It may seem like a pipe dream to consider having a healthy relationship with your ex. After all, if you got along, you wouldn't be getting divorced, right?
The truth is that it may be a long road to get to a place where you do have a healthy, if not friendly, relationship with your former spouse. That's why it's crucial to focus on having a healthy, if not friendly, relationship with your children's other parent.
Give yourself every opportunity
Part of your negotiations during the divorce process involves creating a parenting plan that best suits the needs of your children. If you consider including the following elements in that plan, it could help guide both of you to create a foundation on which to improve your co-parenting relationship:
- Creating a schedule that you both agree on can eliminate any questions about what comes next. If each of you agrees to follow the schedule, there should be no need for conflict.
- Even though structure is important, each of you may need to be flexible on occasion. One of you may need to work late, have car trouble or experience some other issue that disrupts the schedule. You could include an agreement not to abuse the flexibility of the other.
- If either of you needs to make a change to the schedule, you could agree to do discuss it as far in advance as possible.
- To that end, if one of you needs babysitting services, you could agree to call the other parent first. This would give each of you more time with the children. This kind of "right of first refusal" could help foster a good relationship.
- Each of you also needs to have your own personal life as long as it doesn't put the safety or well-being of the children at risk.
The foundation you create in your parenting plan can allow the two of you to be the parents you want to be for your children. This includes being able to work together and maintain an amicable relationship. If your children see that their parents can get along, it may help them adjust to their new circumstances more easily. In fact, it could help you and the other parent adjust more easily as well.
Even though your marital relationship may be over, you can continue to love and raise your children together. Once you are satisfied with your parenting plan, you can add it to your divorce settlement, obtain the approval of the court and begin your new lives.