If you're going through a divorce, you might feel like it takes all of your inner strength to have a civil conversation with your spouse. You feel hurt and angry. You have both said things that you regret.
At the same time, though, you know that you can never fully cut yourself off from your ex. The two of you are parents, and you will always have kids together. Is it possible to get along for the sake of the children? What do you need to know about co-parenting?
One interesting trend you may have noticed in celebrity divorces is that couples sometimes stay close. Very close. Far closer than you would expect.
For instance, consider actress Hilary Duff and her former husband Mike Comrie. They went on vacation together after they split up.
Or, consider, singer Chris Martin and his ex-wife Gwyneth Paltrow. Stories abound that, when Paltrow got married again, her ex-husband actually came on her honeymoon.
It seems almost unreal, but these are the types of relationships some people have after divorce.
You don't have to reach for that standard
First things first: You don't have to vacation with your ex. You don't even have to be friends. Don't think that these celebrity stories set some standard that you need to meet. You don't.
In fact, it may be far worse for you and the kids if you try to live like this when you're not ready. You create a lot of tension, you and your ex may get into some serious disagreements, and it's just not a good atmosphere for anyone.
What this does show you, though, is that it's important to put the kids first. When celebrity couples do this, it's often because they have children together. They want to take the kids on vacation and allow them to have new experiences. They do not want to deprive them of a chance to have those experiences with both of their parents.
And so they put their personal feelings and differences aside. They agree to get along and almost act like a married couple again, if only for a time, so that the children get a better life.
That should still be your goal. You need to cooperate with your ex. You need to co-parent with your children's best interests in mind. And you need to put them first even when it's hard.
With this focus, make sure you take the time to carefully consider all of your rights as a parent. You need to create a co-parenting plan that gives the kids a happy, well-adjusted life, and you need to know what legal options you have to make it happen.