Separation under any circumstances is difficult. Whether you separate peacefully, with conflict, with a child, or without a child, separation is hard. If you don’t have a child, you can separate with your partner at each other’s necks and once the settlements are finished, you can dust off your hands and be done with it. You do not have to maintain pleasantries.
However, if you have a child, amicable collaboration is quintessential to ensure the happy and healthy development of your child, no matter your feelings for your ex-partner. You absolutely have to put the needs of your child first, and your contempt for your ex-partner second. There is no other way.
This starts from the very get-go when settling your child custody agreement. Understand, listen and be respectful to what your ex-partner has to say. Treat the relationship like a business partner or colleague, and your business being the life of your child.
In this article, we provide our best tips and advice, so you can successfully reach a child custody agreement peacefully, and co-parent in the best interest of your child:
When settling a child custody agreement, there are two foundation principles that you absolutely must do if you want to settle peacefully, which will definitely benefit your child.
Undergoing a settlement requires a lot of patience and organisation. Divorce law rules, divorce lawyers, and divorce laws are frustrating. Hopefully, you can settle outside of the courtroom. Conducting yourself and your ex-partner with respect, as if you were business associates, will leverage you both in the best possible position to raise your child with dignity. Don’t think about the process as trying to beat your ex-partner in court, instead, try and work out what will be best for your child and set the guidelines for how you both will successfully co-parent.
Setting aside your feelings for an ex-partner is a herculean task, especially if they are negative and you have to keep seeing your ex-partner. However, there are things you can do to help with the process:
You should never, ever, talk disparagingly about your ex-partner to your child. That to them is still someone they love and rely on deeply and can make them very uncomfortable. Instead, set up a support network of friends and family you can lean on, or get the help of a therapist. You don’t want to risk a blow-up with your ex-partner at the risk of your child’s wellbeing.
If you are ever feeling overwhelmed, think about the care and love you have for your child. Remember why you’re doing it all. Think of the benefits and how great your child’s life will be thanks to your efforts. Bad times are temporary, it will be worth it if you hold on!
You should never, ever use your child as a messenger. This can put your child in the middle of the conflict between you and your ex-partner. If your ex-partner uses your child as a messenger, don’t be angry at your child, they are just doing what they are told. Use email, phone or online parenting platforms like 2houses to communicate.
Your child has the right to choose where they want to go for themselves. Do not get angry at them because of your ex-partner. They have the right to a great relationship with both of their parents.
Communication between you and an ex-partner can be like extracting teeth. Slow and painful! But it is essential to organising and creating a successful, dynamic parenting plan for the development of your child. Here are seven tips on how to do it:
The best way to communicate with your ex-partner is to act like you’re conducting a business deal, and the topic of discussion is the wellbeing of your child. Talk clearly, respectfully, and neutrally. Removing emotion and keeping discussions on your child will make things easier.
When dealing with an ex-partner you feel begrudgingly toward, it might feel like you have to make demands to “win the battle” and “set the record straight”. When dealing with your child, try to make requests, rather than demands. Phrase sentences like “would you mind if I…” instead of “I am…”.
This might be difficult if they accuse you of never listening or they never listen themselves, or you don’t agree with what they’re saying. But listening is important for mature conversation. You don’t have to agree, but you do have to acknowledge and register what they have said.
Exercise some restraint when talking to your ex-partner. Try not to overreact to the buttons they try to push. This arrangement is going to last longer than the conversation you’re having with them right now, it’s going to last your child’s entire life. Having a screaming match at every little thing will be torture in the long run. Don’t win the battle, win the war that is your child’s wellbeing. That is the ultimate victory.
It is hard, and you might hate doing it, but you have to talk. You need to be on the same page with your child’s development so you can implement your parenting plan. Appearing like you’re talking to your child will also make them more comfortable.
There’s no need to talk about the weather to someone you hate. Stick to the point and talk about your child, and talk about them lots.
When your ex-partner starts pushing on some very familiar buttons that have been pushed before, recognise it. Recognise what they are doing and when you start to get angry so you can avoid a blow-up. The most important thing to do is remain calm.
Even outside of the child custody agreement, there will be many points of pain and difficulty. But it does not matter, you will endure because you must. Your child depends on it! Just because you and your ex-partner are no longer romantically engaged, it doesn’t mean you aren’t a team. So act like it! Here are some tips on how you can create a co-parenting plan together that works:
Different roofs, same rules. You and your ex-partner need to be on the same page. If your child is under punishment in one house, it should translate to the next. If there is only one hour of computer per day in one house, it should translate to the next. If bedtime is 7:30 in one house, it should translate to the next. If there is a reward for good behaviour or celebrations for a great achievement in one house, it should translate to the next! Children thrive on routine, this shouldn’t be compromised from your split.
For sure, on major issues, you should collaborate together to form a parenting plan. But in day-to-day operations and contact, delegating responsibilities isn’t a bad idea. Maybe you look after your child’s sport, while your ex-partner deals with medical affairs, or music lessons. Work it out between yourselves.
So your ex-partner has a new love interest. So what? You’re separated. It might be difficult to see, but new partners are inevitable. This shouldn’t affect your parenting. It could even be a good thing for your child!
Your child can sometimes have anxiety about moving between yours and your ex-partner’s dwelling. You should maintain a schedule, like a week-on-week-off arrangement where your child shares houses. Remind your child a day or so before that, they will be moving and pack their bags early, so as to not forget important things like stuffed toys.
You need to be flexible with your ex-partner. This means compromising to them just as much as they do to you. Small issues like if your child should go to bed at 7:30 or 8:00 aren’t worth fighting over.
Throughout this article, I have mentioned a parenting plan. Making a parenting plan is very important. Having calendar, financial and communication goals will align both of you on the best road to success. You can speak with a legal counsel in establishing an effective and equal parenting plan for both parents.
Online platforms like 2houses offer a cloud-based service that makes this very easy. Both you and your ex-partner being able to access your goals anywhere, at any time, thanks to the cloud, will prove to be a huge advantage in your parenting.
Create a parenting schedule