Moving forward after a divorce can be challenging, especially for parents who need to establish new living situations and determine how they will share the responsibility of raising their children. For divorcing parents in Wisconsin, it is important to establish positive co-parenting relationships, which will ensure that both parents can continue to play an active role in their children’s lives. While co-parenting may present its own set of challenges, with effective communication and cooperation, parents can make sure they are acting in their children’s best interests when sharing custody and physical placement.

As you work to address legal issues related to care of your children during your divorce, an experienced attorney can help you create a parenting agreement that will allow you to co-parent your children effectively. As you address these concerns, you can do the following to make sure your family will be able to succeed in the years ahead:

Establish Clear Communication Channels

Open and honest communication is one of the keys to successful co-parenting. By establishing rules for how you and your ex-spouse will communicate with each other to discuss child-related issues, you can make sure you will be able to work together to co-parent your children. You may choose to communicate through phone calls, text messages, emails, or even dedicated parenting apps. By finding the methods that work best for your situation, you can make sure important information about your children will be shared promptly.

Create Consistent Rules and Schedules

To provide stability for your children as they divide their time between two households, try to establish consistent rules and routines as much as possible. Discuss discipline methods, daily routines, and other rules with your ex-spouse, and make sure your children will know what to expect. This will help minimize confusion for the children and promote a more harmonious environment.

Show Respect Towards Your Ex-Spouse

Demonstrating a positive attitude toward the other parent can go a long way in creating a good atmosphere for co-parenting. Avoid bad-mouthing or complaining about your ex in front of your children, and make sure your children are not exposed to any arguments or conflicts, as this can cause unnecessary distress and confusion. Remember that maintaining respectful interactions serves as an example for healthy relationships, which will ultimately benefit your kids.

Encourage Your Children to Discuss Their Emotions

Your divorce is likely to provoke many strong emotions for you and your children, including anger, sadness, guilt, or confusion. Encourage open discussions about emotional issues with your kids and provide them with a safe space to express their feelings. Validate their emotions and show empathy, as this will help them cope better with the divorce and adjust to living in two homes. Make sure to emphasize that your children are not in any way responsible for the divorce.

Be Flexible

While it is essential to follow your physical placement schedule, as mandated by court order, you and your ex may need to adjust this schedule at times. Provided that all parties agree to a one-time change in the physical placement schedule, it may be possible to make these adjustments. Holidays, birthdays, vacations, and other special days can sometimes be challenging, and being willing to negotiate and compromise on these days can ensure that your children will be able to spend time with both parents without feeling torn between the two of you. By putting your children’s best interests first, you can set an example that will benefit them in the long run.

Promote Healthy Parent-Child Communication

You and your ex can encourage healthy relationships by speaking positively about each other in front of your kids. It is crucial to foster an environment where children feel comfortable talking openly about their experiences at either home, without fear of judgment or criticism. By avoiding any actions that could be seen as interfering with the other parent’s time with your children or attempting to damage parent-child relationships, you can sidestep conflict and make sure your children’s best interests will be protected.

Seek Professional Help When Needed

If conflicts arise regarding child custody or co-parenting, you may want to work with a qualified family therapist or mediator who can assist in resolving these issues and promoting healthy relationships. These professionals can help you find solutions that will allow you to maintain a positive co-parenting relationship and focus on meeting your children’s needs. You may also seek individual therapy to help work through emotional issues related to your divorce, and your children may also benefit from seeing a family counselor.

Contact Our Milwaukee Child Custody Lawyers

At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our Milwaukee, WI, family law attorneys work with divorcing parents to address issues related to child custody and co-parenting. We can help you create a parenting agreement that will meet your family’s needs and protect your children’s best interests. To set up a free consultation, contact our firm at 414-271-1440.