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Some advice for handling parenting duties after a divorce

Parenting in the wake of a divorce is a complex responsibility. You want to keep everything as simple and consistent as possible for the sake of your child, even in the context of a massive change in your life and their life. You also have to think about yourself, and what you need to do to move on from your divorce -- while still giving your son or daughter all of the love and support that they need.

And then, of course, is the matter of interacting and coordinating with your former spouse so that you can take care of your child. Fulfilling your assigned parental responsibilities and adhering to the parenting time schedule (as well as respecting visitation rights) while interacting and coordinating with your ex is an incredibly difficult task to complete.

With all of this in mind, we would like to offer parents a few pieces of advice for addressing your parental responsibilities and parenting time after a divorce:

  • Remain calm and do not argue. Arguing with your former spouse will only complicate your relationship with him or her, while having a detrimental impact on your child. It could also have a negative impact on how "smooth" transitions are from the child staying at your place to bringing the child to your former spouse's place.
  • Your child is not a messenger. You should not tell your son or daughter to pass along information to your former spouse for them. This can create a very uncomfortable dynamic, and it is not fair to your child. Instead, use alternate communication methods to minimize your interactions. Texting and email are great in this regard.
  • Your child is also not an adult. What we mean here is that you should not lean on your child for emotional support in regards to the divorce. You should not trouble your son or daughter with the complexities of your split. And you also should not ask them to perform chores, such as yard work or preparing meals, simply to fill in for what your former spouse used to do.

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