How to Handle High Conflict Co-Parenting
For all intents and purposes, having children with another person means a shared relationship for the rest of your life. It’s in everyone’s best interests – particularly for the kids – that the relationship be constructive, positive and a safe place for all parties. In some cases, though, the drain, stress and damage of high conflict co-parenting is a reality.
What can you do if you’re mired in a high-conflict parenting situation?
The following tips may be helpful:
Pickup and Drop-Off Services
Both informal and formal pick-up and drop-off services can be explored in order to avoid conflict following separation. An often-used option is meeting in a public place to prevent any escalation of conflict. In extreme cases, a third party – mutual friend, family member or, if required, a professional agency – can facilitate the exchange. Whatever the strategy, limiting time spent with the other parent (even during exchanges) will help alleviate some of the associated stress.
Our Family Wizard
In many family law cases, limiting communication between parties to text or email decreases accusations and hostility. In high conflict parenting situations, though, written communication alone may not be enough. Using a communication tool such as ‘Our Family Wizard’ can help parties self-edit communications, ensuring they are appropriate and respectful. Our Family Wizard also has features that permit third parties to monitor the engagement and suggest ways for the parties to improve communication skills and work together for the benefit of the children.
Research shows that parties are usually happier with an agreement arrived at themselves, as opposed to one imposed by the Court. Parents, unlike judges, are in the best position to negotiate a settlement that will be in the best interests of their children. As such, mediation can be a great option, not only for efficient settlement of family law issues, but also for the parties to avoid conflict and meaningfully feel ownership of an agreement that works for their particular family circumstances.
Keep the Kids Out of It
The most important thing to remember when dealing with a high conflict? Keep the children out of the fight. It’s no secret that centering children in hostility between parents leads to long term emotional damage. Kids must be allowed to be themselves – not messengers or sounding boards for their parents.
At Coach My Case, we have extensive experience in dealing with high conflict parenting cases. If you need advice tailored to your specific circumstances, contact our Legal Navigator at a time of your convenience.