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We acknowledge how difficult separation is for families and the challenges arising in obtaining an amicable relationship when co-parenting. We have therefore considered what we feel to be some helpful top tips on co-parenting during and after separation.
1-Treat Each Other With Respect
You have made the painful decision to separate, the decision was not taken by your children. It is important that they see both parents respecting each other. You are a huge influencer in your children’s behaviour, and they will learn how to form their own relationships from you both. Not only this, but dealing with each other respectfully will encourage efficient and collaborative arrangements for the children but in the early days of separation and also in years to come, thus further reducing hostility. This may also put your children at ease during a difficult and confusing period.
Not only is it essential to communicate effectively with your partner, but it is also important to be informative and to uphold clarity about your situation with your children. Children will sense change and unrest, and it is best to be clear with them and remain factual, leaving your emotions aside. Effective communication can be extremely reassuring and will allow them to feel more in control of their changing environment.
3 – Your Child’s Wellbeing Comes First
You should set your hurt and anger aside when it comes to co-parenting. The welfare of your child is paramount and children should not be put in the middle of any dispute. Children should not be used as communicators nor tools to ‘get at’ the other parent. Co-parenting means setting anger, resentment or hurt aside to provide comfort and stability for your children.
4 – Seek Legal Help
Where communication has broken down, coming to an arrangement for your children can be complicated and sometimes impossible. Seeking legal support prevents direct contact with the other parent, which can reduce stress and confrontation between you both. Furthermore, you will receive advice regarding the complexities of the Law, the process and your next steps. Most solicitors will direct you to mediation to resolve any issues providing it is a safe environment for you to be placed in.
5 – Retain Consistency
Where possible and appropriate, the status quo should remain. This means keeping the child within a familiar environment which they are comfortable in. Although not always possible, you should ensure your children remain surrounded by their friends and family members and aim to keep their day-to-day life as ‘normal’ as possible. This may reduce any unfamiliarity, unrest, or panic for them. In order to uphold consistency and collaboration you may also consider ‘picking up’ instead of ‘dropping off’ your child, as to avoid the perception that the child is being ‘taken’ from the other parent and to avoid interruption of quality time.
6 – Support Your Child’s Relationship With The Other Parent
It is important to set aside your feelings from your behavior. Children sense upset or anger, and they often become protective and worried about you. This can be unhealthy for their relationship with the other parent and undermines the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship with you both. You should prevent making contact difficult and reassure your children that although you are separating you are supportive of their time with the other parent.
7 – Being Flexible
There will be times when certain events or occasions may occur on a day inconsistent with either of your time with the children. It is important to be flexible where possible. Again, a healthy status quo should remain for children and therefore attending friends birthday parties, familial events and other occasions will be important for their wellbeing and stability. You should communicate openly and collaboratively with the other parent to enable this.
8 – Seek Support.
Co-parenting requires upholding an amicable relationship, which is often very difficult post-separation. You may have frustrations and concerns that should not be aired to your children and will be better discussed with a trustworthy and understanding adult. At this time, lean on your friends and family. You may also wish to seek counselling if you are not comfortable confiding in those close to you about personal issues. It is important that you feel strong and supported in what can be a very difficult time.
If you are seeking legal advice with relation to Child Arrangements or Divorce and Separation please call our Family Team here at Ramsdens Solicitors for support and direction. Call us on 08000147720, or email us for a free 30 minute discussion.