When two parents decide to divorce or separate, tensions are often high and it is easy to succumb to bitterness and finger-pointing. But, there are many reasons to resist. Here are three:
1) Fighting with an Ex is Not in the Best Interest of the Children: Kids are already going through a traumatic experience. Their home is being divided, if not moved. Their schedules are being flipped upside down and life as they know it will never be the same. However, children are resilient and can often transition well IF their parents do not expose them to too much conflict. Do your best to work out an acceptable physical custody schedule that works for both parties. Try to work together to make all important decisions on behalf of the children and update the other parent with any relevant information. Accommodate requests for changes to the custody schedule. Don’t allow the children to hear you or your friends and family speak negatively about the other parent. Be kind. And, do all of these things even if the other parent is not doing them. Remember, this is not about winning or getting the other parent back for his or her bad behavior. This is about your kids. You cannot control what the other parent does or says, but you can control your own actions. In the end, your children will be better for it.
2) Fighting with an Ex is Not in Your Own Best Interest: You too are going through a traumatic experience. Fighting is only going to make it worse. Try to set aside whatever it was that got you to the place that you decided to separate. Put the past in the past and realize that your are going to have to find a way to work together.
3) Fighting with an Ex Can Hurt You in Court: Courts are well aware of the damage that can be done to children when their parents fight. The level of conflict and ability to cooperate with the other parent is a statutory factor to be considered by judges when making custody decisions in Pennsylvania. Though there are many other factors to be considered, all things being equal, it is not hard to imagine a judge choosing the parent who is doing his or her best to calm tensions and work with the other parent over the parent who is creating conflict and escalating tensions.