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How do you set boundaries with your co-parent?

Setting boundaries is something a lot of people struggle to achieve in their personal relationships. That struggle can intensify when you're also rewriting the rules and revamping the boundaries that once existed with someone who has gone from "spouse" to "co-parent" through divorce.

Here are some good ways to establish healthy boundaries with your ex-spouse surrounding co-parenting:

1. Contact times

You want to allow your ex-spouse liberal contact when the kids are in your care (and be allowed liberal contact as well). However, putting some time limits on the number of calls in a day and what hours are acceptable is wise. The same is true with other forms of communication, including text messages and Skype.

2. Communication

Set down some rules regarding how you and your ex-spouse will communicate on important issues regarding the kids. Email or text messages are best if you have a hard time being civil. They also provide documentation that you're keeping up your end of the bargain.

3. Custody exchanges

How and when custody exchanges for parenting time will work has to be addressed if you expect them to go smoothly. Having the parent with current physical custody drop the kids off to the other parent's house for visitation time shows the kids you can still work together.

4. New relationships

It's tricky to talk about new relationships with your ex-spouse, but one or both of you will eventually face this issue and have to introduce the kids to a significant other. Establishing some ground rules (like how soon the kids can be introduced to them) will be essential to harmony.

If you're having trouble working out a custody dispute with your ex-spouse, it may be time to discuss the situation with an attorney to get a fresh perspective and a better understanding of your legal rights to modification of the current parenting plan.

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