Co-parenting is difficult in many cases, but in some cases, it is so difficult that it is described as high conflict. High conflict co-parenting takes its toll on the co-parents, the children, and the families involved. It can take time to discover healthy ways to deal with the situation.
Signs that You May Be Experiencing High Conflict Co-Parenting:
- You do not speak to your ex about anything outside of your child.
- When you speak about your child or situations pertaining to your child, you always disagree.
- You or your spouse or both of you are in and out of family court.
Improving a High-Conflict Co-parenting Situation: Develop a Fair Parenting Plan: In many situations, considering the parenting plan calmly without emotion will make it clear that a significant amount of the conflict is inspired by the terms of the parenting plan. Work on developing a parenting plan on your own or through a mediator that you can both agree on. When it comes to co-parenting and developing parenting plans that work for the long run, it is important to aim for a win-win situation.
Include Communication Boundaries in the Parenting Plan: Communication without proper boundaries leaves a lot of room for conflict. Many high conflict co-parenting situations can greatly benefit by agreeing to use a third-party communication application. Further define the boundaries of appropriate communication by specifically listing them in your parenting plan. For instance, you can require weekly email updates from one parent to the other limited to discussing parenting items. You can require that when communication is received regarding the child the other parent must respond within a certain time frame. You can allow for exceptions for emergencies when defining your communication boundaries and even go so far as to define what constitutes an emergency. You can even agree that violating the agreed upon boundaries is contemptible. In high conflict co-parenting situations, clearly defining appropriate communication and the boundaries of that communication can drastically decrease the chance for conflict.
Focus on Decreasing Conflict: When creating your parenting plan, make the focus diffusing conflict and decreasing the potential for conflict. If something is proposed that does not support this goal, don’t include it. Most parents in high-conflict parenting situations know what their triggers are. They are aware of the situations that set them off and what they can and cannot handle from their ex. That means that if you agree to design a parenting plan that reduces high-conflict, you know exactly what situations to eliminate or avoid. For example, simply deciding that the exchange point when one parent’s parenting time ends and the other’s parenting time will be a neutral location (such as the child’s school) can make a huge difference. If you need help mitigating high conflict co-parenting or if you need assistance designing a parenting plan that will help you and your ex co-parent more effectively, please get in touch with the California family law attorneys at The Maggio Law Firm today.