Posted by Gemma Sparks on 27th February 2024
What happens when parenting after divorce becomes difficult?

Parenting after divorce can be a demanding journey, and at times, it may present various challenges that require careful consideration. As a child lawyer with extensive experience in supporting parents through family disputes involving children, I understand the complexities that arise when parenting with an ex-partner becomes difficult.

This blog post focusses on effective strategies and approaches to navigate the challenges of parenting while always prioritising the best interests of the child.

Acknowledging the Challenges

Navigating co-parenting options after divorce can present various challenges, but above all, it’s essential to prioritise your child’s well-being throughout the process.

It’s normal to experience some emotional tensions and that might make it a little tough to interact with your ex-partner amicably. Here are some helpful strategies to make things easier for you.

Maintaining Boundaries and Respect

Focus on parenting when you’re talking with your ex-partner – that way, you keep the conversation centred on your child’s well-being. Try to communicate respectfully and considerately, even when things get a little tough. Most importantly keep arguments away from the children. Your child doesn’t need to see grown-up issues.

Seeking Mediation and Professional Support

When parenting after divorce gets difficult getting a mediator involved can be extremely helpful in promoting productive communication and resolving conflicts. If you are finding the situation personally challenging, you just need someone to talk to or simply need some guidance, professional counselling can be a game-changer too!

Adapting your approach to parenting

Your child’s happiness is what matters most.  Try to offer them all the emotional support they need and create a stable environment by maintaining consistent routines and rules between households.

There are lots of different ways that divorced parents approach child contact. It might be trial and error to find what works for you. If the way you are doing it currently isn’t working you may need to suggest you try other options.

Shared parenting: this is where both parents actively participate in their children’s lives and is the ideal situation.  It helps foster strong bonds and emotional stability.  While shared parenting can be beneficial for many families, it might not work in situations where there is a history of severe conflict between the parents or when one parent is unwilling to cooperate and communicate effectively for the child’s best interests.

Parallel parenting: This approach to shared parenting is an option when maintaining a civil relationship with your ex-partner becomes challenging. It allows parents to interact as little as possible with each other while still nurturing their relationships with their children. It’s an effective way to ensure that despite any difficulties between you and your ex-partner, your child’s well-being remains the top priority. By focusing on independent parenting responsibilities and minimizing direct communication, you can create a stable and supportive environment for your children.

Bird nesting: Bird nesting is another option to consider, offering stability for children as they remain in the family home while parents take turns caring for them.

Rather than the children moving between two separate homes, they remain in the family home while the parents take turns living there and caring for them. The off-duty parent temporarily resides in a separate residence during the time they are not caring for the children. Bird nesting allows children to stay in a familiar environment, attend the same school, and maintain established routines, reducing the upheaval typically associated with divorce.

However, this approach may create confusion for the children due to the lack of a clear separation between the parents’ living arrangements. The ongoing presence of both parents in the family home might inadvertently nurture hopes of reconciliation, which could be challenging for the children further along the separation process.  It also relies heavily on the parents being amicable and financial able to have multiple homes.

Seeking specialist legal advice

When parents find it difficult to agree on crucial matters concerning their children, seeking the assistance of a specialist child lawyer can be incredibly beneficial. An specialist Child Lawyer will support parents to work through the process to achieve the right long-term solution and if necessary how court proceedings might play a part.

Parenting with your ex-partner can be an intricate and sometimes challenging process after divorce or separation. It is essential to recognise and address the difficulties that may arise, while never losing sight of the child’s best interests.

By seeking professional help, maintaining boundaries, and prioritising effective communication, parents can create a supportive parenting style and environment for their child.

Need some advice? Get in touch today

Gemma Sparks is a multiple-award winning Solicitor at The Family Law Company. She leads our Children team and has been recognised by the Devon and Somerset Law Society for her work on Children Law and Domestic Abuse cases.

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