When you and your spouse decide it is time to file for divorce, the coming weeks and months may not be filled with the warmest of feelings for each other. That doesn't mean you have to be combative and upset with each other all the time -- but, it is unlikely you'll be going out to the movies together and sharing a fine meal afterwards.
While this dynamic is "ok" -- if not expected in most divorce cases -- the dynamic changes when a child is involved. Now it's no longer just about you and your feelings of heartbreak. You have to consider your son or daughter, and how they are coping with this major change in their life. You and your spouse have to be a team without being the legally-recognized team you once were in order to make a child custody arrangement work.
So how do divorced spouses do this? How are they supposed to work together after they just filed paperwork that effectively says "I don't want to work together anymore"?
It certainly takes some effort from both parties, but the maybe the most important aspect to co-parenting is coming to grips with the uncomfortable nature of the situation. Co-parenting is hard, and admitting it up front gives the two of you some common ground that can help foster an amicable relationship for the sake of your son or daughter.
There will come times where you may want to disparage your spouse in front of your child. Don't do it. There will be times where you make a mistake or your spouse makes a mistake, and you'll instinctively get upset. Don't do it. And there will be times where you want to break the schedule you and your spouse have agreed to. Again -- don't do it.
Go about your co-parenting in a respectful and proper manner, and you'll be surprised how stress-free the process can be.
Source: Huffington Post, "9 Ways to Co-Parent Like a Grown-Up," Emma Bathie, March 28, 2014