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Communication is the cornerstone of good co-parenting

After a divorce, you may feel like your ex just doesn't see eye-to-eye with you anymore. However, if you have children together, you will have to learn how to interact in a healthy and positive manner because you will probably share custody to some degree. There are several reasons that you need to focus on a good co-parenting relationship.

The first is that open hostilities between parents increase the damage that divorces can cause. The second is that parenting is difficult enough when there are two parents in one home. If you are fighting instead of working cooperatively, it can impact your ability to give your children the guidance and help they need.

Learning to speak in an appropriate manner after your divorce is one of the most important skills for successfully co-parenting.

Make a promise to avoid revisiting your marriage

It can feel tempting to bring up a litany of complaints about your failed marriage when you have a disagreement about your ex related to a change in the parenting schedule or a late arrival one day. However, picking fights with your ex about your marriage simply won't benefit you or the kids.

Make a promise to avoid discussing the issues from your marriage unless they relate specifically to the parenting of your children. Keep your communication focused on the job you have to share, which is raising your children.

If you don't have anything nice to say, perhaps you shouldn't speak

Arguments and criticism will not help you develop a healthy co-parenting relationship. No matter what you say to your ex about the way they interact with your children, you can't control the relationship they choose to build.

Instead of focusing on the negative, try to find something positive to say to your ex about their interactions with your children. If there isn't anything positive you can think of, stick to the facts about the next time that you exchange custody. Also, avoid nonverbal negative communication, such as aggressive body language or angry facial expressions.

Put it in writing if you simply can't stay calm

When emotions are still high after important events or shortly after the divorce, it can be a struggle to keep things positive and respectful. You are struggling to maintain a calm demeanor so try to minimize how much you speak with your ex face-to-face. Communicate the most important things via text, and with highly emotional situations, stick to the facts instead of your feelings.

Over time, as the two of you begin to develop an understanding of how you function as co-parents, your communication will certainly improve. In the worst-case scenario, you may need to communicate through a third party, such as an attorney, until you find some degree of closure.

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Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law

Linda M. DiPasquale, Attorney at Law
1 Niagara Square
Buffalo, NY 14202

Phone: 716-800-2591
Fax: 716-854-0059
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