Immediately following a bitter divorce, it is possible that you will thoroughly dislike your former partner. A contentious custody battle and fighting over child support often make it hard for a former couple to see eye to eye or even communicate in an effective manner. Unfortunately, once the custody agreement becomes a court order, a parent who wants to maintain a healthy relationship with children while avoiding a contempt of court complaint must interact with the other parent. Co-parenting with someone you dislike is not easy, but it is possible and often necessary.
Expect the Worst
As depressing as it may sound, you should prepare to deal with the worst behavior that your ex has to offer. Remember, your ex is as angry and upset as you are about the situation and may give in to his or her desire to hurt you. Expect to deal with arguments, ignored parenting rules or advice, and interference from friends, family members, or new significant others. Knowing what to expect will not make dealing with any of these situations easier, but mentally preparing yourself for the worst can make incidents that occur less shocking.
Take the High Road
When your former partner does give in to an impulse to say or do the worst things imaginable, try your best to take the high road. A large part of parenting is leading by example, and letting your children see you behave like a responsible adult will help them in the future. Children take behavioral cues from their parents and seeing you react calmly in the face of childishness or disrespect shows them how they should plan to behave as adults themselves.
Do Not Be Afraid to Contact a Lawyer
If the other parent begins pushing boundaries by not following the custody and visitation agreement, do not be afraid to contact your lawyer. While talking to your ex directly about the problem immediately is always a good idea, if your former partner is doing things solely to antagonize you, discussing your concerns with him or her may only encourage the behavior to continue. Instead of repeating yourself multiple times, a call to your attorney may clear things up while helping you avoid an argument.
Never Use the Kids
No matter how upset, hurt, or furious you are at the behavior of the other parent, never use your kids against him or her. Doing things like withholding visitation because child support payments are behind, not bringing your children back to the custodial parent on time because you are angry, and finding other ways to violate the agreement or parenting plan solve nothing. In fact, doing these things can lead to additional court hearings and serious legal trouble for you.
Get Legal Advice
If you believe your existing co-parenting arrangement is not going to work, it is time to contact a child custody and visitation attorney. Finding a legal remedy to the situation is the best way to resolve things without placing yourself in contempt for violating the existing agreement. The team at Vayman & Teitelbaum is ready to work on your behalf, so contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our four Atlanta, Georgia locations.