Top 10 Tips To Effective Co-Parenting With Your Ex*

  1. Improve communication: People communicate so poorly with each other.  This is due to “triggers” and because there can be too much or too little communication.  The wrong type of communication can also be problematic.  Texting can be a huge problem.  Watch what you say, how you say it, and if you are not sure, say nothing for now.
  1. Control the Narrative. Treat your co-parent as a business partner: Your joint venture consists of the children. Communicate only as necessary and keep it always about the child(ren).  Do not get into details about life outside of the child nor insult the other parent.  Stay goal-focused, and that goal is to raise well-adjusted children.  State the subject, then the issue, then the solution you are proposing.  Keep it simple.
  1. Use a program like Our Family Wizard. These communication apps help parties communicate without “bad” words, and you can monitor and control the discussions, which can also be printed out for courts to see as part of litigation.
  1. Be Kind to yourself. Remember to have a good life for yourself so you are not overly focused on the children. This will create balance.  Accept that everything is not going to be exactly how you want it, just try to be stress free.
  1. Pick your fights. Find the issue that is most pressing and focus on that. Address it, and try to resolve it.  If you can’t resolve it, don’t beat yourself up.  See next point.
  1. Get outside help. When communication breaks down, usually on a “hot button subject” like religion, then bring in a third party. A Beit Din is adept to handle and help resolve narrower issues in Jewish couple disputes. Mediation and Parent Coordination can also be helpful.  It can also be a trusted community member, a Rabbi, a psychologist, or two settlement minded lawyers.  Both parents must have some trust in that third party, and this person can be neutral and assist in coming up with resolutions and improve communication.
  1. Work on a parenting agreement. This can work well if the parties are able to work on co-parenting schedules.  The style of drafting of agreements change depending on the type of parents who are involved.  It can be as detailed as needed, depending on the parents’ strengths or weaknesses.  If parents work well together, then less detail will work.  If your ex is painstakingly difficult, you will want to iron out items as much as possible.  A good lawyer can help you.
  1. Trust yourself and trust your child. Go with the flow.  Look for help when needed to resolve issues.  And remember that kids grow up, and this too shall pass.
  1. Put yourself in your kids’ shoes. Your ex is the parent of your child.  Despite his or her negative traits and impossible character, your child is 50% like that person (possibly more). So if you criticize your ex to your child, it’s like you are criticizing the child.  This hurts to child.  Keep your comments to yourself or a trusted confidant.
  1. Don’t post on social media. In these days of overuse of technology and dependence on social media, it seems almost hard to resist posting about your feelings about your ex online. You may think you are going to get support, but in fact you are creating a traceable history of difficulties for yourself if the matter is acrimonious and goes to court.  Your ex or his/her lawyer will dig up your posts and try to show that you are trying to hurt your ex with public defamation, or worse. This is not good for you.  When you feel you need support, get it from a third party like your lawyer, friend or other confident, but not from social media.


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