Jenkins P.C.

Handling shared custody after a high conflict divorce

Going through a divorce can be a trying time for families as everyone tries to navigate the new dynamics. While many former spouses find ways to cooperate and remain civil during a divorce, oftentimes tensions rise too much and result in a strained relationship after the fact.

For many parents going through a contentious divorce, the reality is that they will have to stay in each other's lives for the long haul as co-parents. In California courts, the presumptive ideal custody arrangement involves both parents retaining some level of shared custody after a divorce. This is predominantly seen as the most beneficial situation for the child's long-term health and success.

If you find yourself in a contentious dynamic with a former spouse but have to share custody for the child's benefit, it can be an incredibly trying and difficult responsibility. While this dynamic may not be easy, there are a few strategies you can implement to make this shared custody arrangement work for everyone involved.

Remaining civil and cooperative

The way parents handle themselves during and after a divorce can have long-lasting effects on a child's behavior and perceptions of relationships. It's important that parents make a concerted effort to remain civil and try to work together without forcing children into an uncomfortable or potentially damaging situation.

Children should never end up as the middleman between two fighting parents. Even seemingly simple, innocuous requests to have the child pass on a message to the other parent can lead the child to feel conflicted and pressured in this family dynamic. For their benefit, parents need to find workable solutions for managing shared parenting responsibilities and remaining communicative with their co-parent.

Tips and tools for co-parenting

As with almost everything in a person's daily life, there may be a digital solution to your co-parenting needs. Websites and apps for co-parents offer an all-in-one platform for sharing information, communications and responsibilities with a co-parent in a way that is drama-free and holds both parties accountable.

These apps, including Cozi, 2Houses and Our Family wizard, offer features to reduce the complicating factors associated with shared parenting in multiple households. They offer expense reports, shopping lists, built-in messaging features, shared calendars and other helpful tools. Keeping all of this information in one place can help even the most contentious former couple manage their shared duties without bringing in unrelated stressors.

Managing a co-parenting relationship after a high-conflict divorce can present any number of challenges, but they are by no means impossible to solve. Consider additional resources such as family counselors and family law experts as you prepare for this new parenting dynamic with an ex.

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