This second article in the series continues with advice to help give your children the life after divorce they deserve. The quality of their lives is at least as important as, or maybe even more important, than yours.
They have done nothing to cause the breakdown of your relationship and deserve to be your highest priority in your new life after divorce.
We agree to respect the other parent's time with our children and not interfere with the scheduled agreement
When a divorce takes place the couple is clearly saying that they no longer want to share their lives together. You now each have a separate life after divorce. However, if you have children then they are a major aspect of your lives that you will have to share. The best advice here is to decide between you how you will allocate the time to be spent between you and then stick to that arrangement.
If these arrangements are always subject to last minute alteration your children can become pawns in this process and be used as the means by which one parent can get back at the other. Every request for a change in the arrangements can become a struggle and an opportunity for one parent to conduct a power play against the other. Don't go there. Reliability and consistency are the key elements of successful shared parenting.
We agree to respect the other parent's parenting style
In some cases this can be a real problem where there are different views and ideas on how to bring up their children. As a parent you will want consistency in your children's life after divorce despite them spending time in two different homes. If there is a serious degree of difference in parenting style you will have to negotiate with each other to reduce the difference as much as possible and then agree to differ on those areas where no agreement can be reached.
Having two parenting styles is very unsettling for the children as they are constantly having to adapt to a different regime. This can lead to conflict which may be avoided if they can be included in the decisions and helped to understand that there are mummy's rules in her house and daddy's rules in his house. It's not a great solution but at least there is a measure of clarity as to how life after divorce is going to work.
Any disagreements or areas of conflict will be discussed in private at previously agreed communication times
There will inevitably be issues which need to be dealt with through discussion between you. It is a very good idea to agree specific times in advance when these can take place in a relaxed and private space. A good walk in the countryside or a local park provides a good environment for this. There will inevitably have to be compromises. If neither of you is prepared to concede something then agreement will never be reached and the conflict, stress and your unhappiness will escalate.
The only advice is never to do this either in front of the children or within their earshot. They need to heal from the trauma of the divorce and all the marital strife that led up to it. They must be given a chance to recover without being constantly reminded of your continued animosity. If they are not shielded from this it will prolong the effects of the divorce and could even cause a split in the family making the children take sides as to which parent is to be ‘blamed' for the divorce. This will make everyone's life a whole lot worse.