Sharing custody with your ex may not seem like a pleasant prospect, but it is reality for most divorced couples in Colorado. With the limited exception of circumstances where a parent doesn’t want their parental rights or the courts deem that their ongoing involvement would not be in the best interest of the children, most parents going through a divorce will wind up sharing their parental rights and responsibilities to one degree or another.
While your marriage and romantic relationship may be over, your co-parenting relationship is just beginning. Creating a thorough and careful parenting plan can help you and your ex become effective co-parents after divorce.
Consider including rules and expectations
Colorado does provide basic legal forms that serve as the backbone for your parenting plan, but you have the right to make your plan as comprehensive and detailed as you like. The most obvious issues that people touch on in their parenting plan will include the division of parenting time and other parental responsibilities, such as decision-making authority. However, that isn’t necessarily where you stop.
Your parenting plan shouldn’t just guide your custody exchanges but also your relationship with one another and how you share your parental duties. Outlining rules and expectations for the children that must be followed in both households can be a great way to ensure that the children can’t play one parent against the other after a divorce and that the two of you are on the same page regarding your expectations for the kids.
Consistent rules and expectations are incredibly important for children, especially as they go through a time of upheaval, like the divorce of their parents. If the rules about curfew and housework are the same at both parents’ houses, it will be easier for you and your ex to work together as a team raising responsible and respectful children.
Leave some room for future conflict and issues
No matter how thorough and detailed you are in the creation of your plan, the potential will certainly exist for new conflicts to arise in the future. In order to protect the stability of your co-parenting relationship, assume that you will eventually disagree on something significant and include rules for handling conflicts and disagreements in the future.
Whether you want to sit down with someone else to talk over the problem or agree to only communicate in writing, there are multiple approaches that can help you handle co-parenting conflicts in a healthy and productive manner after divorce. The more thorough and careful you are in the creation of your parenting plan, the easier it will be for you and your children to transition to the new reality of your life after divorce.