As much as we would prefer to stop associating entirely with an ex after divorce, in many cases, some interaction is still necessary for at least a few years. If you share children with your ex, you will need to establish a parenting time arrangement allowing for visitation and custody for each of you. In an ideal world, you and your ex would be able to set aside your differences and set up a co-parenting arrangement that works for your respective schedules and grants your children the attention they need. Unfortunately, many divorces lead to bitter feelings, and many people are simply incapable of working together for the greater good. What should you do if you are dealing with a high-conflict ex as a co-parent? There’s no simple answer, but there are steps to take to make the process a bit easier. Read on for tips on co-parenting with a high conflict ex, and call a seasoned Englewood child custody and parental rights attorney for help with a New Jersey family law matter.
Keep Your Communications Brief, Factual, and Boring
High-conflict individuals like to create drama. They want to draw you into heated conversations and arguments. Do your best not to let them. When you need to communicate with them about your kids, stick to the facts and the logistics. Just provide the information they need–dates, times, locations–and move on. The more boring and professional your communications are, the less they will be able to turn something into an argument, and the less you will be drawn into a conflict. Do not take the bait if they try to start a fight.
Keep Your Boundaries
After your divorce, you have the right to limit your communications with your ex to specific topics as well as specific times and appropriate venues. You do not need to let them in your house, you do not need to answer emails 24/7, and you do not need to tailor your own house rules to appease your ex. Set boundaries for when and how you will communicate with your ex, and stick to them. Outside of emergencies, there’s no need to answer their call at 11 pm on a Wednesday.
Have a Professional Team in Your Corner
It takes an army to manage a divorce and resulting co-parenting arrangements. Accept help from your attorney, mediators, counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, and other professionals. Make sure you have someone to talk to about what you are going through. Many therapists are specifically trained to help with loss coping and divorce.
Have a Specific Co-Parenting Plan in Place
The more thorough and rigid your co-parenting plan, the better. Schedules, holidays, vacations, logistics for picking up and dropping off the kids, etc., should all be laid out in the parenting plan. Leave little wiggle room for argument.
Of course, it’s important to be flexible where necessary. If your kids have a sporting event that weekend and it would be much easier for them to spend the night at your ex’s house, even though it’s supposed to be your weekend, be open to adjusting your schedule. There are even shared scheduling apps that allow each person to plug in important upcoming events. Remember: It’s all about what’s best for your kids.
Practice Self Care
Do not let your divorce be all-consuming. Take time for yourself; make sure you are eating well, exercising, finding time for social engagements, and whatever else you need to feel normal. You will be better able to deal with your ex when you are in good physical and mental health.
Get the Legal Help You Deserve for Your New Jersey Child Custody Matters
If you’re facing divorce in New Jersey or dealing with child support, child custody, property division, or other family law issues, contact the Englewood family law attorneys Herbert & Weiss at (201) 500-2151.