When people get divorced and have a joint legal and physical custody plan, we often refer to their new roles as “co-parents” post-divorce. There are some couples who embrace co-parenting as a friendly endeavor for two people who are happy to remain as parents together but no longer want to be spouses; and there are other couples who want more of a separation with their ex even if they need to co-parent. So what if one spouse wants to be friendly and the other does not? I advise my clients to start off the co-parenting relationship as cordial business associates: respectful but fact-driven, considerate but not involved.
It is difficult for the parent wanting more of a friendly relationship with their ex to understand why the two can’t simply stop being spouses but continue as supportive co-parents, but the truth is that divorce is often not the same for both of the parties involved. Usually one spouse is more inclined to want the divorce while the other is resistant; usually one is the leaver and the other feels left behind. So to move to the next stage of the relationship, as strained and strange as it may be to step so far away from someone you once cared about enough to have a child with, it is important to respect the boundaries of the more resistant parent.
Be assured that this separation does not always last forever and your efforts to respect the other person’s boundaries can go a long way to moving you forward quicker; but in the meantime understand what you are dealing with and act appropriately. Find out information from schools and activities on your own. Sign up for school newsletters and websites, schedule play dates and activities on your time by yourself. You need to embrace your new parenting responsibilities as a single parent. It may not be easy at first, but it will get better over time and so, hopefully, will your co-parenting relationship with your ex-spouse.
For these or other family law issues, please contact a family law attorney at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal, P.C.