Over the last few weeks I’ve been hearing quite a bit about a new show on Stan starring Anna Kendrick, titled ‘Love Life’. A couple of weeks ago I found myself bored at home, with some free time on my hands, so I decided to give Love Life a go.
The first episode starts with a narrative of the life of the main character, Darby Carter (portrayed by Anna Kendrick). It shows Darby as a young child and explains that Darby does not ever remember her parents being married, as they got divorced when she was four years of age.
The narrative goes on to explain that Darby spent her childhood being shuttled back and forth between their new houses and new families and how the “shuttling” made Darby feel like a permanent hotel guest. The story then goes on to explain that the lack of stability Darby had in her childhood led to her fruitlessly making misguided attempts at connecting with people in her adolescence. The viewers see this pattern continue to unfold as the series continues.
Whilst I didn’t love the show as much as other people seemed to have, it did get me thinking about co-parenting, how to do it well, and what to do if you can’t do it well. Co-parenting well is so important because, if the story of Darby Carter is to be believed, poor co-parenting can have long-term detrimental impacts on your children, their development, their attachments and their relationships.
Co-parenting after separation is never without its difficulties, and in some circumstances is completely impossible (these circumstances might be for example, if there has been domestic violence in the parents’ relationship, or if one parent poses a risk of harm to the children). If these circumstances apply to you it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible after separation, so Orders can be put in place to ensure your safety and your children’s safety.
However, if the above circumstances don’t apply to you, but you are in a situation where you are having to navigate a co-parenting situation, following these simple tips may help you:
- Never speak badly about the other parent to, or in the hearing or presence of, your children and when you see one another engage in polite, pleasant conversation
- Do not discuss any parenting issues or disputes to, or in the hearing or presence of, your children and encourage a positive relationship between the children and other parent
- If there is no ongoing conflict between you and your ex-partner attempt changeovers at each other’s houses
- If there is ongoing conflict between you and your ex-partner, wherever possible conduct changeovers by the parent spending time with the children collecting them from and returning them to, school or day care and at other times by meeting at a public, well populated place (such as a McDonalds)
- Try to be flexible and understanding with slight day to day changes to the parenting arrangements, such as pick and up and drop off times, so that neither of you bicker with the other about the little things
- Keep your ex-partner updated with important details like medical appointments, illnesses or injuries and achievements at school and ensure they do likewise for you, and strive to make sure you both attend significant events, such as school award presentations and school concerts
- Complete a Parenting After Separation Course, for instance Parents Not Partners with Interrelate or Parenting After Separation with Relationships Australia
- Ensure you have a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders for the parenting arrangements, and unless you both agree otherwise, ensure you both stick to it (ideally this document should be prepared for you by a solicitor);
- If a significant issue arises and you are unable to reach an agreement seek legal advice about attending mediation;
- Get legal advice about your rights, your children’s rights and the process as soon as possible after separation.
If you are currently having difficulties co-parenting with your ex-partner we can help. Call our office on 4050 0330 today to book an initial, obligation free, consultation or book here. And if you are looking for some inspiration give Love Life Season 1 Episode 10 a watch!