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Co-parenting after a high-conflict divorce

When Tennessee parents get divorced, emotions often run high. Still, they typically understand that children do best when they are able to have strong relationships with both parents. Unfortunately, the conflicts that led to a divorce may continue as the ex-spouses strive to co-parent their kids. This conflict can have a serious impact on the children as well as the parents themselves.

Fortunately, there are things that parents can do to reduce this conflict. The first is to take stock of one’s attitude toward their ex-spouse and the divorce itself. The needs of the children should be prioritized. Parents who are having difficulty managing their emotions around their former marriage should seek support from a therapist, friends or clergy.

If the conflict continues, it is important for parents to document time spent with their kids as well as interactions with each other. Keeping a journal can be useful if it is necessary to enter into counseling, mediation or, in extreme cases, litigation. Documentation can show which parent has acted as the primary caregiver in recent years and may also demonstrate a parent’s good faith attempts to effectively co-parent with an ex-spouse.

A parent can also work to develop a visitation schedule that minimizes contact between ex-spouses. For example, if a child regularly spends three nights a week at the other parent’s home, the child should keep clothing and toiletries at each parent’s home, allowing the child can go directly to the household where he or she will be spending the night after school. This reduces the need for parents to work out pickups and drop-offs between themselves. A parent who is struggling with a custody arrangement may benefit from speaking with an attorney. Counsel may be able to review the client’s case and make recommendations for creating a parenting plan or modifying an existing agreement.

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