Marriage counseling may not have saved your marriage. In fact, it may have given you and your spouse the clarity you needed about your relationship to finally begin the divorce process.
If you’re going to be co-parenting, you may want to continue (or return to) seeing a therapist for a bit longer. A good marriage and family therapist can help divorcing couples develop a healthy co-parenting strategy.
The children are the focus of joint therapy for co-parents
The point of seeing a therapist with your soon-to-be-ex isn’t to rehash the problems you had in your marriage and dredge up old wounds. It’s not aimed at repairing a broken relationship, but toward establishing a healthy and productive co-parenting relationship.
In fact, you may be asked to list the things that make your spouse a good parent. If you’re sharing custody, both of you must have some positive attributes as parents. Recognizing and verbalizing them can help you refrain from seeing everything your co-parent does differently than you as “wrong.”
Establishing rules for communication around the kids
A bad habit that too many divorced parents have is criticizing their ex to or in front of their children or arguing in front of them. This is never healthy for a child because they’re part of both parents, so it’s hard for them not to take it personally and often to feel like they have to take sides.
It’s also best not to discuss some things, like child support or who will pay for a particular expense, in front of them. Even if you have an issue that requires a parenting time adjustment for a particular day or week, it’s best to settle the matter yourselves and then let your kids know. Otherwise, they can feel like they’re causing problems for their parents.
By learning strategies that help you work together and communicate as co-parents, you will likely have easier, less conflict-ridden negotiations as you work out your child custody and support agreements and parenting plan.