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Co-parenting issues after a divorce

Raising a child is difficult enough when you are married. After divorce, co-parenting with your former spouse or partner adds extra challenges. Be aware of common co-parenting issues that arise after divorce to avoid co-parenting conflicts.

Uncooperative or negative former spouse

If the divorce was not mutual, one party may harbor negative feelings toward the other. Or, perhaps the uncooperative or negative attitude of the other spouse is the reason the relationship ended in the first place.

Either scenario can cause all sorts of co-parenting issues. Your former spouse may badmouth you in front of your child, which causes deep emotional pain for children. Children often feel attacked or put down by this behavior. If you find out your ex is badmouthing you, talk to them directly about how this harms your child's self-esteem.

Exes can also be petty or uncooperative, not following through on prior commitments they've made. While this puts you in a bind, try not to stoop to the same behavior. Be courteous and do what you said you would do for the sake of your child.

Visitation changes

As children age, school obligations or social plans may mean that your child wants to switch nights they go to your house or your ex's house. This can cause strain if one parent feels their time with your child is cut short, or irritation if you need to change your plans to accommodate the other parent's requests.

These stressors can be avoided by revisiting the visitation schedule and talking openly with your child, if he or she is old enough, about his or her preferences. By being flexible and thinking about what is best for your child, conflict over visitation can be minimized.

Different rules at different houses

When your child spends time at Mom's house and Dad's house, they navigate different rules on everything from snacks to bedtime. This can be confusing for your child and cause tension at home if your rules differ greatly from your former spouse's rules.

Strive for consistency on core issues by talking about this with your ex. If you can agree on bedtime, curfew, or other issues, that can create needed stability for your child. Also remember that part of co-parenting is accepting that you can only control what goes on in your own household, so long as your child is not in danger.

If you face co-parenting issues, it may be helpful to revisit your divorce agreement with the help of your attorney. By making changes to the agreement, you can reduce stress associated with co-parenting after divorce.

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