Learn how to effectively co-parent after a divorce

Going through a divorce can be a challenging time for anyone, but making the transition to the role of co-parent can be particularly difficult for some former spouses. While couples without children who decide to split will likely have little to no need to continue interacting after the divorce, couples with children generally must have some type of ongoing relationship.

Finding a way to co-parent successfully with a former spouse can be challenging, particularly when the divorce was contentious. Parents would be wise to follow some basic guidelines to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible for their children.

Never put your children in the middle of an argument

Former spouses are likely to have negative reactions to the other's behavior at certain times following the divorce. Often, when tensions are running high, parents may forget to ensure their children are not within hearing distance before airing their frustrations. At other times, parents may intentionally share their concerns about their former spouse with their children.

In either event, putting your children in the middle of an argument with your former spouse can create added tension in an already difficult situation. When faced with their parent's grown-up problems, children may feel they are responsible for the split or that they need to choose sides in the argument. Saving your gripes for conversations with other adults will relieve some of the stress your children may feel as a result of the divorce.

Find an effective method of communication with your ex

One of the best ways to ensure you do not end up putting your children in the middle is to establish an effective mode of communication with your former spouse, especially when there is a joint custody arrangement. While some parents may be comfortable communicating primarily in person or by telephone, such direct contact may cause more harm than good for others. In such cases, parents can consider communicating mainly in writing - such as via email or text message - particularly regarding day-to-day issues.

By keeping open lines of communication, parents can avoid relying on their children to relay messages to the other. In addition, having frequent conversations about the children can ensure both parents are up to speed on any issues in the child's life. For instance, if a child tells only one parent about problems he or she is having in school, the parent should provide that information to the other to ensure both are able to provide the needed support.

Seek the advice of an attorney for divorce and custody issues

When someone is considering a divorce, talking to a legal professional is a wise choice. Consulting with a skilled family law attorney will ensure the individual's rights are protected.