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Leaf Clover

Difficult ex-spouses and co-parenting challenges

Some parents in Pittsburgh may face a difficult challenge after divorce. They may be co-parenting with an ex-spouse who is manipulative and creates conflict. Parents may need to learn to step back and set healthy boundaries. It can help if they remember that their focus should be on the children.

Ex-spouses often argue as part of a familiar pattern, and a parent who can identify this pattern could disengage before the argument reaches this point. Parents should keep in mind that they are not obligated to respond quickly to or to answer every communication from the other parent. It can be difficult to stop reacting emotionally, but they can refuse to answer messages that do not deal directly with the children. Parents may want to document all communication, including dates, times and what was discussed. This can be useful if parents need to return to court.

Another option for documentation is to use software or apps that are designed to help divorced parents communicate. Parents may want to use this or specify a single method for communication, such as email. However, there may be cases in which they can simply no longer work with the other parent. Parallel parenting, in which parents cut out virtually all communication, may be an option. The parents may also need to modify the custody agreement.

Negotiating child custody can be a challenge for parents even in an amicable divorce. It is an emotional issue, but parents should stay focused on the best interests of the child. This is the criteria that a family court uses, but parents are often able to negotiate an agreement for child custody and visitation without going into litigation. Courts also work from the assumption that in most cases, children should have the opportunity to build a relationship with both parents.

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