Problem 1: Your ex is nasty and disrespectful to you
How to Deal: Address it if it’s happening in front of the kids, telling your ex you would prefer to keep things civil in front of the children, and then let it go. You can’t control what he or she does or doesn’t do. All you can control is your reaction to it. This isn’t your problem, it’s your ex’s. It only becomes your problem if you allow yourself to be sucked in. Remember they are trying to push your buttons to make you upset. When you get upset they have acheived their goal and they have won.
Problem 2: Your kids are being used as informants and messengers.
How to Deal: Acknowledge your part in this and resolve that you, at least, will keep your kids out of it. You can do this in a few ways:
•Don’t go into details about what went wrong between you and your
ex. Kids definitely do not need to know about all the problems their
•Allow your kids to develop an independent relationship with the
•Give your kids some space. As tempting as it is to try to gather info
about what’s happening at the other house, do not put the kids in the
middle by asking them questions every time they have visited or
spoken with the other parent.
Problem 3: Your ex is a no-show for visits or shirks other court-ordered responsibilities.
How to Deal: Keep a log of what’s going on in case you decide to go back to court. Document each and every time you the other parent is supposed to see the kids and shows or cancels. You may need that information later on.
Problem 4: Your co-parent isn’t involved with or doesn’t care about what’s going on with the kids.
How to Deal: Don’t try to solve unsolvable problems.You cannot make someone accept the responsibilities they should if they are not interested. If your ex won’t show up for functions or help make decisions, then you should just keep doing it yourself instead of wasting your energy trying to change them….and of course document, document, document.
Problem 5: Communication between you and your co-parent is non-existent or antagonistic.
How to Deal: Find a new way of communicating, preferably in writing. Talking on the phone or in person seems to encourage conflict. I always advise my clients to use email because it takes a lot of the drama out of communicating and it gives us both time to process and decide what to say in response. You do not have to respond to allegations or accusations that your ex makes – it is often better that you ignore them. Do not write anything in an email or text message that you would not want the Judge or your children reading. Also keep a copy of all email correspondence in case you need them for court in the future.
Problem 6: Your child is upset about the way your ex runs things in their house.
How to Deal: Be their listening ear, but not their mouthpiece. Instead, teach your children healthy ways to stand up for themselves and communicate their needs.
Andrew G. Storie is a family law and divorce attorney who serves Orlando and all of Central Florida. For more information, or if you are contemplating a divorce or modification of your parenting plan please visit http://www.storielaw.com/ or call us at (407) 838-0887