Co-parenting can be one of the biggest challenges couples face after a divorce. In New Jersey, issues around money and custody are the two biggest hurdles couples must overcome in a split. Sometimes, those can be overcome in good faith. At other times, one ex-spouse is hostile and may even seem to relish causing trouble. In those cases, there are still some actions people can take to try and repair the relationship.
Where to get help
One of the most valuable resources for any divorcing couple and their children is a good therapist. A qualified counselor might be able to help you understand the sources of tension, and possibly to work through them.
A mediator can be another wonderful resource. Mediation is a process in family law where the divorcing couple comes up with their own agreement regarding custody and visitation. The mediator does not take sides. Instead, they are trained to help people identify and solve conflicts that are keeping them from coming to a resolution. Mediation doesn’t always work: sometimes the court needs to hand down an arrangement. But simply agreeing to mediation shows a willingness to adapt that judges may see favorably.
Finally, parents dealing with a difficult ex should try and be strategic in the way they communicate. Go into any discussions with a specific objective in mind. Find ways to circle back to that goal, even if your ex tries to distract you. And remember to have a duck’s back. The marriage is over. You’re no longer committed to your ex. You may need to be committed to doing what will provide your kids with the best outcome.
Dealing with a toxic ex is never easy. It can be a good idea to keep your attorney informed about any openly hostile behavior from your ex, or unwillingness to adhere to the custody agreement. Your lawyer and the court may be able to help you set boundaries and manage the situation if it becomes harder to control.