How to co-parent with a difficult ex
Going through a divorce can be emotionally draining and cutting ties can be a relief. However, if your marriage involved children you will have to learn how to co-parent with your unreasonable ex, even after the divorce is finalized. But, how could you possibly co-parent with the most unreasonable person in the world? It won’t be easy. Best advice: bite your tongue and be the bigger person. As the age-old proverb goes, cooler heads prevail. Here are some tips on how to co-parent and protect yourself from unwanted legal battles.
1. Avoid using the children for revenge
One of the most common things bitter spouses do is use the children as pawns in their personal vendetta against their ex-spouse. A most common example is one parent denying access or possession of the child to the other parent. This is a bad idea and could lead to loss of visitation rights. What’s even worse is it is emotionally harmful to the children. In response to any hostile threat from your ex or excuse as to why the children can’t be picked up or dropped off, simply reply politely and assertively thanking them for the information and that you will be ready at the time and place per your custody order.
2. Do not bad-mouth your ex in front of the children
Another way ex spouse’s, whether consciously or unconsciously, hurt their children is by bad-mouthing the other parent. Do not do this despite the fact that your ex is a P.O.S. It can cause emotional harm to your children and can be used against you in court. Children are smart, and the`y know when their parent is a terrible human being. Nevertheless, avoid any negative talk about your ex in front of the children and, if you can, re-direct any negative comments from your children regarding your ex into positive ones.
3. Do not emotionally unload on your children or use them as messengers
If you have a problem with your ex’s co-parenting style or the visitation schedule address these issues directly to them. Do not use the children as a messenger. Make sure that any parenting problems are discussed preferably in writing via email or text. Dumping guilt, emotions, or messages for your ex on your children is a recipe for disaster. Don’t give your ex any ammunition against you in court. If you cannot come to an agreement with your ex regarding parenting issues or visitation schedules, then stick to the custody order as much as possible.
4. Reduce contact with your ex
If physical presence is a trigger for either party, consider including in your custody order that the pick-up and drop-off location be at school or at a neutral third party’s home rather than at your ex’s home. Include in your custody order that communication regarding the children’s needs be in writing via email or text.
5. Consider using a third party for communication
If direct communication does not work, consider using a neutral third-party or family
member to facilitate communications. However, it is usually hard to find someone who wants to be in the middle of a contentious relationship involving children. Alternatively, you can ask your family law attorney to appoint a parent-facilitator coordinator to help facilitate contentious issues regarding the children such as doctor’s opinions for surgery or medications.
6. Consider using a co-parenting app
If you have children with an extremely unreasonable parent that only wants to make your life hell, consider including in your custody order a co-parenting app such as Our Family Wizard or other co-parenting apps that make it easy for a judge or jury to read. These apps help document compliance with your custody order and help keep both parties on the same page.
If you or someone you know is going through a custody battle or having problems co-parenting contact the Sosa Law Office at (956) 621–1277 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a consultation.