According to the story, the exes will continue to be involved in each other's lives as co-parents of James' kids Sunny, 6, Jesse Jr., 12, and Chandler, 15.
Co-parenting is something I know a lot about. When my now ex-husband and I decided to end our ten-year marriage, I consulted a few trusted friends, as well as my rabbi. I found their advice to be invaluable. I think these rules are simple -- but not easy -- and they have enabled my ex and me to have an extremely amicable relationship while sharing custody of our girls. How well do we get along? Well, it took about a year to really let go of the tension; during that time, we limited our conversation to parenting. We both attend most of our kids' events, games, recitals and team potlucks, and sometimes we sit together. Many of the parents on my youngest daughter's soccer team didn't know we were divorced. Here's how we did it.
1) BE IMPECCABLE. You need to show your kids what taking the high road and being respectful looks like. We NEVER bad-mouth each other; we are always supportive of the other one when the kids complain to us about each other. I usually tell them that they will have to work out their issues/complaints about him with him. And then I repeat my standard line: "Your dad isn't perfect, and neither am I. We love you, but we can't do it perfectly."
2) LIVE CLOSE. My cousin Rob told me this, and it's been so valuable. My ex and I live about a mile apart, so there's no stress if the girls forget something at either house, or if there's something they want that's at their dad's. I promised myself that I would never give them a hard time if they forgot or needed something, because this scenario is not their fault and they shouldn't EVER be blamed for having to live in two households. That said, there's not much I can do about the fact that there are two rooms they need to keep clean.
3) BE ON THE SAME PAGE WITH PARENTING. We always discuss major decisions with each other, and whenever a big decision comes up, we tell the kids, "I have to talk to your mom/dad." Each August before the school year starts, we talk about rules pertaining to texting, TV, sleepovers, etc., so we are on the same page. This leaves the kids little room for manipulation and provides a consistency between households.
4) TALK ABOUT THE BIG THINGS TOGETHER. We knew there would come a time when one or both of the girls would say, "I want to live with Mom," or "I want to live with Dad." And we came up with an answer: "Your dad and I feel that you need both of us, and that type of setup is not an option."
5) USE HUMOR. Sometimes when my daughters complain about their dad, I'll say, "Your dad's a guy, and guys are different from us. You will be dealing with them for the rest of your lives, so think of this as good practice."