When you have children and are facing divorce, a major milestone in the whole process is coming to an agreement regarding child custody. This means you're able to stick to the basics of the parenting plan while staying civil with your former spouse during child drop-off and pick-up. Of course, it can take time to get to a place where you're comfortable seeing and talking to him or her without ending up in an argument. If you're not quite there yet, these tips can help you through this challenging time.
Keep a Calm, Professional Tone
If the divorce is still fresh, it's difficult to keep emotions at bay. You might have some unresolved issues you never talked about, or maybe you're upset about how your ex has handled life since the divorce. But child pick-up and drop-off is not the place to resolve these problems. You'll likely end up in an argument in front of the children, which is precisely what you don't want. For this reason, you should work on keeping a calm, businesslike attitude when you see your former spouse. Only talk about issues related to the children, such as what you packed for them and when you'll pick them up. If you know you can handle your feelings but you're worried about your ex getting emotional, consider setting up the pick-up and drop-off in a public place so he or she is less likely to make a scene.
Set Up a Routine to Stick to
There's less conversation involved when you have a solid routine that both you and your ex can rely on. This means there's one less thing to argue about. For example, try to schedule child drop-off or pick-up at the same time and location on a regular basis, as this can reduce the chance for confusion. Also, keep your ex informed of the child's activities so he or she knows when to attend games, performances and recitals. You can fill out a digital calendar that you can share with your ex so he or she can never claim you don't keep him or her informed.
Don't Discuss Sensitive Topics
Eventually, you'll be comfortable enough to talk about topics that don't relate to the children. For instance, your ex might tell you about a new job or pet, or something funny that happened to him or her. But avoid the common pitfall of feeling so comfortable with your ex that you start asking about the love life. You might think you can handle it, but you might be surprised at how you take the information. And even if you handle it well, your ex might become upset that you're asking personal questions. This is why it's best to just stick to light topics after your divorce. There might come a time when you both feel comfortable talking about each other's love life, but that's not usually the case until years or even decades have passed. There's no need to risk it just yet, at least not while the children are still young and would be subjected to yet another argument between his or her parents.
Overall, just remember that your interactions with your former spouse affect your children. If you can keep those interactions light and pleasant--not angry or emotional--the whole family will be better off. If you have any questions about custody or visitation issues, or if you need a family law attorney to represent you, come to the Law Offices of H. William Edgar today to get the legal assistance you deserve. We have told clients for years, you have to learn to love your kids more than you hate your ex.