The divorce process calls for you to alter the way you parent and raise your children. With your marriage a thing of the past, you’re now responsible for co-parenting alongside your ex.

Even if you and your ex have the same goal of providing your children with stability, co-parenting is likely to cause some tension. Here are five tips you can follow to minimize the impact on your life:

  • Communicate: Clear and effective communication is critical to co-parenting success, so don’t wait to find a channel that allows you to stay in touch. If you can’t speak face-to-face without arguing, use text messages and email to communicate.
  • Stick to your parenting agreement: You have a parenting agreement and visitation schedule for a reason. It’s designed to provide guidance post-divorce so that you and your ex know what you should and shouldn’t do when raising your children.
  • Have some flexibility: Yes, you want to stick to your parenting agreement to the best of your ability, but there will be times when you have no choice but to ask for a change or try to accommodate your ex.
  • Don’t put your children in the middle of your problems: Using your children against your ex isn’t fair to anyone. It will cause more tension between you and your ex, while also placing unnecessary stress on your children.
  • Respect your ex’s time with your children: This is the most difficult thing for some people, because they always want to know what’s going on. For example, if your children are with your ex for the entire weekend, don’t check in too often. It’s okay to do so once or twice, but constant text messages, phone calls and unannounced visits will cause tension.

When you take these steps to minimize tension, you’ll find it easier to co-parent with the idea of providing your children a healthy environment that promotes their growth.

If your ex continually makes decisions out of spite, it is time to review your parenting agreement and visitation schedule. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to request a modification as a means of protecting your legal rights and well-being of your children.