Facts Regarding Co-Parenting, an Open Letter to Married Parents.
Getting married? Have you discussed a prenuptial agreement, does it draw out who gets the dishes, family heirlooms, will the wedding rings be given back? When acquiring real estate will title show both of your names or an individual? So you've both protected yourself in the case of a divorce, logistics have been hashed out, money and property accounted for, but, has the topic of children come up?
Having a baby? Have you discussed how you'll raise your child in case of a divorce? Why not? You've discussed impending separation and what will happen to your material assets but you haven't discussed what will happen with a living being?
I can hear you now, "we will agree because it's our child", "we won't fight over our child", this is a gloomy topic but a conversation that must be visited. If you're able to talk about a hypothetical divorce and what will happen to the possessions acquired then why can't you discuss what's really important, raising a child.
Sit down, have the conversation, first how you two would like to raise your child. Then have the discussion, in the case of a divorce, how are you two willing to co-parent? What are the expectations? How does each of you intend to shape your children’s values? What kinds of punishments are appropriate or not appropriate, i.g; timeouts. What expectations do you each have about money spent on toys, clothes, etc? A great question to ask your partner is, "What do we want our children to learn from our relationship, married or divorced?". This question, once it's answered, will set precedence for your children and their relationship with others. What are both of your spiritual beliefs and practices, how will you include them in your lives? If you both have different religious views, how will you maintain traditions and or combine them if possible? Have this discussion for the betterment of your marriage and for the sanity of your children, if a divorce should occur both of you will be on the same page regarding religion. How about schooling? Is home school an option if not will you send the kids to private or public school. Tutors, extra circular activities, sports, etc, open the lines of communication. These are hard issues to tackle because it's not materialistic items that are being discussed but an actual human being that you two need to raise and communicate about for the rest of your lives. Having an open dialogue without judgment about these tough topics are extremely important. If you need to seek spiritual guidance, church elders, therapist, do it. When divorce happens, the ugliness of the deterioration of the relationship turns bitter quickly, accusations and hatred for one another are immensely glorified in all its gory detail. In the heat of separating/divorcing, certain situations come to light that makes speaking in a calm manner and discussing rationally future goals for your child will become difficult.
Have the talk now, while you're happy, set realistic goals, write them down, agree on items that are important even things that you think are minor, discuss it and come to an agreement. At the very least you'll have a blueprint of what your child's up bringing will be, things will change, needs will grow as your child matures but both parents will be in sync.
Remember everything that is done in a positive light is for the benefit of your child. When I use the word, "your," I'm talking about mother and father, not just one parent.
Discuss and outline a shared parenting plan; 1. Who would the children live with? 2. Visitation schedule in case of a divorce. 3. Education plans. 4. Finances. 5. Children's health insurance and medical needs. 6. Household rules in both homes. Do you and your partner share the same views and beliefs? If not, what would it be like? 7. Holidays, birthdays and special events. 8. Decision making guidelines; 2 yes, 1 no rule, does it apply?
If you two can discuss this rationally and write down the basic fundamentals, not only have you overcome a huge hurdle but you're setting the path of success as parents and teaching your child you two will stand by one another married or divorced.
Have the talk, it's better to do it now versus later. Remember the goal isn't to "win", it's about coming to a middle ground, doing what's right for your child and that's about parenting or co-parenting together.