Couples are always eager to be “done” with their divorce. Getting the court documents signed and the divorce finalized is the end goal, and clients often think it will be smooth sailing for them after that. However, when the divorce is final, there is something called the new normal that clients have to navigate, especially when it comes to their parenting. Co-parenting is more complicated when parents are no longer cohabiting, and this is a big adjustment for everyone following a divorce. Co-parents may no longer be living together or joined in matrimony, but they are in the same boat as far as raising their kids. Because of this, communicating and cooperating are very important. Instead of treating their co-parent like they would like them to abandon ship or walk the plank post-divorce, the attitude needs to be “all hands on deck” between co-parents. Diligently communicating and cooperating will give co-parents much more control over the course their children’s lives will take. Even in the best of circumstances, of course, children can try to get what they want by playing their parents against each other. Little mutineers usually sound something like this: “Dad/Mom says I can…”, and if no fact checking is done on behalf of the co-parent that isn’t around to confirm what she or he did indeed say, the child gets what he or she wants. Critical information can go missing or be seriously altered if children are used as a courier in adult conversations. Avoiding this situation is possible, but requires that co-parents actively cooperate and communicate. Co-parents that work together this way post-divorce can divide and conquer when it comes to life’s challenges, and keep their family buoyant in any stormy waters that come in life.
– Audra A. Holbeck