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Tips for communicating with a toxic co-parent

| Nov 21, 2019 | Child Custody |

Arizona parents who share custody of their children with a toxic ex-spouse may feel trapped in a difficult situation. However, there are ways they can keep their sanity and stay focused on the kids’ best interests despite the power struggles, drama and manipulation caused by the toxic person. Successful co-parents have found that it is a lot more about not engaging with a toxic person than it is about engaging.

For a person to maintain their sanity and do their best at parenting, they have to set boundaries and stick to them. One way that this can be done is by limiting communication with the toxic ex. Instead of having face-to-face conversations, using a parenting portal or email may be a better option. In addition to documenting everything that’s said, it can help co-parents keep the communication factual and business-like. The communication should focus on parenting, not hashing out old problems from the marriage that caused the divorce.

Limiting when discussions take place can also be helpful. After a divorce, a parent is not on call for the other ex-spouse. Of course, emergencies that involve the children need to be handled immediately. It may be helpful to establish a delay time for responding to a “toxic” message. Perhaps a person will take an entire day to think about the request or what has been said before responding. This will help them to respond mindfully and calmly as opposed to reacting emotionally.

Sometimes, a co-parent must file a court order if a toxic ex-spouse constantly crosses boundaries or barges through agreements. One may want to speak with an attorney regarding their child custody agreement to find out if modifications are possible. The attorney could potentially help a parent file appropriate paperwork or even provide representation in court.