5 Ways to Co-Parent with Your Ex-Spouse

 Mighty Mommy shares five important considerations, as backed by the experts, to keep in mind when you co-parent with your ex-spouse.


Cheryl Butler,
Episode #420

#3.  Ask Your Kids What They Need

In one article, authors recommended that you remember to see the situation from your child’s perspective.  Here are the tips they urge you to consider:

  • “I need both of you to stay involved in my life. Please write letters, make phone calls, and ask me lots of questions. When you don’t stay involved, I feel like I’m not important and that you don’t really love me.”
  • “Please stop fighting and work hard to get along with each other. Try to agree on matters related to me. When you fight about me, I think that I did something wrong and I feel guilty.”
  • “I want to love you both and enjoy the time that I spend with each of you. Please support me and the time that I spend with each of you. If you act jealous or upset, I feel like I need to take sides and love one parent more than the other.”
  • “Please communicate directly with my other parent so that I don’t have to send messages back and forth.”
  • “When talking about my other parent, please say only nice things, or don’t say anything at all. When you say mean, unkind things about my other parent, I feel like you are expecting me to take your side.”
  • “Please remember that I want both of you to be a part of my life. I count on my mom and dad to raise me, to teach me what is important, and to help me when I have problems."

We encourage our kids to communicate what they need from both of us, which in turn helps us stay united on the co-parenting front.

Tip #4:  Try Co-Parenting Apps

Being divorced in the 21st century does offer some advantages, thanks to the convenience of today’s technology.  My ex-husband and I are grateful that over the past five years since our divorce, we’ve learned how to communicate with less-heated emotions and can tackle most conversations as if we are business partners trying to stay on task to produce a common goal. 

At the beginning of our post-divorce life, however, our situation was still raw and new, so communicating could often be strained.  With such a large family, the logistics of co-parenting without any consternation was not easy.  For couples who struggle with building an amicable relationship there are some smartphone apps that can ease their burden.  Text messages can replace intense phone calls, shared calendars create clarity around schedules, and a series of easy-to-use apps offer useful tools for everything from sharing custody to tracking expenses.

Our Family Wizard provides parents with a new way to manage all of the details that come with shared parenting. It is a unique website designated to facilitating communications between divorced or separated parents.

Split Wise is an extremely helpful app that helps ex-spouses keep track of all the financial ditties that go along with parenting.  The first year after my divorce, I was quite hyper about storing all my receipts for everything from their haircuts to their orthodontic appointments.  During a good month, I had my bookkeeping in decent order, during a crazy month, I’d be lucky to find many receipts crumpled at the bottom of my pocket book.  This app keeps financial records neatly in tact and organized.

Chore Monster is a fun and useful app that helps keep kids on task with their chores.  My kids don’t live in two homes as the result of our divorce, but now that I am working longer hours I definitely need their help more around the house.  My ex-husband pitches in during the week to oversee some of their daily chores so Chore Monster helps both of us see what they are accomplishing with an electronic points system that kids can access and parents can monitor via a personal computer, iPad or smartphone.

Tip #5:  Respect One Another

In an article written on Divorcemag.com, “The Co-Parenting Relationship,” Darlene Weyburne,  CSW, writes “Developing mutual respect for each other will help make you effective co-parents. Follow the golden rule of co-parenting: treat the other parent like you want to be treated. This can be difficult if he or she doesn't treat you with respect, but keep in mind that you're doing this for your children's survival and happiness --not for the other parent's benefit.”

My ex and I are not always going to agree on everything as we continue to work together to raise our 8 kids, but through our mutual decision to put “kids first,” we are better able to save our differences for just the two of us.  The fact that our family can go about daily life feeling secure and happy, and our children don’t have to worry that my ex-husband and I will be nasty and disrespectful, is a piece of mind to all of us.  

See Also:  10 Essential Parenting Strategies for When Life's Got you Down.

The next topic in Mighty Mommy’s divorce series will be  about getting your finances in order after divorce.

If you have any thoughts or comments about the delicate matter of divorce and the successes or challenges you've had with co-parenting, please share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT.

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About the Author

Cheryl Butler

Cheryl L. Butler is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. Call the Mighty Mommy listener line at 401-284-7575 to ask a parenting question. Your call could be featured on the show!

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