While parents may decide they no longer want to have a relationship with each other, in the vast majority of situations they both want to play a role in the lives of their children. Trying to define the nature and extent of that role—Who has custody? What is the visitation schedule? Who brings the kids to their games? —can be a challenge. After all, if the two parents could get along and make decisions together, they may not have broken up in the first place.
In most Texas divorce cases, there will be some form of co-parenting arrangement. The question is how to make that arrangement effective and, most importantly how to make sure the children are always the priority—remember, it is their wellbeing that we should all have in mind.
A Few Strategies for Difficult Scenarios
Here are a few helpful ideas that might make custody and visitation issues a bit less difficult, particularly if you find yourself confronted with an ex who is not being very reasonable:
- Avoid making the children your messengers: Even if it is difficult for you to talk directly to your ex, do not try to relay messages through your kids. Being the messenger puts them in the middle of an adult conflict that they aren’t truly able to understand.
- Don’t provide ammunition: Try as hard as you can to avoid negative talk about your ex, particularly in front of the kids. Painting the other parent as a villain doesn’t help anyone.
- Consider getting communication help: It can be helpful to bring in a third party to facilitate productive conversations between you and your ex, particularly if there is a great deal of tension. You can talk to your attorney about the possibility of having a Parent Facilitator appointed in your case.
- Streamline your communications: Once the divorce is over and a custody/visitation schedule is in place, you may find that the need for direct communication with the other parent is reduced. The need never goes away entirely, of course, but the need for frequent communication should be reduced. Follow the visitation schedule, and when things happen that require deviation – medical appointments, unexpected events – try texts or email.
Conclusion: It’s About Your Children
Co-parenting certainly has its challenges, but if you keep the best interests of your children in mind, then you’ll be able to work through things productively. And if you have questions, reach out to one of Texas family law attorneys for advice.