Heidi E. Opinsky

The Law Offices of Heidi E. Opinsky, LLC

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Parenting your children through a New York or Connecticut divorce is difficult at best, but it can easily become even more so if your ex isn’t cooperative. You and your ex need to learn how to co-parent your children together in the best interests of your kids. Here’s what you should know and how to get in touch with an experienced family law attorney. 

Co-Parenting Definitions

Co-parenting is an arrangement where two parents continue sharing responsibility for the upbringing of their child. This can sometimes be difficult as it necessitates a significant amount of communication between both parents. When separating spouses decide to co-parent their children, they must create a custody agreement as part of their divorce

This framework is intended to guarantee that both parents agree enough to successfully co-parent their child(ren) and to express concerns about the education, healthcare, extracurricular activities, etc. of their child before they  become a source of tension. Co-parenting may not be the right solution for all families, but it may help parents and children navigate life following a divorce.

Child Custody Laws In Connecticut & New York 

Child custody laws in Connecticut and New York dictate that a court issue rulings that are in the best interests of the minor child(ren) involved in the case. A multitude of factors are considered when making these decisions, including but not limited to the age, health, income, location, career, and relationships of each parent. 

Ways Co-Parenting Can Become Stressful 

Ex-spouses who choose to co-parent their children together can experience anxiety due to a number of different factors. Much of this is leftover from relationship strain, particularly if you and your ex did not end things on good terms. Co-parents often deal with issues like: 

Difficulty With Communication 

You and your ex may disagree about how to raise your children or about what’s best for them. It may be difficult to communicate your ideas to your ex and vice versa when arguments can quickly devolve into full-blown fights. You may need help communicating with your ex from a third party who is able to remain emotionally neutral while conveying important ideas.  

Conflicting Work or School Schedules 

Conflicting schedules is arguably one of the most common issues that co-parents face when raising a child together. This is particularly true if one or both of you work jobs that require your schedule to be flexible or need you on call. If this is the case, you’ll need to coordinate every week to determine which parent is responsible for the child and at what times.  

Parental Alienation & Toxic Co-Parenting  

Unfortunately, parental alienation and toxic co-parenting are both significant issues when it comes to co-parenting in Connecticut and New York. Parental alienation occurs when your ex effectively “brainwashes” your child to believe you are the bad parent and the divorce is your fault. Toxic co-parenting overlaps but can be expanded to include other manipulative behaviors. 

How to Reduce Co-Parenting Anxiety 

Co-parenting with your ex is often stressful, particularly when you and your ex-spouse don’t agree on how to raise your children. Some ways to reduce co-parenting anxiety include but are not limited to: 

  • Download a co-parenting app. Co-parenting apps allow you to communicate with your ex in a neutral space that automatically uploads your messages to a cloud server so they cannot be changed or deleted. Usually, courts will be able to review this information independently with their own access to the app’s stored records. 
  • Get external support. Even if you want the divorce, going through it is an emotional process. It’s important that you and your children obtain external support from a qualified counselor or therapist.  
  • Create rules with your ex and stick to them. Set boundaries with your ex and insist they be respected. Do not allow your ex to bring your children back unkempt or to drop them off or pick them up late. Identify what your children will be doing, eating, and who they will be socializing with while at your ex’s home. 
  • Remain focused on the wellbeing of your kids. It can be easy to get caught up in the challenges of getting a divorce and forget that the emotional and mental wellbeing of your children comes first and foremost. Don’t use your children to “get back at” your ex or deny them visitation with the kids as a punishment.  
  • Exercise restraint. It’s normal to be angry at your ex during and after a divorce. It’s important that you exercise as much restraint as you can when engaging with your ex – any yelling, fighting, or physical abuse can and most likely will be used against you to restrict your access to your children. 
  • Take time when you need it. If you and your ex get into a heated argument over your children, it’s okay to take a break or walk away for a period of time until you can collect yourself. These matters are emotionally demanding and it’s perfectly normal and even encouraged to allow yourself the time and space needed to sort through how you’re feeling and how best to articulate it to your ex-spouse. 

When to Involve a Family Lawyer In Your Custody Case 

When you learn of your imminent divorce, it’s critical to reach out for legal support as soon as possible. This is especially true when you and your ex share children together and plan to co-parent. 

New York and Connecticut family law attorney Heidi E. Opinsky can provide you with the comprehensive legal advocacy you need when dealing with the challenges of a child custody case. Call now for your consultation with a child custody lawyer in CT at 203-653-3542.