Co-parenting after divorce mediation doesn’t have to be something you dread. Maybe you had the worst break-up or end to your marriage. Regardless, that doesn’t mean you can’t learn to put those differences aside to be the best co-parents you can be. The reason you decided to get divorced in the first place was so that you could end a failing marriage, but that has nothing to do with being a parent. Unlike marriage, the responsibility of parenting will last a lifetime. Here are 5 proven ways that you and your ex can co-parent successfully after divorce.
Once you are granted a divorce in Florida with children, you will file a time-sharing agreement with the court. After the judge signs your agreement and you are officially divorced, you need to make a vow to stop the blame game. During your divorce mediation, you put all your cards on the table and discussed every scenario to reach a voluntary agreement. Now it is time to focus on using that agreement to work for you after your divorce is final. This means you need to stop blaming each other for anything that went wrong in your marriage and focus on being co-parents.
You were given a time-sharing plan by your divorce mediator when you resolved your divorce case. This road map is your key to successful co-parenting. It is a legally binding document and you should honor and uphold respectfully. There will be times that you and your ex might agree to co-parent differently than what is written down. That is ok, so long as you both agree, and it is working for you. When it no longer works, you need to go back to the basics and use your parenting plan on file.
One of the hardest parts of co-parenting after divorce, is when new partners enter the mix. During your divorce mediation this might not have been a topic either of you considered, but it should have been. Having a new partner can change your life, but it should not drastically change the lives of your children. You and your ex made an agreement to make your children your first priority after ending your marriage. You even agreed to how you would raise them. If a new partner tries to tell you that you should change your parenting plan, go back to court, ignore communication with your ex about your children, or in any other way inhibits healthy co-parenting, you should be concerned.
Furthermore, keep your new relationships to yourself for a while. Your kids do not need to meet every new person you decide to date, nor do they want to. You need to remind yourself about how much work you put into your divorce mediation and into developing your parenting plan with your ex. Establish firm boundaries from the beginning of any new relationship and if they can’t agree to those, then they are not the best fit for your life after divorce with children.
You might be tempted to move out of your house, sell everything for new stuff, have parties now that your single, go out more often, change jobs, get a new pet, or something else like that…. but don’t. Divorce is devastating for children, and for adults. It is very important to keep things as structured and routine as you can for your children to feel safe. Studies suggest that you should not make any major life change for at least 6 months after a traumatic event. Divorce qualifies for a traumatic event, even if you were the one who initiated it. Take this advice seriously and allow the dust to settle before making any major change.
This is probably the most important rule for healthy co-parenting. Even if you children are old enough to have opinions and express their feelings clearly, you can’t involve them in adult issues. You should never speak negatively about your ex or relate to them about your divorce issues. Your divorce had absolutely nothing to do with them. Keep it that way.
Co-parenting will be a completely new concept for you after your divorce. You will have to learn to work together with your ex using very healthy boundaries. If you start by using these 5 steps after divorce mediation in Orlando, you will be off to a good start. If you struggle with this or with dealing with your ex in general, you should seek help from a counselor. Your divorce mediator will only get you half of the way there by helping you reach a divorce agreement and developing a parenting plan. The next step will be up to you. To find out more about divorce mediation services you can call 407-274-9861.
Heather Oller is a licensed mental health professional with a Masters degree in counseling and psychology. She is an expert therapist at Orlando Thrive Therapy, Counseling & Conflict Resolution and is a Florida certified family court mediator. She is also a qualified Parent Coordinator. She specializes in conflict resolution and alternative dispute resolution.Schedule Your Consultation