A divorce is often one of the ugliest times in life for Michigan residents, and the aftermath can be challenging too. One area that can foster continued conflict and friction is co-parenting any children originating from the marriage.
This is especially true for fathers. Frequently, the father finds himself the non-custodial parent, meaning he’ll spend considerably less time with the child or children. But you should be aware that, in a divorce, fathers’ rights are just as valid as a mother’s.
It’s possible to create a workable relationship with your ex and manage to maintain a presence in your child or children’s lives. But it takes work and preparation.
Keys to succeeding as a co-parenting father
Being successful as a co-parenting father comes down to a few basic principles – Communication, organization and empathy. Remember that you’re still in a relationship of sorts with your ex, even if you’re no longer partners.
One of the biggest drivers of co-parenting struggles is a lack of communication between parents. Even if you’re not friends with your ex anymore, find a way to be as amicable and non-confrontational as possible. And make sure never to communicate to your ex through the child.
Another pillar of a healthy co-parenting strategy is organization. You’ll likely come up with some kind of calendar for sharing parental duties. Make sure you’re committed to that schedule and document the details in case you need to refer to them. If there are going to be scheduling conflicts or someone needs to switch days, try to figure that out as far in advance as possible.
And if at all possible, try to limit the potential for conflict with your ex. That means doing your part to make your exchanges quick and drama-free. Not airing your disagreements in front of the child or children. And trying to accommodate your ex as much as is feasible for you to do.
If you follow those core principles, you stand a far greater chance of having a healthy and successful co-parenting experience after a divorce.