When you and your partner decide to separate, there are many decisions and agreements that need to be made. Most crucially, you need to decide what you are going to do with your children. Agreeing to co-parent might seem easy in practice, but it can come with several important topics you have to agree on if this new change in your relationship is to be a success.
Discussing finances can always be awkward, even if it is a conversation with a former partner or spouse. You need to make sure that your children are going to be taken care of properly, whether you will have primary custody or you just see your children on occasion. You need to agree with your partner on who will be paying child maintenance and what that money will be used for.
Make sure to calculate child maintenance so you know who has to pay what. It can be used for school fees, holidays for the children, afterschool activities, and any number of other things. It can even be used for food and utilities for the house that the children live in. However, it is important that you agree on this with your former partner, ideally in writing, so you both know where you stand.
You can’t expect the two of you to be single forever. At one point, you are going to enter into a new relationship, and this might eventually reach the point where your children meet your new partner. It is vital that you speak openly about this with your former partner, as no one wants to feel like they are being replaced in their children’s lives.
One discussion to have will be regarding boundaries that need to be set with your new partner. Though they might end up as a stepparent one day, it is not always smart to go in with this mindset. Discipline should be left to you, until your partner has a permanent role in your children’s lives. Make sure to agree to these terms carefully with your former partner so you can introduce new parental figures to your children’s lives with ease.
You need to make sure you discuss access to the children, and some of the issues that might arise because of it. For example, you could decide to split co-parenting 50/50, with the children spending one week with you and one week with your former partner. However, how does that affect things like birthdays and other holidays? Will you do a year about, or will you come together to celebrate as one like you used to?
How will things like summer holidays affect your time with your children? If your ex-partner wants to take the children away for two weeks or longer, you need to make sure that you will get to spend the equivalent time with them when they return. Likewise, if one of you decides to move out of the local area, potentially for work or for some other reason, you need to decide how that will affect you seeing each other.
Co-parenting is not the easiest of paths to take, but it is sometimes the only one open to you. You need to make sure that you are working with your former partner to create a stable environment for your children to grow up in. Even if the two of you are not in a relationship any longer, there is no reason why you can’t be a successful team when it comes to managing and raising the children that you share together.