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The challenges of co-parenting with a difficult ex-spouse

Setting boundaries with a difficult ex-spouse can be critical for divorced parents in Texas. Parents should keep two things in mind: One is that they should focus on what is in the best interests of the child. The other is that the best approach to co-parenting with a difficult former spouse is not that different from co-parenting with a more cooperative ex-spouse.

Parents should pay attention to the patterns they fall into that lead to conflict and disengage instead of escalating the situation. They do not have to reply to everything the other parent says or does. Instead, they can limit their communication to necessary information about the children and ignore everything else. Parents should also keep in mind that they do not have to respond immediately every time the other parent contacts them. This is particularly true if they are upset about something the other parent has said.

There are apps and software programs available that can facilitate communication between divorced parents. These programs also document all communication although this is something parents can consider doing on their own as well. This documentation can be useful if parents must return to court, and this may be necessary if they are unable to co-parent effectively. A change in the custody agreement could be helpful.

Regardless of the relationship between parents, family courts usually take the position that the child needs to be able to build a relationship with both parents. This does not necessarily mean a court will order joint custody although this is becoming more common, but it is usually considered in the child's best interests to have regular visits with the noncustodial parent. Parents who are concerned about their child's safety with the other parent may want to discuss how to proceed with an attorney.

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