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When the co-parenting relationship is toxic

Parents in California may face a difficult time co-parenting after the end of a relationship, particularly if their co-parent is unstable, manipulative or narcissistic. It is far too easy for the fights that led to a divorce to become fights between co-parents over the children's schedule, activities and commitments. When control issues were a big part of the split to begin with, disputes over the children can be another way of expressing control. In addition, co-parenting arguments may quickly begin to echo those that came along with the end of the marriage. A former spouse may know more than anyone else how to push a person's buttons or spark an emotional reaction.

Still, absent neglect or abuse, most children still benefit strongly from a relationship with both parents. Parents are left to navigate the situation and put the best interests of the child first. There are several ways that people can help to ease their child custody conflicts with a difficult former spouse. While an open co-parenting relationship may be a great idea for some families, others can benefit from strong boundaries. There are apps and portals designed to support communication between co-parents in a facilitated, monitored context. The use of these apps may even be ordered by the family court as part of a parenting plan.

In other cases, parents may need to conceive of their relationship as one better suited to parallel parenting than to co-parenting. As much as possible, their interactions can be centered only around the kids, without putting the children in the middle of the dispute.

Of course, some parents may try to undermine the child custody order or interfere with the parent-child relationship. A family law attorney may help a parent go to court for a child custody modification or to enforce an existing child custody order.

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Law Offices of Catherine A. Schwartz
6877 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92506

Phone: 951-335-0510
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