Hey there. My beautiful friend. How are you doing today? So let’s see what’s going on with me real quick. Um, it’s volleyball season. My daughter, Megan, she’s my middle daughter. She’s playing D one volleyball for a Walford college in Spartanburg, South Carolina. So we have been going up there most weekends, I go with my husband, Jeff and my ex-husband Sam, and we all like, you know, watch the games and it’s such a fun game to watch, you know, I’ve been doing some life coaching on Megan.
Um, she’s doing much better. You know, life is a balance of 50 50, and sometimes you win the game and sometimes you lose the game. Right? It’s what you do when you lose what I try to explain to her how you learn and grow and become a better player. Just like I try to teach you in life. What if I told you that your divorce could end up being one of the best things that could happen to you?
I’m Doreen, Yaa, marital, and family, lawyer, and certified life coach. I’ve been coaching and consulting women for over 26 years. I’ve seen it all. Now I’m sharing my expertise and my own personal experiences to help you turn a difficult time into your amazing divorce. So today I wanna talk about co-parenting with your ex the X that you like, or you dislike or hurt you, and maybe you can’t even stand.
I mean, like, is it possible. and the, the quick answer is yes, it is. As a marital and family lawyer, as you know, practicing like over 27 years, I have to tell you that one of the things that totally totally breaks my heart more than anything else is when parents of divorce place their child in the middle of their emotional baggage or hate, you know, that they have for each other.
and whether they do it consciously or subconsciously, it’s just horrific. And the person that suffers the most is your child, you know, after the divorce is over and things start to settle down a bit. The question is how do you start to work to build a functioning co-parenting relationship with your ex.
You know, what does that look like? My ex Sam and I, as I brought up before other episodes were what I refer to as pretty much. Hey, I’m gonna just say it. The poster co-parents to our three girls after we divorced, you know, while it wasn’t always easy. We worked at maintaining a friendly relationship after our divorce and worked together, keeping the girls best interests as the priority.
Irrespective. Yes. Irrespective how we may have felt about each other. and let me tell you, as our girls are now a majority 23, 21 19, we still co-parent because as those of you with young adult children know, just because they reach that magical age of majority, generally 18 in most states. That doesn’t mean you’re not still involved in parenting together and certain aspects of their lives.
Look, I get that. Most of you likely don’t have the type of relationship that I had and continue to have with Sam, Sam and I, along with my husband, Jeff, you know, we do dinners together and we spend time with the girls. at one place, you know, my girls don’t wanna be going to see me for dinner when we’re up in Spartanburg and then going to second dinner with him.
I mean, phages don’t have time for that. So totally works out. Good for us. I know that you may not get to that relationship with your ex, but the children seeing you together, getting along and sharing time together just makes it easier on everyone. But before I continue, let me say that I have to admit my life.
Coaching work on myself is likely what helped to promote a better relationship with. And our co-parenting together since our divorce in 2008. And so I have a little bit of an advantage that way, and yes, it takes time and work and effort. You see, for me as a coach, I learn to apply all the things I talk with.
You. and the work has paid off my girls, or should I say our girls? Hey, that’s something to think about when you talk about your kids, try to use the hour and not the, my so common and so easy to do. Anyhow, our girl, our girls are doing really well. I mean, knock on wood, you know, you never know. Every day what’s gonna happen and you worry about them, but pretty much they’re doing okay.
I think a lot of that is contributed to the way that Sam and I conducted ourself after our divorce. With them and with each other. So I worked on my thoughts about Sam and us together as co-parents and I consider him a good friend. And let me tell you something, getting along with a co-parent with your ex makes your life so much easier.
My beautiful friend, because it takes a village. To what, raise a family to raise a child the more help and assistance from your ex, the better for you and the better of course, for your child. Even if you’re not friendly with your ex today, it’s okay. It may not be realistic for some of you and I totally get that, but you can still be a great co-parent anyway, and you could still work on managing your.
And your actions for the sake of your child. You be, you may be saying to me, uh, Doreen, like really, but you don’t know my ex look, I get that. It can be hard. And depending on why you divorced or whatever happened, maybe hard to set aside because the pain can be really deep and. I wanna strive with our time together to start setting you free from all those thoughts and feelings that just don’t serve you or your child.
I want you to live the life. You truly want the life you deserve. The life. Your child deserves divorce is a time to reinvent yourself and to stop living the negative story of the marriage that ended. And that includes as parents together. You know, when I was putting my notes together and doing some research for this episode, I stumbled upon what has fondly become known as concept of consciously uncoupling or conscious uncoupling?
Heard of it. You may have heard about this with celebrities like Gweneth Alro and Chris Martin. They actually were verbal with the world when they decided to divorce that it was all about their children and that they would do what they needed to do to work with each other and have a good relationship for their two children.
The kids being the reason that they would continue their co-parenting together in. Of their decisions, divorce, and they vowed to do it in a loving way with each. Now again, I get that most divorced parents didn’t go through conscious uncoupling, loving divorce as that is at one end of the spectrum. The question is how do you start to rebuild your parenting relationship with your ex under your circumstance, your circumstance, your ex, your divorce is unique to.
The first thing is to realize that what you are shooting for is developing a co-parenting relationship with your ex that works for you, for your family, for your children. For me, it was pretty easy. I mean, I have to admit Sam is, was, and has always been an amazing, like 10 outta 10 dad. , but for you, it may be very different.
It may be that your ex wasn’t such a great dad or parent while you were married. And so for you, it may be that you can only achieve a level of friendly respect for your ex as a parent to your child and you know what that’s okay. But what if you have an ex that doesn’t want to work with you or has mental health issues, how do you deal with.
Well, it may be that your level of co-parenting may be at a much more minimum level than Sam and I or Gwen and David. The goal is to be able to make some small, small movement, one step at a time towards a decent or even just non-confrontational post divorce. Co-parenting relat. And if your ex is not willing or mentally able to play nice, then at least, you know, that you tried for the child’s sake, if nothing more, unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, but then again, we could argue that in a perfect world, you wouldn’t have gotten divorced in the first place and all marriages would be perfect.
And the happily ever after that is just a false. Your goal. Repeat after me. Isn’t to turn your ended marriage into a great friendship in order for your new post divorce co-parenting relationship to work, you may have left your marriage. Like I said, feeling with a lot of anger and pain and resentment towards your ex.
The question is how you move on and heal. And at the same time, encourage good and successful. Co-parent. So they may seem like opposites to you, but they really are very different objectives. And so that’s where you start by understanding that your relationship with your ex as a co-parent is just that about your child together is just separate as to the focus, the focus being on your child and your child’s future.
And doing what’s best for him or her. And that’s the difference you see, it’s not even necessary. Like I said to like your ex to make it work. Why? Because it’s not about you, it’s about your child. And if you’re ever going to be able to co-parent effectively and move forward, you have to make the effort.
So let’s pretend for a moment that you have. This like amazing job that you landed and you are like, this place is great and you see a real future there. And let’s further assume that your boss assigns you to work on a project with a coworker that you don’t particularly. You find her to be annoying, bossy and a bit abrasive, and just someone that you don’t wanna spend a lot of time with.
Well, I wanna suggest to you that you wouldn’t go in to see your boss and say, Hey, listen, boss, man, or woman I can’t work with so and so her and I just don’t get along. And so I quit. That would make no sense, right? Absolutely no sense. what is the expression cut off your nose despite your face, but isn’t your child, your job in essence, you signed up for being a parent, which is your job.
And so your ex is your co-parent your coworker in raising your child. So just like you wouldn’t quit a job you love because you have to work with someone you don’t like, it’s the same thing and likely. I know it’s true. Your child is way, way more important than your job, right? So my suggestion is that you can’t just quit as being parents to your child.
You’re in it together. Making the best of it is just what makes sense. Remember also that your child didn’t sign up for having parents that are divorced. You have to keep that in mind as well. Your child is dealing with a whole new exist. After your marriage ended, everything you do, every act you take or don’t take with your ex should be about your child for them and their best interest.
You know, I recall a therapist I hired in a really, really tough custody case I had, and she said, That the child sees himself through his parent, meaning that when one parent lashes out name calls, bad mouth acts disrespectful to the other parent ignores the other parent. The child thinks that something is wrong with them because the child identifies as being part of both mom and dad.
That they also may have done something wrong is what the child is thinking to. Cause the strife between the parents kind of made a lot of sense to me at that time. And it still makes a lot of sense. Now, let me give you some small things, a triumph for size as to how you might start to move. Even if it’s just little baby steps forward in creating a better co-parenting relationship with your ex for the sake of your child.
Awesome. Listen, let’s just talk about this. Kids are super, super smart. And if parents are not getting along, in many cases, the child will start playing one against the other. My son, my stepson, Spencer did this a lot with Jeff and his ex, but you know, they’ll say something like, Hey, at mom’s place, I get to stay up to.
PM. And at your place, I have to go to bed at eight or dad lets me eat cake before dinner. You know what I mean? It’s better for children to have as much consistency in both households. As the parents can figure out together to be parents that are unified together and make a front. Hey, if you ever have real challenges with your child, I’m talking big issues.
This is gonna be really, really important. And it’s important, anyhow, but I want you to remember that you can’t control your ex you can’t control how he co-parents. So keep them in mind as well. We talk about that when we talk about the manual. So, if you need to listen to that episode again, please go back and listen, you can’t control him or her.
All you can do is try things on for size and make the first effort and do it from a place of kindness for your child’s sake. So before we finish up, let me give you some quick things to consider and triumph for size. model respect, no matter what happens, have integrity and respect for how you behave or react because you can control that part of it.
Remember, you don’t have to like your ex, but you have to respect that he or she is also apparent to your child, the more respectful, the relationship between your ex and you, the more comfortable your child will be moving into their new life. After the divorce, you know, reach search shows that bringing children into adult drama can lead to feelings of helpless.
And insecurity causing children to question their own strengths and abilities. Number two, treat your co-parent like a business partner. Keep your emotions in check and don’t jeopardize the good of the bigger picture. Your child by acting UN unprofessional. You have a job together, a child you decided to have together, and it’s your job to raise your child with the best chance of.
Three keep the good communication flowing communication is important in a co-parenting relationship. Hell it’s important in all relationships, right. And keeping it just about the child. Is totally, totally. Okay. You don’t have to go out to dinner with your ex, like Sam and I do. And Jeff. Okay. But being able to check in with your ex about how the kids are doing when they’re with you or with him is okay.
If there is an issue in one home that is not properly communicated and addressed with the other parent, this could have a profound impact, not only on your child, but on your ex’s ability to trust you. Number four use tools to help you to keep you and your ex in check and organized kids are busy nowadays.
We’re busy. You know, there are programs such as in Florida, we have our family wizard, which is like an APPT where parents communicate exchange info and have a shared calendar. It keeps things organized and. Five, please, please, please pick your battles. Don’t sweat the small things and try to stay out of court with post judgment custody issues.
If you can avoid it at all. You know, when I say don’t sweat the small things, if your ex wants to feed your child, McDonald’s, that’s not something that you should get all uptight about. I eat super clean. I get that. But you gotta think about picking your battles. The courts are not equipped to micromanage your post divorce relationships and having litigated forever litigation.
In many cases. Can fuel and cause further distance between parents. However, I wanna say this with a caveat. If you have an issue that mandates action like abuse or harm to your child, obviously your first priority always has to be your child’s safety above all outs. If you can’t make things work and find a mature, respectful balance with.
Just promise me this one thing, do not ever, please, under any circumstance, let your child become upon or an audience for your feelings about your ex. You may be hurting about your divorce and I get that and we can work on that and we will. Work on it, you and me together, but your child does not have to carry this burden for you.
Okay. So listen, my friends, my beautiful friends, one step at a time, things can change and sometimes they change slowly and sometimes a little faster. And. Yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce have a most amazing and blessed week until next time.
And until next time, have an amazing rest of the day. And remember. Yes, you can. Bye everybody. Thanks so much for listening for tips, updates, and expert advice. Be sure to visit your amazing divorce.com. And remember my friends. Yes, you can have an amazing life after divorce. See you. Views expressed by the participants of this program are their own and do not represent the views of nor are they endorsed by YFA family law group or your divorce law center, their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives.
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