It's the holiday season. If it's your first holiday season co-parenting with a difficult ex, you're probably not going to be shocked that it's going to be rough. In some situations, co-parenting does become easier over time, even during the holidays. However, that's not always the case. Justice Legal Team, PLLC presents 8 tips on how to co-parent with a difficult ex.
It Takes Time to Learn How to Co-parent
To learn how to co-parent, you and the difficult ex must move from adversarial mode to co-parent mode. While you may be absolutely convinced that it is your ex going out of their way to be difficult, it is equally important for you to make sure that you are not relying on the “turn around is fair play” tactic. While your ex is learning how to co-parent, be the bigger person. No one expects perfection, but do not pour fuel on the fire.
Do Not Use Your Children to Get Back at Your Ex
Co-parenting means just that: cooperative parenting. Your romantic relationship ended. However, your ex is still a parent. If you use your children to get back at your ex, you're not just hurting your ex. You're hurting your children. Using your children in this manner makes you the difficult ex, no matter how you perceive your ex and what they may have done in the past or what they do now to antagonize you.
Refer to the Custody Agreement
If you and your difficult ex cannot come to an agreement on how to co-parent, refer to the custody agreement. A standard Oklahoma child custody agreement explains when each parent can see the children. And, no, just because a difficult ex falls behind on their child support or stops paying does not necessarily mean that you can keep them from seeing the children.
Related: Seeking Back Child Support
However, if there is no child custody agreement in place, the custody of the children depends on whether you and your ex were married and/or whether paternity was established. It may be beneficial to take the necessary steps to get a custody agreement.
Be Available for the Right Conversations
It is perfectly acceptable to have boundaries when learning how to co-parent with a difficult ex. When you are no longer dating or married to a person, most of your day-to-day affairs are not their concern. While you do not need to constantly be available to talk to them about everything going on, you do need to be available for the right conversations. Those conversations are about your shared children. This also includes making sure that the children are available for scheduled phone and online visitation as well.
If Necessary, Document, Document, Document
If your ex is abusive, doesn't show up as promised or expected, or doesn't abide by the court order or court agreement, you can document these occurrences. Documentation can be helpful should it become necessary to go back to court. Sometimes all documentation does is show the court that there is a pattern of your ex going out of their way to be difficult. And, sometimes all an ex needs is for the court to get on to them for acting in that manner.
However, there are more serious instances where that documentation is vital for protecting you or your children.
Never Write or Say Anything You Wouldn't Want Said to the Judge
We know it can be hard to hold your temper in check all of the time. Always remember that anything you write or say could, at some point, be something that is said in front of the judge. Even if you have a difficult ex, what you write or say to them can be very important in a child custody situation.
Find a Support Group for How to Co-parent
Co-parenting with a difficult ex isn't easy. As we stated, there are some individuals who do mellow out over time. Those are the absolute best-case scenarios. At least initially, it can be very beneficial to find a support group while you learn how to co-parent and gain your footing. There are churches and secular groups that offer support groups both in-person as well as online.
Get Legal Help with Your Oklahoma Custody Case
If you feel like you've done everything you can possibly do with your Oklahoma custody case and you're just not making progress in co-parenting with a difficult ex, need help establishing custody, or establishing paternity, Justice Legal Team, PLLC is here to help. We offer affordable payment plan options. To learn more about our payment plan options, click here or schedule your consultation now!