One of the most difficult things to deal with after a contentious divorce is co-parenting. Unlike childless couples who divorce, you and your ex-spouse will still have to deal with each other on some level the rest of your lives. Contrary to what many divorced parents think, that contact does not end when your child turns 18 year of age. There are all kinds of life events that will take place in your child’s life that the other parent will be present at – college graduations, weddings, and grandchildren are just some of the experiences you will still have to share with your ex-spouse.
There are certain areas of co-parenting where conflicts tend to be especially high. Learning how to recognize and deal with these conflicts can help alleviate some of the stress – especially for you child. This may help to eventually having at least a civil – if not a cordial – relationship with your ex.
One of the most common areas of conflict is child-handovers, also referred to as custody exchanges. Many times, this is the only opportunity where ex-spouses are meeting face-to-face and so tensions are often high between the two. It is also where argument tends to occur – in front of the children. Even if you feel as if your ex-spouse is baiting you into an argument, the best course of action is to ignore those attempts. If the situation becomes too difficult to manage, you may want to consider having these hand-overs at a neutral location and/or having a third-party (a friend or family member) present to facilitate the exchange.
Unscheduled Phone Calls
Many child custody plans outline when the non-custodial parent is allowed to call the child. It is okay to be flexible if your ex-spouse calls outside that schedule occasionally. However, if you find that he or she is calling often and using those phone calls to instigate arguments, there are steps you can take to not get drawn into the negative behavior:
- Request that your ex-spouse call back at the scheduled time;
- Stress that the only subject of discussion is to be about your child;
- If your ex-spouse insists on going off topic, politely tell them you are hanging up and do so;
- If your ex-spouse continues to exhibit this behavior, let them know that going forward, all telephone communications will cease and further communications will need to be in writing, either via e-mail or letter.
If you are having involved in a child custody dispute, or are experiencing on-going issues with your ex-spouse, contact an experienced Orland Park child custody attorney at Kezy & Associates to find out what legal steps you may be able to take to resolve any serious issues concerning your child.