Children often feel caught in the middle during a divorce. They may feel like they have to take sides, or they may feel like the divorce was their fault. Since divorce can have a major impact on a child's life, it is important for divorcing parents in California to set aside their differences and try to create a parenting plan together. When parents are in agreement about how to raise their child post-divorce, it benefits not just them, but their child as well.
First, parents need to put the child's interests first. Divorce need not be an adversarial winner-take-all endeavor. There are options, such as collaborative law, that help parents reach a workable agreement out-of-court. A parenting plan should not only lay out a clear and fair schedule for child custody and visitation, but it should also include information on how the parents plan to resolve disagreements about the children post-divorce. If parents have a hard time working together personally, their attorneys can negotiate on their behalf.
Also, parents need to respect and support the fact that their ex deserves to have a solid, stable and meaningful relationship with their child. It may be hard, but barring some sort of abuse or danger, parents need to respect each other's right to parent in their own way. Also, parents should not keep secrets from their ex about their child. Both parents need to know what is happening in their child's life. Parents who cannot talk to one another can still share information via a text message or email. That being said, parents should still respect the fact that they each deserve privacy.
In a way, it can help for a spouse to see his or her ex as a "business partner," with the business being the child. Just like business partners want to see the business flourish, so do parents want to see their child flourish, despite their divorce. By treating each other civilly post-divorce and by cooperating with each other despite life's ups and downs, parents can co-parent effectively.
Source: Telegram & Gazette, "Ask Mr. Dad: Putting together a co-parenting plan," Armin Brott, Jan. 22, 2018