment ahead for the exes. Even though their marriage is over, divorced parents are just beginning their long term roles as co-parents. This phase will last during all stages of their children’s lives, perhaps even from preschool through the teenage years, college, weddings, grandchildren and beyond.
Sometimes shared parenting is more difficult when the divorce process has been particularly contentious. However, it is possible to be successful co-parents for your children and help them adjust to life after divorce. Remember, this phase is about your children!
While you might be harboring contempt for your ex, you have to remember that your children’s well-being must come first. Avoid saying bad things about your ex to your children because they love you both as parents. Screaming and shouting might make you feel better, but it only hurts them by hearing bad things about either parent. So, make every effort to resolve any conflict with your ex outside the presence of your children. They need to know that both parents still love them, and can show respect for each other.
You need to show your children that you both love them, and you will always be there for them. In particular, let them know that they did not cause the breakup of your marriage, and that the divorce is not their fault.
Children can feel anxious about going back and forth from one parent’s house to the other. A helpful solution to make this transition smoother is for mom and dad to maintain a regular schedule that your children know about and can look forward to. Working together, not changing the schedule without consulting the other parent, and being on time are equally important for their adjustment to having two homes. By all means, do not overly question your children about details of their visit with their other parent. This will cause them to feel like they are caught in the middle between parents who still harbor resentment. Finally, make this a special time for you and your children. Under no circumstances, should you send the new boyfriend or girlfriend to pick them up for your visitation weekend.
As your children reach their teenage years, you and your ex need to agree on a whole new set of restrictions. These can range from driving and dating, to drinking, drugs, smoking, tattoos and other issues that come up for teenagers. The most important thing at this stage is for parents to be consistent and on the same page, so that children know what is expected of them and that the boundaries will be the same regardless of where they are staying.
After remarrying, you may find yourself in a blended family, with four sets of grandparents all wanting to see and be with the grandchildren. The focus here still must remain the same — your children or grandchildren — and not some unresolved issue with your ex. You will find that your children and grandchildren have a huge capacity to love both parents and all of their grandparents.
If you or someone you know is contemplating divorce or is facing some other family law matter, it is wise to seek the advice of an experienced family law attorney immediately.
Allan R. Manka is a San Antonio family law attorney who has handled a wide array of family law cases for clients over a period of nearly 40 years. He is held in high esteem by the judiciary and well respected by his peers.
The Law Offices of Allan R. Manka, P.C. represents clients in and around San Antonio and surrounding counties, such as Comal, Guadalupe, Wilson, Atascosa, Medina, Kendall, Bandera and throughout the state. He is also proud to represent the servicemen and servicewomen at Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases.
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