‘He doesn’t really want to share the care of the kids; he just wants to get at me!’
‘She doesn’t see what this is doing to the kids; we don’t communicate any more…’
‘We were doing fine with sharing the kids’ care till I re-partnered…’
Familiar words from separated or divorced parents – as a family dispute resolution practitioner, I hear stories of bitter disputes over shared care, child support and post-separation parenting issues. Parents may be caught up in their own pain, and anger with each other, when the separation is still raw and recent. Or perhaps parents made relatively amicable parenting arrangements, which worked well for years until one parent began a new relationship. Suddenly all hell broke loose and now the separated parents can’t seem to ‘go along to get along’ any more.
Reframe the picture
If this picture looks all too familiar to you as a separated parent, it might help if you reframe it. Instead of grappling with the idea of managing a personal relationship gone sour, picture this: your post-separation parenting is a business, in which you and your former partner are job-sharing the