Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, attempting to raise a child with someone who has exhibited contemptible traits can be challenging to say the least.
Family law attorneys will try to encourage the parties to work things out, but no matter who you hire, sometimes things get ugly. Custody battles can be long, nasty, and create long-lasting negative effects in the family relationship. It is important to try to heal and learn to communicate with each other in raising a healthy, well-balanced child. Here are some steps in learning to co-parent in an effective and healthy way after a nasty custody battle.
1. Minimize contact – the fewer opportunities for your ex to exploit your emotions, the less often he or she will. Stick to speaking with them only about the children and only when necessary. Some very high-conflict cases use online programs for spouses to speak through, such as Our Family Wizard. The program has a calendar for the parents to keep up with the child’s schedule and a message board. When necessary, the court or parenting coordinators can obtain access and review the communications between the parties. This keeps all behavior above-board and the parties have fewer chances to argue.
2. Practice mindfulness – It sounds a little new-agey, but practicing mindfulness and calmness can go a long way in healing after an ugly divorce. Spend five minutes a day meditating. This can be as simple as sitting still and focusing on your breathing, or jotting down whatever thoughts come to you. Remember that breathing deeply when you and your ex begin to disagree can help you maintain perspective and be a calm voice of reason when things get emotional.
3. Do not criticize your ex in front of your child – this is potentially one of the most damaging behaviors ex-spouses can do after a divorce. No matter how infuriating they may be, they are still the parent of your child, and are a crucial part of their lives. You should never let your child share the burden you might carry when dealing with the other parent. Let your child enjoy childhood for as long as possible. To that end, don’t use your kids as messengers or pawns. You and your ex must learn to communicate like adults. If you have to enlist the help of a third party in order to do this, then do it.
4. Get help – No matter how you look at it, going through a divorce is traumatic. It is the breakup of a family unit. Seeking out professional help to work through your emotions is a good idea. Counselors can help you identify negative behaviors, and can give you tips on how to handle conflict with your ex. At the very least, having someone that you can vent to without judgment and with confidentiality can go a long way in helping you work through the trauma of the divorce. There is no shame in seeking out counseling whenever you feel overwhelmed.
5. Cultivate your own life – As strange as it sounds, one of the best ways to work on your relationship with your ex is to work on your relationship with yourself. Developing your own hobbies, working out, and carving out time for yourself can make you feel happier and more fulfilled. This will enable you to feel less frustrated with your ex, and give you confidence in all areas of your life. It is true of any relationship – spending time on yourself makes you a better ( as a parent, as a friend, as a partner, etc). It even translates into ex relationships.
Contact a Fresno and San Diego Child Custody Attorney
Rebecca Medina is a family law attorney serving Fresno, California, San Diego, California, and surrounding areas. She will guide you through all family law matters, from divorce, paternity, child support and modifications of custody. If you are getting a divorce or facing other family law issues, contact her today.