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Make Co-Parenting Work

Whether or not you get along with your ex, co-parenting can be difficult and cause tension that may or may not already have existed. Here are some tips to making co-parenting work without hostility, and more importantly, without negatively affecting your child.

  • Don’t criticize the things you cannot control. Learn to accept that your ex’s parenting style or skills may be different than yours. It’s easy to spend a lot of time and energy being aggravated by the things they do or don’t do, but accepting the things you cannot change will save you a great deal of stress, both emotionally and physically. Instead, channel this energy into spending quality time with your children.
  • If you have any angry feelings, keep them to yourself or express them privately to a therapist or close friend. When you are with your kids, do not express your frustrations. Showing the kids you are angry at your ex can cause confusion from the children and can be unhealthy for them to be exposed to. Kids tend to pick up attitudes that you may not realize your expressing.
  • Be sure to cooperate with each other as much as possible to avoid any resentment or argument. Be consistent in your parenting styles by communicating and compromising on ways to punish or reward your child for certain behaviors so that the child doesn’t think they can get away with something with one parent that they may not be able to with another without consequence.
  • When it comes to following a visitation schedule, always be responsible in maintaining the plan of visits. If changes need to be made, discuss it with the other parent in advance.
  • Do not make your children the middle form of communication. Sending messages through your children can hurt the child and confuse them. All communication should only be done between parents.
  • Even if it is your time with the kids, make a point to invite the other parents to events that involve the child, such as sporting events, holiday gatherings and birthday parties. Inform your ex in a timely matter so it doesn’t appear to be a last-minute thought that they weren’t a part of before.

Co-parenting and other elements of child custody cases can be stressful and confusing. An experienced Glendale divorce lawyer at The Sampair Group will look at the unique circumstances of your child custody agreement and work with you to reach the best possible outcome. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Always Help With Homework
Even if you are not the custodial parent, try to have your kids do their homework with you. This is helpful so you know how they are progressing in school and help with any big projects they may have.

Plan Out The Year
Sit down with each other in the late summer a few weeks before school begins to lay out a schedule and other plans on a calendar to plan the entire school year. Don’t forget to include on this calendar any sports or other school activities that the child will be a part of. The more organized you are, the less confusion and stress there will be.

Buy Extra
Buy duplicate used schoolbooks so the child has one at each home. This way they don’t have to constantly remember to bring a huge load of books from one place to another.

Divide Duties
Before school begins, decide which parent will be responsible for the different parts of getting your child ready to begin, including who will buy school supplies, back-to-school clothes, etc. You should each be pitching in the same amount of time and money.

 

Back to School Tips for Divorced Parents (Part 1)

Co-parenting is a full time job in itself, and adding a school schedule into the mix doesn’t make things any easier. As a divorced parent going through these struggles, it is also important to know that the start of the school year is just as stressful for your children as it is for you, if not more. But there are plenty of ways to make the back-to-school experience easier for your children and both parents.

Communicate
Keep up with constant communication with your ex-spouse about all school activities, correspondences and any other information regarding your child’s schooling. Both of you must always be in the loop equally. Never use your child as a form of communication between the two of you.

Scheduling
Make sure to coordinate each of your schedules so that it is guaranteed that your child will have a ride to/from school or to other school activities.

Keep Teachers In The Loop
Be sure that the school has record of both parents taking care of the child separately, in case of emergency. Also, if there is one parent that is not involved, be sure to inform the teachers. This can help them avoid any embarrassing situations (i.e. inviting a child to a “Dad’s Day” event if their father is not in the picture.)

Keep It Simple
Some children may be confused about how to explain their situation to their friends. Simply tell them that they can explain that sometimes they live with mom, and sometimes they live with dad.

Read more in Part 2

 

Helping Kids Adjust To Your New Blended Family

Glendale, Arizona divorce lawyerWith the divorce rates so high, it’s no surprise that more kids than ever are experiencing the new transition of being a part of a blended family if one or both of their parents remarries. Blended families can be complicated to navigate, but there are ways to ensure that your children (and you) are a part of a happy home.

After a divorce, the transition into a blended family can cause conflict or discomfort. Your children may have trouble to adjusting to following the rules that their new stepparent puts forth or they might not be bonding right away with their new siblings. There are some tips you can follow in order to make this transition smooth and helpful for all involved to cope with these new, big changes.

Keep Your Children Involved
Remarriage and a transition into a new life is a big one, but don’t forget to include your child at all times where it is appropriate. If your new family is moving into a new home, leave room for your child to voice their opinions on their own living situations, such as their bedroom. If they are used to having their own room and all of a sudden now must share with their new sibling, you need to talk with them beforehand and have a long discussion about the new changes, always leaving plenty of room for them to voice their concerns. Take into consideration what they are saying and do what you can to reassure them that you will do your best to make it a smooth transition for them. Keep them up to date with everything new happening so there aren’t any surprises.

Be Patient
Patience is huge when it comes to something so new like this for your children. It is natural to want to see your children and your new stepchildren get along as quickly and as best as possible, but know that it will take time and don’t force it. Allow your children to feel out the situation themselves and go at their own pace when it comes to bonding with their new siblings. Discover any common interests that they all may have and try and organize activities they will all enjoy without forcing too much planning down their throats. Let them adjust at their own pace, even if it’s not fast enough for you.

Support Children Living in Two Separate Households
Doing the back-and-forth, parent-to-parent thing is difficult for children, and often they will be transitioning between two sets of stepparents and step siblings. This transition can be overwhelming, and as a parent it is your job to ease the stress. The night before your child leaves your house to go to the other house, talk to them about how they are feeling, if they need to pack anything for any special events coming up in the week, and anything else they may want to talk to you about before leaving for a few days. Your child may also feel like they will be missing out on any activities while they are gone, so it is important to assure them that they will have a great time when they leave.

Keep Biological Family Bonds Close
With so many new changes to their family and the addition of not only a new parent but likely new siblings as well, your child may start to feel somewhat disconnected from their other biological parent. Always be sure that your child has access to their parent if they need to talk or anything, and don’t make them feel like they can only now go to their stepparent for the needs that their biological parents are supposed to help fulfill.

For more information on co-parenting and helping your child transition into a new family life, contact the Glendale family law attorneys at The Sampair Group. Visit www.sampair.com for more information and a free consultation.

Big Co-Parenting “No-No’s”

divorce attorney Glendale ArizonaThe “what not to do” lists for divorce and anything related to family law can get quite extensive, possibly even never-ending. There are no exact rules to follow and no way to do anything specifically correct or perfect, as every situation is different. However, there are some mistakes that all parents should avoid after getting a divorce if they want to always ensure that the best interests of a child are met after their parents’ divorce. Here are some common blunders that parents make when it comes to co-parenting, that you should try your best to avoid.

Asking Your Kids About Their Time Away
Obviously as a concerned parent that cares about your child you want to know what they are up to when they are not with you, especially when they are at the other parent’s house. But you should not be grilling your kids for information on their time with the other parent. Doing so could make them feel as if they are betraying their other parent or worry that they will give you information that could potentially lead to an argument. Keep your questions simple and generic, such as “how was your weekend?” Let it be up to your child if they want to tell you any details about what they do when they are away.

Dragging Children Into Your Problems
Easier said than done, but you should always put priority on making sure that your child is not dragged into any drama related to the divorce or any following situations as you try and co-parent successfully. Your emotions may sometime get the best of you, but your child should not suffer from this. You are the adult, and they are the child. They did not cause this situation and they did not ask for it, and it’s likely that they are having quit a difficult time with the big changes happening. As a result, children of divorce will need a solid support system where security is promised.

Letting Your Kids Manipulate The Situation
It’s common that your kids may play you and your ex off each other to get something they want. They can get away with this often if you and your ex are not in consistent communication. Having two homes may sometimes mean that a child gets twice the stuff, such as allowance money or other goodies. They may also try and say that one parent said something they want to do is okay so that the other parent will also approve, but this may not always be the case. You should always confirm with the other parent before letting your child do something. You may not be surprised to find out the child was telling a little fib to get their way.

Showing Up Late, Often Changing Schedule
When you are a co-parent, you have the luxury of a flexible schedule. This is especially nice when you have a cooperative co-parent that works with you if work demands or social events call for minor changes in the schedule. Don’t take for granted when your ex is willing to rearrange your visitation agreement for your sake, and if they need the same, comply with them. A common mistake parents will do, however, is take advantage of this flexibility. If you are going to be late, always call ahead. Never assume that you can just switch days of seeing your child at the drop of a hat because “something came up.” The more you do this, the more unreliable of a parent you look.

Child custody and family law can be tricky, especially without legal guidance. Contact a family law attorney at The Sampair Group for assistance. Visit www.sampair.com for a free consultation.