This is an interesting article from People magazine about a couple who, after their divorce, gets together for a family picture each year for the benefit of their child.
Experience tells me this couple’s relationship is pretty unusual; however, it certainly sets an example of understanding how your relationship can influence your child’s life.
Whenever I have a person come into my office, there is typically a complaint somewhere in the mix about the behavior of the other spouse. Complaints typically relate to finances, parenting, inattentiveness, substance abuse, poor judgment, and interloping significant others. My client often wants me to get an order that will “make them” be better.
While the orders create an incentive for a party to be better, or at times rearrange parenting time or financial decisions to help protect against known problems, there is very little I can do to change the behavior of the problematic party. More important, I try to help clients develop coping skills to deal with the other party’s habits.
This is especially so where the conflict between the parties relates to the raising of children. Often times, the differences boil down to a difference in approach or style. When that is the case, even a court will not typically issue orders, and the only thing a parent can do is learn to put up with the differences as best as he or she can.
In the long run, you will have a direct parenting relationship with your ex-husband or wife for however many more years it takes for your youngest child to turn 18 (and graduate from school), and you will continue to have ongoing dealings for other life events (graduations, marriages, grandchildren, etc.) forever. The better you can make your relationship with the other party after your divorce, the better this will make your life.