Separation is an emotional time for families, especially when there are children involved. The Family Law Act states that a child should have a meaningful relationship with both of their parents (save for if there is a risk of family violence, abuse or neglect). This means that after parties separate both parents need to promote a meaningful relationship between the child and the other parent.
This can be difficult as there is often tension between the parties and the reasons for the breakdown in the relationship are fresh in their minds. Although that may be the case, the Family Law Courts’ stance is that parents have obligations to their children and regardless of why the relationship broke down they need to put their personal differences aside and do what is best for the child.
When parents are able to effectively co-parent it is the child that benefits as they see their parents working together as a united front. This provides much needed stability for a child after separation.
At Andersons we understand that getting along with your ex can be a hard task to master and so we’ve compiled some tips to help you co-parent after separation.
Remain child focused
Stop and think about your actions and what impact that will have on your child, not the impact it may have on your ex.
Do not dwell on the breakdown of the relationship and what the other party may have done. Focus on your child’s welfare, stability and happiness and put your child’s needs first.
Separation is not only an emotional time for parents but also for children. Minimising the disruption and impact for the child should be a high priority for both parents.
It is crucial for separated parents to be able to communicate in a respectful and productive fashion.
The parties need to be able to consult with each other enough to make important joint decisions about their child’s future, including decisions about the child’s education and health.
Do not involve the child in disputes
If there is a disagreement between the parties they need to take a mature approach to resolving that dispute.
A parent should never undermine the other parent by involving a child in a dispute.
A child should not be put in a position where they feel as though they need to make a decision to settle a dispute between their parents.
Do a parenting course
Many community services such as Centacare, Relationships Australia and Anglicare run parenting courses to assist families after separating.
There are countless benefits to parents doing parenting courses and in some cases the Family Law Courts will make orders requiring parents to undertake specific parenting courses.
Perform you parenting roles as a team to provide consistency in routine, behaviour, standards and discipline.
Communicate with your ex and agree rules and routines both parties will implement in their household to provide stability and certainty for the child.