How to Handle Co-Parenting with a Difficult Ex Spouse

NJ Child Custody Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is difficult. Add issues resulting from co-parenting with an ex spouse with whom you do not get along, and the challenge may seem insurmountable.  Some parents adapt to co-parenting and become better caregivers, because they develop their own style of parenting outside of the relationship.  However, when your ex-spouse is difficult to communicate and engage with, the battles may be exhausting.  Fortunately, there are some considerations that may help you to make the best of the experience.

Lessen Your Expectations

If you expect your ex to mirror your parenting style or to be a specific type of parent, you may end up needlessly frustrated. Some ex-spouses simply become more challenging to deal with after divorce.  You should generally expect no more than the ex was doing while in the marriage, and be prepared to accept that he or she now maintains other post-divorce priorities.

Try Therapy

If you have a plethora of negative feelings about your ex, remember that hate causes unneeded stress and may negatively affect your parenting.  A professional may assist you in the process of moving your negative feelings toward tolerance of your ex’s behavior.

Consider your Child’s Point of View

Although you are certain that your are making your children the priority in your co-parenting, often times negativity can cloud the mind.  Try seeing your ex through your child’s eyes, which is most likely a positive view.  A child will do almost anything to maintain a parental attachment, despite dysfunctional behavior.  Try to learn from this innocence and remember that your child will benefit from strong relationships with both of their parents.

Release Control

Co-parenting with an ex is a valid lesson in letting go. Although you may not approve of your ex’s parenting or what (s)he does with children during parenting time, it is out of your control.  Understanding this allows you to manage anxiety and to enjoy your alone time. Your need to be right and to be heard will not change your ex’s behavior.  Instead, attempt to provide model behavior, with the optimism of serving as a positive influence.

Understand Your Influence

You may feel powerless as a result of having your child only half of the time (or less).  Or you may fear that parenting by your ex may be deficient.  But consider that your parenting is good enough, and that you are doing all you can to ensure that your child will be happy and healthy.

If you have questions about custody or parenting, contact the Bergen County law offices of Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark today to find the answers you need. One of our highly knowledgeable New Jersey family law attorneys will be happy to provide you with a cost-free initial consultation.

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