Divorce and Children: Military Parenting During Divorce

(Photo: U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)
(Photo: U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Co-parenting after a military divorce can present unique challenges due to the demands of military service, military deployment, and potential relocation. 

Divorce is a challenging and emotional time, especially if you have children. Aside from the mental and emotional issues you may be facing, mixing divorce and children also means you need to come up with custody and visitation rights as well as a reasonable financial agreement.

But that does not mean your children should take the backseat and be compromised. Both you and your ex-spouse can still successfully parent despite these tough times. 

Here are some tips to navigate co-parenting effectively.

8 Tips for Dealing With Divorce and Children

1. Don't create a bad impression of your spouse in your children's minds. One of the most common divorce and children parenting mistakes happens when both parties try to win the affection of their kids by bad-mouthing the other partner. No matter how strong your negative feelings are toward your ex-spouse, do not let your children see them. Your children should still see the best of their parents.  

Keep the best interests of your children at the forefront of your decisions. Avoid involving them in conflicts between co-parents and encourage a positive relationship with both parents.

2. Maintain healthy communication with your ex. Maintain open and honest communication with your co-parent. Discuss schedules, visitation plans, and any changes promptly. Don't let your children become messengers. Even though you may still be feeling angry at your ex, it's better for the children if you can set aside these personal feelings for their sake. Chose texting or email if that's easier than talking on the phone or in person. 

3. Don't teach your child to lie about what's happening in the house. Co-parenting with your ex-spouse means each parent should know what is going on in both households. Asking your children lie to your ex-spouse to make him or her feel like an outsider is a mistake that can significantly harm your kids. Both parties should still be there for your children during important events by making them aware of what is happening. 

Being away for deployment or stationed far away does not mean that the other military parent partner is no longer a part of the kids’ lives. Make them aware of any special occasions, recent achievements and everyday happenings in the kids' lives.

4. Be flexible. One of the hardest parts of going through the military divorce process is arranging the visitation and custodial rights. Understand that military service often comes with unexpected changes in schedules or deployments. Be flexible and willing to adjust visitation schedules when necessary. Keep lines of communication open to discuss these changes and find solutions together.

5. Create a detailed parenting plan. Once you have come up with an agreement, make sure that you respect the time given for both parties. Kids need this time to bond with their parents and ensure that healthy and harmonious relationships are maintained. 

6. Keep revenge and jealousy aside. Breaking up can leave pain and scars. Even though it’s hard, you and your ex-spouse should set aside these personal feelings and work with each other for the benefit of your kids. Keep your kids' best interests in mind, and make sure that your actions and words don’t have a negative effect on your children. If your ex has found a new partner, respect that relationship. Accept that no matter how hard you tried, your marriage is over.

Develop a comprehensive parenting plan that outlines custody arrangements, visitation schedules, decision-making responsibilities, and communication protocols. Include provisions for how military deployments or relocations will be handled.

7. Maintain consistency: Strive to maintain consistency in parenting styles, rules, and routines across both households. Consistency can help children feel secure and adjust more easily to transitions between homes.

8. Seek professional support. Take advantage of resources available to military families, such as counseling services, support groups, or legal assistance. These resources can provide guidance and support as you navigate co-parenting challenges. If both of you are struggling with co-parenting your kids, don't hesitate to ask for professional help. Hire a good divorce attorney or mediator who can help you discuss parenting arrangements, especially when the other partner is away with the military, and check on different aspects of financial aid that can be arranged. 

Look for a support group where members have ex-spouses who are military so you can get tips on how to be a successful military co-parent.

Ending your marriage does not mean that you can no longer both be good parents.

Mason is a successful writer and loves to write well-researched and high-quality content on different topics related to marriage, family, financial issues and business opportunities. He also devotes himself to coaching and counseling clients like divorce attorneys.

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