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Post-divorce parenting: Should you spend time with your ex?

Children often ask their parents whether they'd be willing to spend a "family" day together. Perhaps your child wants to go to a theme park with you or your ex, or maybe your child just wants to do a lunch with everyone sitting around the same table. You might be tempted to give an immediate yes or no answer to this question, and it will all depend on the quality of your post-divorce relationship with your ex.

In the end, there is no easy answer to this question because it really does depend on your unique circumstances as a single parent. It also depends on whether you want to spend time with your ex-spouse or not. Since you don't have any legal obligation to do it, and since it could be damaging to you emotionally or psychologically to pass time with your ex like this, make sure you consider this carefully -- and look deep inside -- to find your personal answer to this question and never feel guilty if your answer is, "no."

If your answer is, "yes," on the other hand, you may want to consider a few easy ways to spend time with your ex. Perhaps you'll attend your child's soccer match with your ex and all three of you will drive to the game in the same car. Perhaps you'll attend your child's birthday party where other family members and friends are present to help ease the tension. Or, maybe you'll engage in an old family ritual surrounding Christmas, Easter or Thanksgiving. Whatever you do, a group environment could make it a little bit easier.

Ultimately, as a co-parent and single parent, you're only obliged to follow the letter of your divorce agreement, child custody and parenting plans. As long as you understand your legal parenting obligations and follow them, you and your family will be fine.

Source: Law Office of Kelley A. Joseph PA, "Parenting Plans and Time Sharing," accessed May 03, 2018

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