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Handling a difficult co-parenting situation after a divorce

Some Pennsylvania parents who are divorced may be struggling to co-parent with a difficult ex-spouse. As long as these struggles are not related to issues such as addiction and abuse and instead have more to do with ongoing conflict between parents, there may be steps that can be taken to improve the situation.

Focusing on the child is the first step. The parent should remember that the child's well-being should be the first priority and refuse to engage in rehashing issues that led to the divorce. Several strategies may help with this. One is only communicating with the other parent about issues that involve the child. Parents should create firm boundaries around their personal lives and avoid sharing this with a former spouse. It may also help to understand what tends to upset the other parent. Having this information means a person can avoid or at least prepare for conflict.

Parents should not badmouth the other parent in front of the children. This can result in them feeling unable to honestly discuss emotions. Instead, a parent should encourage the child's relationship with the other parent.

Child custody may be particularly difficult for a parent to negotiate in a divorce that has a lot of conflict. A parent's inclination might be to try to limit the other parent's contact with the child, but most of the time, this is not considered to be in the best interests of the child. Unless the child's well-being is at stake, children usually adjust better after a divorce if they are able to build solid relationships with both parents. However, if parents are unable to reach an agreement regarding child custody and visitation, they may have to turn to litigation and have a judge decide what is best for the child.

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