When parents of young children divorce, even though the marriage has ended, the relationship usually must continue, and sometimes this can be for a decade or more. Children adjust best to a divorce in which parents find a way to cooperate with one another. Even when parents have good intentions, it can be difficult to break old patterns of conflict. However, parents can learn new ways of negotiating with one another for a successful co-parenting relationship.
Some parents are able to achieve this through mediation. Another approach may be for parents to ask themselves questions about how their conflicts might affect their children. If they hid those conflicts from their children during the marriage, they should consider why they would not continue doing so, and if they did not, they should think about the impact that may have already had on them.
Other considerations are how often they will see one another at events such as holidays and extracurricular activities and how a hostile environment in those situations might also be detrimental to their children. Parents can think about how they might create a more harmonious and beneficial environment. This may include thinking about how they could change their communications with the other parent to better benefit their children’s well-being.
Child custody can be a contentious issue in family law because there is so much emotion wrapped up in it. Parents may feel anxious about having their time with their children reduced. Even parents who recognize the value of a child’s time with both parents may struggle to set aside their own feelings for the child’s best interests. However, parents might want to try to work with their respective attorneys to negotiate a parenting agreement before turning to a judge. Even coming closer to agreement on a few issues before having to go to court may be helpful in reaching a more satisfactory parenting plan.