Divorce can be terribly painful, but that doesn't mean your child should suffer the fallout. Your child has the right to a loving and nurturing environment, even as your marital relationship transitions into co-parenting.
Think of the children
Consider your child's Bill of Rights as you learn to co-parent with your ex.
What is co-parenting?
Co-parenting is a parenting situation that occurs when the parents of a child are not married or intimately involved. More often than not, the arrangement occurs following a divorce or separation. Co-parenting is based upon the assumption that both parents have equal responsibility for a child's upbringing, regardless of their relationship with one another. It requires parents to communicate with one another about their child's activities, concerns and discipline.
Unfortunately, co-parenting is often easier said than done, because parents can find it challenging to communicate effectively with one another when they're still dealing with the pain of a breakup. But even though it's challenging, you still need to try. The well-being of your child depends upon your ability to communicate effectively with your ex, unless there's a reason for him to be completely removed from your child's life.
Jacqueline Newman of the law firm Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd works with divorcing couples on a regular basis, and she emphasizes the importance of healthy communication and co-parenting through a breakup. "Children are incredibly perceptive. They can tell when there's tension in the room," she said. "That's why it's so important for the well-being of your children during the divorce process and afterwards to treat your child's other parent with respect and civility. Act like adults — so the children can continue to be children."
Children's Bill of Rights
Of course, emotions can run high following a divorce — which can interfere with the intentions of even the best parents. Newman provided us with the following Children's Bill of Rights as a starting point for co-parenting with your ex.
Each child shall have the right:
How to find help
Even if you understand your child's rights, it's not always easy to practice co-parenting with an ex-husband. After all, there's a reason you're not married anymore. If you want to abide by the Children's Bill of Rights but it's not going well, consider the following action steps.
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