You and your spouse both know that your relationship isn’t salvagable. Maybe there was adultery, or perhaps there was a major issue that arose between you and your spouse. Regardless of how you two feel about one another, however, you will still need to interact regularly for the sake of your children. Courts typically try to create shared custody arrangements, often called co-parenting solutions. Typically, it is in the best interest of the children to remain close to both parents.
Co-parenting is almost always in the best interest of your children. Instead of pushing for sole custody and relegating the other parent to occasional visits, co-parenting equally shares responsibility for a number of important parenting tasks. If you and your former spouse are still having trouble communicating in a healthy way, however, co-parenting could be more difficult than beneficial.
Seeking therapy to parent, not repair your relationship
If you’ve already decided that divorce is the answer, you don’t need to go to therapy to rehash every interpersonal issue you’ve had. In fact, dragging up old wounds and wrong-doing could just make you both angrier and less likely to work together.
The focus of your therapy should be repairing your ability to compromise and communicate. While you may never find yourselves feeling the way you used to about one another, you still need to find common ground for effective parenting. You need to agree on issues like discipline, academic goals and ethics. Therapy can help you both discuss your views, desires and practices and help you figure out what is a workable solution.
Ideally, you and your spouse will be able to find a place where you both respect one another and trust each other to do the best thing for your children. Therapy can help remind you of how your children’s needs must come first and that, despite flaws as a partner, your spouse is trying to be a good parent.
Joint or shared parenting isn’t an easy prospect. Interacting daily with someone you used to be very close with can be difficult. However, with effort and compromise, you can both make it work for the happiness and well-being of your children.
Understanding when co-parenting isn’t going to work
There are rare cases where co-parenting simply isn’t a good option. These could include cases with serious abuse, drug and substance dependence or even chronic gambling. Activities that place your children at risk or destabilize their lives should not get tolerated.
In cases of abuse, you may need to seek a permanent restraining order or request that the courts order supervised visitation. The courts could also order therapy for your spouse that could help resolve other serious concerns, like substance abuse or addictive behavior.