For most newly divorced parents in Colorado, shared custody is a source of frustration, as it requires that they frequently interact with their ex. Most people prefer to limit their interactions with a former spouse following divorce, but those who share children typically don’t have that luxury.
Colorado will usually split parental rights and responsibilities between both parents unless there are extenuating circumstances that make such ongoing relationships harmful to the children. In other words, the chances are good that you will wind up co-parenting with your ex.
Co-parenting relationships can be a major source of stress for both the parents and the children in a family after divorce. Trying to maintain a positive and healthy attitude toward your ex and your shared parental relationship can make moving on with your life easier for everyone in your family.
Do what you need to let go of the past and your pain
Whether your marriage ended because you slowly grew apart or because you caught your ex having an affair, it’s likely you have some residual emotional baggage related to the deterioration of the relationship. The longer you hold on to those emotions, the harder it will be for you to develop a positive and healthy relationship with your ex.
There are many ways to work through your feelings. You could go see a therapist, join a support group or even make some art. Letting go of your pain and expressing yourself in a healthy manner will help you heal and focus on the future. Encourage your ex to do the same. In some cases, attending therapy together as co-parents could be a viable option for working through outstanding issues.
Keep the focus on the kids
If you start discussing things like your social engagements you could quickly touch on nerves and initiate arguments. Many times, it will be easiest to have healthy and pleasant interactions if you keep those interactions solely focused on your kids. Talk about what your children did during your parenting time, remind your ex of any special achievements or upcoming events, and generally work together to ensure you are on the same page for all parenting issues.
Present a united front to your children
Children can and will manipulate the emotions of their parents in a divorce in order to get what they want. Your kids could try to play you against your ex if you don’t adequately communicate with one another and support each other. Get on the same page about expectations and rules, and have systems in place for both standard communication and disagreements.
By keeping things pleasant and supportive with your ex, you reduce the likelihood of your children manipulating you or abusing the family situation for personal gain.