Child Custody: How to Co-Parent With a Contentious Ex

Child Custody Arrangement

For anyone trying to manage a contentious child custody battle, it is very crucial to try to stay levelheaded. Aside from avoiding high-stress situations that affect not only you but your kids as well, keeping a cool head could also help your case in court.

Below are some tips to help you better deal with your contentious ex.

Learn the Art of Compromise

Compromising doesn’t mean being a doormat, and it could be really helpful if you want to co-parent more effectively with your ex. What you need to remember is that when trying to reach a compromise, you could offer to compromise on something that you think is crucial to your ex but does not actually cost you that much. Flexibility, and being open and assertive are key.

Set Healthy and Realistic Boundaries for Communicating

Communicating with an antagonistic ex is hard, but it’s something that you will need to do. That said, come up with restrictions on modes and hours of communication. For instance, tell your ex that you can only respond to texts and emails, or return phone calls after work and before 9 p.m. If you have to see each other in person to talk about issues relating to your child, always meet in a public setting.

Be More Mindful and Self-Aware

divorce agreement

While you cannot change how your ex acts, you can change your response to your ex’s actions. This is particularly helpful if your former spouse is manipulative and is used to getting what he or she wants. Put your efforts on the facts of the situation and what’s true to yourself to keep you grounded.

Write a Clear Parenting Agreement

Write down all agreed-upon child arrangements so that you and your ex will have something concrete to come back to when one of you want to claim that the other isn’t following a certain agreement or make some changes. Having a written agreement will also make it harder for your former partner to take advantage of a situation like when he or she claims that you aren’t sticking to the agreement.

Work with an Attorney You Trust

Never try to deal with a high-conflict child custody battle by yourself. Get a child custody lawyer in Utah who has ample experience in custody battles to help you out.

Although the suggestions above might work for most parents, if you are enmeshed in a particularly contentious custody battle with an ex who has become unstable or dangerous, know when to back off for your safety. You can reduce contact and even request for a restraining order if necessary. When requesting a restraining order, however, refrain from exaggerating the circumstances just to hurry the process along because doing so might work against you in the long run.

Keep in mind that you’re trying to build a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex because of your precious children, as your kids need a relationship with their other parent too, no matter how contentious your ex is to you. Focus on that when things are hard to help you get through the rough patches.

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