While you may have never expected raising a teenager to be easy, you probably never thought you would be doing so while going through a divorce. Now that you are in this situation, you might not be sure how to move forward. Should you share custody or try to work out a visitation schedule? If you are considering co-parenting, you need to understand how to make it work successfully.
Co-parenting can be a great method for parenting your child after a divorce. However, it requires a certain amount of commitment from you and your ex. You will need to focus on things like communication, expectations and coordination. Read on to learn more about how to make a great co-parenting relationship work.
Talked to your ex lately?
You and your soon-to-be ex-spouse will always share at least one thing in common — your child. Of course, this does not necessarily mean that you will want to keep talking to them, but you absolutely should if you want to co-parent. Wondering why you cannot rely on your teen to keep both of you up to date on his or her life? Well, teens are not exactly known for being forthcoming.
Your child might seem more responsible than the average teenager, but that does not mean you should expect him or her to act like an adult just yet. He or she could be acting one way with your ex and another way with you. Maybe you know about a problem with friends at school that your ex should also know about but does not. Never assume that you are getting the exact same information. Instead, commit to communicating about the important things going on in your child’s life.
What do you expect?
Do you have regular expectations at home? Maybe you expect your teen to come home from school and start on homework right away, or to take a break and worry about schoolwork after dinner. These might seem like insignificant details, but giving your child consistent expectations at both homes can be an invaluable gift.
Teenagers who are in reliable, steady situations are more likely to build their identity by experimenting in safe ways. When things are unstable, teenagers are more likely to experiment with risky or unsafe behaviors. Putting in the extra effort to maintain regular, consistent guidance and expectations in both households can help foster your child’s sense of self in a much safer way.
What happened to coordination?
When your child was younger, you probably always knew how he or she was getting to school, a friend’s house or back home. Now that your teen is testing the waters of independence, you might find yourself left out of the loop a little more. Unfortunately, teens are likely to take advantage of situations in which their parents are unsure of their location or how they are getting back home. Coordinating pick-ups and drop-offs with your ex will help limit these opportunities.
It is important to give your child custody agreement a healthy amount of attention during your divorce. But no matter how much you want to, doing so can be hard when you are also trying to think about things like property division, child support and alimony. This is why it is best to work with a knowledgeable Indiana attorney who is prepared to guide you through creating your co-parenting agreement.