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Coparenting with a difficult ex-spouse

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2019 | Child Custody

Divorced parents in Texas do not have to agree on every aspect of co-parenting to do it effectively. However, in some situations, one parent may be toxic and try to use the co-parenting relationship to manipulate the other parent. This can make a difficult situation even harder, but there are steps a parent can take to manage it.

The keys for parents who are in a co-parenting relationship like this are to stay focused on the child and to remember that they cannot control the other parent, but they can control their own reactions. Essentially, this means not engaging with the toxic parent. The parent should learn to recognize the patterns and set boundaries. This can mean not responding immediately and making rules about how communication will happen, such as only over email. There are also programs that can be used by divorced parents for communication. These programs document co-parent communication, which may be a good idea for parents whether or not they use the program.

Parents should also remember that it is not always necessary to respond. They can just answer communication about the children and ignore everything else. Ultimately, it may be necessary to return to court to revise the parenting plan or to consider parallel parenting, in which there is almost no communication between parents.

In general, family courts prefer for parents to try to work out issues between themselves. However, if a parent falls behind on child support or repeatedly violates the custody and visitation agreement, a parent may want to seek legal assistance. Even when the other parent is difficult, courts generally try to find a way for the child to have a relationship with both parents. A parent who is concerned that the other parent is neglecting or abusing the child may want to consult an attorney.