For many couples going through a divorce, one of the strongest desires and impulses they experience will be to completely sever their relationship and communication with their ex. Cutting someone out of your life makes it easier to grieve the relationship and move on with your life. Unfortunately for couples with children, such a clean break is usually not feasible.

Regardless of how much one parent may want custody of the children, unless the other parent chooses not to pursue their parental rights or there are extreme circumstances like abuse or addiction that compel the courts to relegate one parent to visitation only, shared or joint custody scenarios are usually the outcome in modern Minnesota divorces.

In other words, while you may no longer be spouses, you and your ex will always be co-parents. Accepting that fact can make it easier for the two of you to develop a healthy relationship.

A positive attitude can go a long way toward rebuilding your relationship

Co-parenting involves sharing the responsibilities of caring for, educating and supporting your children. Too many divorced parents turn co-parenting into a contentious battle royale when it should really be a supportive and positive relationship.

While you may know that your ex wasn’t an ideal spouse for you, try to focus on their strengths as a parent and encourage them. By accepting co-parenting as the most reasonable outcome and focusing on keeping things calm and healthy, you and your ex can take a lot of the stress off of your children during and after the divorce.

Good communication and boundaries will be key to success

No matter how calm and positive you try to be during interactions with your ex, they will sometimes, inevitably, have significant disagreements about parenting. Whether you have opposing opinions about certain vaccinations or disagree about how many extracurricular activities are appropriate at a given age, you need to have a system in place to calmly communicate with each other.

Creating rules for when you have disagreements, such as presenting each side to someone you trust to remain neutral, can also help you quickly resolve issues as they come up in your co-parenting relationship. In every action you take and decision you make, the primary focus should be on what will be best for the children. If you keep the focus on the kids, a healthy co-parenting relationship will often follow naturally.