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How to get your child's other parent involved after the divorce?

You have always been the parent who takes care of the primary responsibilities such as going to school conferences, shuttling your child to various sporting activities and making the doctor and dentist visits. After your Texas divorce, though, you may expect the other parent to start participating more. After all, his or her time is now limited by the custody schedule, and these responsibilities provide opportunities for more interactions with your child. How can you encourage more involvement?

A good parenting plan will go a long way toward making sure your former spouse has adequate time to keep the parent-child bond strong. However, according to HelpGuide.org, your relationship with your former spouse is one factor that will make a difference in whether he or she participates. Let your ex know that you are in the business of raising your child together as co-parents, and try to leave personal feelings out of your interactions. It may help to keep all your communication focused on your child and what he or she needs. 

Even if you think you are making an offer, it may be interpreted as a demand if you frame the communication as a statement. Try asking the other parent for assistance or input instead. For example, your ex may not respond well to statements such as, "I need you to take Johnny to his doctor's appointment," or "I set the parent-teacher conference for Thursday at noon." Alternatively, you may say, "Johnny needs to go to the doctor, but I have a full schedule. Would you want to make that appointment and take him?" Or, "Parent-teacher conferences are in two weeks. Would you like to go together or separately? What time would work for you?"

When the other parent has concerns or input, listen to him or her without assuming that you will disagree. If the two of you have always had different parenting styles, this may be difficult, but putting aside judgment and considering things from the other parent's point of view may improve your "working relationship." This can lead to more involvement, which is in your child's best interest, whether or not you like the other parent's way of doing things.

This information is provided for educational purposes and should not replace the advice of an attorney.

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