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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Coparenting after divorce in difficult circumstances

Tennessee residents who are struggling to co-parent with a difficult ex-spouse may be able to take some steps to defuse the conflict. The first thing a parent needs to do is focus on the children and put their needs first. A parent should also consider what things are most likely to set the other parent off. This makes it possible to anticipate and better control those situations.

Parents should limit communication with the difficult former spouse to only matters involving the children. This includes setting boundaries around their personal lives and what they are willing to discuss with the other parent. Parents should also avoid making negative remarks about the other parent in front of the child. It is important for children to be able to build a relationship with both parents, and these types of remarks might also result in children feeling unable to express their true feelings. In fact, parents should encourage children in their relationship with the other parent.

These tips work well if the conflict that exists in a divorced family is largely between the parents. If one parent is an addict or abusive, other actions may be appropriate.

During or after a divorce, a parent who becomes concerned about the child's safety with the other parent due to addiction or abuse may want to bring this to the attention of an attorney or the judge. Conditions may be set on the parent's contact with the child. For example, a parent may only be allowed supervised visitation until a drug rehabilitation program is complete. In particularly severe cases, the parent might be prevented from seeing the child altogether. However, in most cases, a court will consider it to be in the best interests of the child to spend time with both parents.

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