How to stay connected with your child following a divorce (even when your ex makes it difficult)

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by Chris Torrone

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01.26.2022

For many of us, divorce is unfortunately something we eventually have to walk through. It is no secret that having a good relationship with your child is important, probably the most important thing, and that sometimes it’s hard to do when you’re dealing with an ex who doesn’t want you around. The good news is that there are many ways to stay in contact with your child, even if your ex tries to keep you away.

There are services available which can help manage the custody agreement or step in when one parent becomes uninvolved. This allows both parents to communicate and work together so they don’t have to worry so much about their child’s well-being falling through the cracks of the divorce. There are other choices you can make and additional avenues of community support that will help you maintain a healthy relationship with your child. Check out these great tips on how to stay connected with your children following a divorce, even when your ex tries to keep you apart!

The Importance of Having a Strong Relationship with Your Child

One of the most important things to remember when you are going through a divorce is that your child’s well-being should be your number one priority. Divorce affects everything in some way, especially in your child’s outlook and perspective on life. They need to know that even though many things have changed, you will always love them, protect them, and do your best to see that they have a fulfilling life. Also, the more time you can spend with your children, the healthier both you and they will be. This time brings us new understanding through communication, and the simple joys of building intimacy with those we love, something we all want to last a lifetime. Your children’s futures are directly affected by how much time and the quality of time you spend with them, discovering life together, teaching and guiding them, and modeling what a good life really is.

It can be tough in these situations because sometimes parents may feel like they are no longer needed by their children and that their kids want little to do with them anymore.

But this isn’t true, and it is important to remember that your child needs you in his or her life and they have a right to have both parents fully involved.

father spending time with his child after divorce

What to Do When Your Ex Tries to Keep You and Your Child Apart

Even if your ex tries to keep you from seeing your child, there are things you can do to maintain a healthy relationship with them. Of course, it is important to reach out for help. There are plenty of resources available for parents trying to work through a difficult custody agreement. But even if the courts decide you can’t see your child, there are still steps you can take to stay in touch and remain involved in their life.

First of all, it’s important to remember that no matter what happens during the divorce process, your child’s well-being should be your number one priority. They deserve the best treatment possible while they’re dealing with this difficult period in their life. Your child will be more likely to feel safe and secure if they know both of their parents are trying their best to make things better for them.

If your ex tries to prevent you from seeing or speaking with your child, contact the court and your lawyer immediately. There may be different options when it comes to how they want the custody arrangement handled. It would be best for everyone involved if all options were discussed as soon as possible, so everyone knows what is going on and what needs to happen next.

Your attorney’s experience and good counsel will help you stay grounded in reality and move ahead toward establishing a healthier, more reasonable custody arrangement. Avoiding fights with your ex, saying things that may make the situation worse, or doing anything rash, is key during this difficult time. Your lawyer will help guide you through the process with the courts, as well as with your ex.

Ways to stay connected with your child after divorce

There are many ways for divorced parents to maintain a healthy relationship with their children:

* Establish rules in the custody agreement so both parents can maintain clear, respectful communication.

* Have an attorney draft the custody agreement: Partnering with your attorney ensures the best potential outcome and agreement. They will make sure that everything is done correctly and that you and your child get the most time possible together.

* Create a “safe place” where your child can go when they need support or just want to talk, including your home and other spaces like parks, beaches, trails and restaurants where your child feels at ease and comfortable to be themselves and to open up.

* Involve their grandparents: Making sure your child remains connected to the rest of your family is another important part of their well-being. This gives them another attachment point to feeling a part of something bigger, and loved and supported that much more by those in their life. Grandparents, along with uncles, aunts and cousins, can be significant sources of wisdom and guidance and help to support both you and your child during this difficult transition.

* Keep on top of school activities and sports practices/games and offer support. Show up for games and events and be fully present while attending. Your child receives a lot of confidence knowing you are actively watching their achievements.

Call, text, and email your child to keep up with what’s going on in their life. Especially these days, digital communication lets parents remain connected, even when they aren’t physically together. Don’t underestimate the power of a phone call or video chat. This can really do wonders in building trust and intimacy and allows each of you to communicate more effectively and meaningfully because you can actually hear or even see them. Gestures, tone of voice, and facial expressions help a lot when trying to convey ideas and emotions, something that text or email can never do accurately. All these methods of communication are especially important if your ex is making life difficult for you and doing their best to keep you from your children.

Schedule regular outings like weekend trips, day trips, dinners out, fun nights at the movies, bowling, go-karting, or any number of other activities enjoyed by your kids. Simply enjoying time together while doing something fun is important for your relationship and reminds your child that life isn’t always heavy.

Do your best to remain respectful when talking with or about your ex. This is sometimes difficult, especially when they aren’t doing the same for you. But choosing to honor them, especially when your kids are present, shows your children that you are a person of integrity and decency, someone who cares more about them and about building peaceable communication, than about proving some point or getting back at your ex.

The Importance of Being a Role Model for your Child

One of the most important things to remember about parenting after divorce is that you have the opportunity to set a positive example for your child. One way you can do this is by staying connected with them. You never know when they need someone in their life, and it is important for them to know that you’re always there for them, no matter what. So much happens in a child’s life as they grow up. From the complex dynamics of school and social life, friends, sports, future hopes and dreams, struggles with relationships and health, and the complications of a split home, they need you there for them, fully present and glad to help in any way needed.

Your example is key to their future. Make healthy choices around your relationships, your work, your finances, and the way you interact with others. Model these for your children and open dialogues with them so you can talk about life openly with one another as they learn and grow.

father spending time with daughter following divorce

Supportive Services and Other Resources

One of the best ways to maintain a healthy relationship with your child is by making use of supportive services that can help you communicate and coordinate with your ex. There are many options available to help, such as child-parent coordinators and parenting coordinators, who can serve as a liaison between parents and children.

In addition, there are other resources that you can use .These include online support groups or counseling, either one-on-one or through an online chat service, mediators and others. If you’re looking to keep in touch with your child while still maintaining a healthy relationship, these options are great for giving both parents peace of mind.

Besides more official services, try to build and maintain good friendships and community ties with others. As it’s been said for a very long time, “It takes a village,” raising a child well is often made much easier when supportive friends, family, and acquaintances are close at hand. They often offer advice not thought of by you or your spouse, offer time out from difficult situations and can even help to watch your child or help you get important things done when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Ask your lawyer about all your options for supportive services that will help smooth the relationship with your ex and allow you to see your child as much as possible.

Conclusion

Being a mother or father is one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. It can also be difficult, full of trials and heartaches, especially when divorce happens. No matter what, it is important that your children always know that you love them and will be there for them forever, no matter how difficult things might become.

When difficulties arise between you and your ex, seek confident, clear, but peaceable resolution through trusted attorneys, counselors, and mediators. Respond to your ex respectfully while also respecting yourself. Keep in mind that even while feelings are running high, the most important thing is your child’s life. Always keep the long-term view in mind. The choices you make today have a direct effect on the course of your and your child’s life for all the years to come.

Torrone is here for you and your kids. We work with you to restore your family to a place of healthy communication and meaningful time together. Contact us today for more information, and to protect the future of your family.

For quick information about staying connected with your child following a divorce, explore our frequently asked questions and answers below.

FAQ

Why is it important to remain a big part of your child’s life after divorce?

It is always an important thing, one of the most important things in life, to stay close with your kids. They need your guidance, wisdom, counsel, resources, discipline, and especially your love. The course of their future depends on you being a big part of their life now and an important part of their life always. In divorce, it is especially important because divorce brings a great deal of confusion, feelings of separation, loss of one’s sense of value, disconnection, and a sense of losing everything that made life feel normal. You have the power to help your children through this time, to provide the foundation they need and the love they want. 

What are some ways to stay connected with my child following divorce?

There are many ways to stay connected, including an established time each week together, local outings, fun nights out, and weekend trips. Stay connected and a part of their extra-curricular activities. Call, video chat and text with them to stay close. Keep them spending time with family, like grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as other community groups that were important before the divorce.

What if my ex is making it difficult to spend time with my child?

Even when you are a wonderful parent, sometimes exes make this difficult because of anger, spite, or the desire to control your life. In this case it is important to work with your attorney, the courts, mediators, and counselors, to establish ground rules for communication, legally protected parenting plans and custody agreements, and ways to work out your differences with each other without it spilling over into your child’s life or negatively impacting the time each of you get with your children. 

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