How to co-parent with resorting to court.

Co-parenting family and court

Co-parenting without going to court removes a heap of stress. Here’s how you can do it. 

Angry texts.

Long emails.

Tense doorstep conversations.

Disagreements over childcare.

A family separation can be a traumatic time for you, your ex, and your children. With emotions running high, it  can be easy to communicate badly and default to arguing.  Co-parenting arrangements are often used as weapons in the conflict.

Most parents want long-term happiness for their children above all else. But doing your best to achieve that when things are strained between you and your ex can feel like an uphill battle.


Co-parenting without going to the courts

Finding a way to settle on co-parenting arrangements without going to the courts will alleviate stress for everyone.

What many people don’t realise is that If you go to court, it’s essentially a stranger (the Judge) who will listen to both of you and determine what is best for your child. If you can’t agree together as parents, then you’re effectively handing over all the decision making power over your children, to someone who doesn’t know you. 

If you can have this in mind as something to avoid, then you’re more likely to find a way through together as parents, whatever you may be feeling about each other. 

Working together can also signal to your kids that, although you’re separated, you’re both able to put your differences aside and focus on what’s best for them. It teaches them, that even when things don’t work out, they can still be ok. And that’s an important life lesson.

To minimise the chance of ending up in court, two things are important: 

  • Acknowledge your emotions and how they’re affecting your communication with your ex.
  • Separate out the personal and parental threads of your relationship with your ex.
Recognise the emotions you’re feeling

The end of a relationship is almost always an emotional time. Everybody deals with it differently, but the journey you go on typically involves a range of feelings:

  • Shock
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Sadness
  • Acceptance

Strong emotions can cloud your judgement. They can make it hard to see different perspectives and sometimes lead to saying things you regret.

If you’re able to recognise when you’re feeling a strong emotion, you’ll be able to manage communication more effectively. You might choose to reschedule a meeting if you’re in a particularly angry place or feeling overwhelmed, for example.

By tuning in with your emotions, you’re taking a lead in prioritising calm and effective communication, which is just what’s needed when you’re dealing with conflict.


Distinguish between your personal separation journey and your co-parenting journey

During a family separation you’re dealing with the break-up of your relationship as well as navigating a new family landscape.

Looking forward and laying down the foundations of a positive co-parenting relationship can have a profound positive impact on your children’s lives. To allow you both to focus on this, it helps to separate your new chapter as co-parents from the tangle of your former relationship. 

Imagine yourself redrawing the relationship from a circle where you’re all in it, to a venn diagram where your children are the section that joins you both.

Take some time to answer the following questions, either alone or (if you’re able to) with your ex:

  • What do I want to achieve as a co-parent?
  • How will I redefine the boundaries of my relationship with my ex, now we’re co-parents?
  • How will I rebuild trust with my ex?
  • How will I support a consistent and positive relationship between our children and my ex?
  • How will I communicate with my ex about the kids?
  • How would I like the kids to describe their experience being co-parented in ten years’ time?
  • How will I come to terms with my kids spending time in another home?

Avoiding that day in court to settle co-parenting arrangements can relieve a lot of pressure and stress. At the Co-Parent Way, we support separated parents to become the best co-parents they can be for their children.


Co-parenting online course

Our popular online course helps you succeed at co-parenting whatever you feel about your ex. You’ll develop an understanding of co-parenting, why it can be so hard, the importance of doing it well, and receive lots of practical tools to assist you on your co-parenting journey. Check it out here.

The Co-Parent Way is a registered trademark. All methodologies and intellectual property are not to be reproduced in any way. The Co-Parent Way is a trading name of Rolling Stone Coaching.

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