How to co-parent effectively
It can be difficult to co-parent effectively, especially if you are not on good terms with your ex. However, it is important to try to make things work for the sake of your children. Here are some tips for how to co-parent effectively:'
1. Communicate with your ex. This is important for making decisions about your children and for coordinating schedules. Try to be respectful and understanding, even if you don't see eye to eye on everything. I recommend using the BIFF method, which stands for brief, informative, friendly, and firm. An example of the BIFF method would be as follows: Dear Sarah, please bring Johnny's baseball mitt to the game at 6:00 p.m. today, he forgot it at our last exchange. Another example of the BIFF method would be: Dear Joe, Suzie woke up with a fever. I have called the pediatrician and scheduled her an appointment for 3:00 p.m. today. Please let me know if you will be at the appointment as well, and if not, I will text you an update after the appointment.
2. Put your children first. It's important to remember that your children should be your number one priority. Try to work together with your ex for their sake, and avoid fighting or arguing in front of them. Do not say negative things about the other parent in front of your children or allow someone else to do so. Likewise, if you or your ex cannot act cordially at exchanges, you should consider meeting at a public place to hopefully curb bad behavior at parenting exchanges.
3. Keep a flexible schedule. Things will inevitably come up that can disrupt your parenting schedule. Try to be flexible and work with your ex to accommodate changes.
4. Seek help if needed. If you are struggling to co-parent effectively, don't be afraid to seek out professional help. There are many resources available to help you and your ex work through your differences. It is better to discuss the issues early on with a divorce attorney than to wait until there are months or years of resentment built up between you and your ex.
5. Use a co-parenting app. There are several apps that you can use to help communicate more effectively with your ex. The apps are helpful because they are easier to use in court (can download entire contents of conversations versus "screen shots"), shared calendars, and the ability to send and pay shared bills for the children like medical bills and costs for extracurricular activities. Some of the more common co-parenting apps include: Our Family Wizard, Coparenter, AppClose, and 2Houses.