People separate for many different reasons and some divorces are amicable with both partners leaving on good terms and maintaining a friendship. Other separations leave each party in a position where they would just rather not communicate with their ex. When children are involved in a divorce and joint or partial custody is awarded, the choice to avoid communication is typically not an option. Dealing with a difficult ex can feel crippling, especially at a time when you have worked hard to distance yourself from the relationship.
Maybe you’ve tried already mediation and couples therapy without lasting success. Here are some techniques to help you manage the task of co-parenting with a difficult ex.
Remember it’s not about you. Regardless of how difficult it might be to have a conservation with your ex, the only objective is to ensure the happiness and comfort of your children. Try to limit communication to specific details, like your children’s schedules and when to arrange drop off and pick up times. Communicating via text or email can feel a lot less personal than a phone call. Find a method that works, and make sure to remember that the goal is to provide the best scenario for your children.
Set clear boundaries. Every relationship has a set of rules. When it comes to co-parenting, having an established set of guidelines is helpful for both parties. If your ex is acting verbally abusive in front of your children or in public, it is ok to say that you need to walk away until they are able to talk in a positive manner.
Hold your ex-partner accountable. After a divorce, consistency is one of the most important things that will help your children feel safe. For example, make sure that homework time and bedtime is the same at your house and your ex’s house. If you think that your ex is not upholding their duties as a co-parent or they are not providing a healthy and safe environment for your children, it is important to document these events. The well-being of your children is the responsibility of both parents in a shared custody arrangement. If this is not provided by one side, the custody arrangement can be re-evaluated.
Create a support system. There will be difficult days when you feel emotionally drained and unable to talk with your ex. Build a system of friends and family who can take over during times when you need to separate yourself from contact. This could mean that a family member takes your children over to your ex’s house or organizes a shared event like a birthday party.
If you are seeking a divorce or struggling with child custody issues, the experienced family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Piazza, Simmons & Grant are available to help. We are here and ready to listen and offer solutions to complicated problems. We will work tirelessly to achieve the outcome that you desire and offer many different options from mediation to litigation.