Thursday, July 3, 2014

Divorce: 5 Common Scenarios In Co-Parenting & How To Respond

You wouldn't knowingly join a group of people hatefully protesting you on a street corner, putting you down… spewing hateful words and beliefs about you. You'd likely cling to what you know is truth and walk away… away from the darkness… away from the lies and the agenda, separate yourself… turn away from the manipulation, away from the emotional destruction and neglect… you'd march away and leave them all behind, walking toward light… toward truth, peace and all that is good.

Situations like the one above illustrate clearly what needs to be done when were met with less than loving or even a lack of downright decent treatment from our fellow human beings. When were actually in a relationship… whether it's one of dating, marriage or even divorce… namely co-parenting… it can undoubtedly be extremely difficult to keep boundaries in place and not admittedly innocently enough join another individuals toxicity toward us… becoming a non-willing participant/cohort of sorts in making ourselves miserable because the other person's behavior is so incredibly insidious.

At times in life there may be a huge bridge to gap between what you feel in your gut is happening, when you realize the reality is that's occurring, acknowledging it and finally proving it is actually happening… this is where complete awareness comes in… where denial cannot co-habitate with reality.

So often in divorce there are moments when perhaps our ex-spouse is attempting to make us question what our reality is… maybe what to even do… they purposely inflict a feeling of helplessness within you. As anyone knows who has been through a divorce it's not always feasible to run to your attorney every moment about each incident your ex pulls… there's not enough money in the world. This is why it's so important to pick your battles wisely. In this post I want to give concrete responses to common scenarios that may pop up during your divorce or even post-divorce process related to co-parenting.

The truth is… in a healthy relationship no matter what type it is… is based on love. It's very nature is open, it screams freedom… picture the windows on a home being open with the light and breeze carrying through it… this is the picture of a beautifully healthy relationship. One of control and manipulation would be with closed doors, closed windows… stuffy, restrictive… and make you want to escape. Someone making you feel trapped and hated… that is being a hostage to someone else's agenda and toxic behavior.

5 Common Scenarios In Co-Parenting & How To Respond: 

1. Ex is not returning the children's clothes when you exchange the kids. You send the children in clean fresh clothes each time and they come back in dirty worn out rags. You can have your decree state that all the children's clothes and belongings must be returned with them from one parents home to another. If it's not followed; document, document, document. Granted, standing alone, this issue is not going to matter to a judge. However, adding it to many other issues will show a pattern of behavior… which is what your ultimate goal is.

2. Ex is not giving you the information regarding upcoming psychologist, psychiatrist, dentist appointments, etc. It would be wise to go straight to the source…the doctor. This goes back to what I mentioned in the first paragraph. Don't join in the hate, the crazy, the darkness. Stay in the light and go about your business. Don't allow yourself to get dragged into any written or verbal communication of "I need the information" etc with your Ex… just don't… no begging, no threatening, whatsoever. Contact the doctor yourself and simply state your concerns. State that you would like the information regarding your child's appointments and progress. This is completely understandable on your part and as their parent you're entitled to the information. As a last resort you can always have your attorney send a simple reminder to your Ex's attorney that you're legally entitled to be told about all appointments regarding the children.

3. Ex hardly ever contacts the children but then harasses you either via phone, email, etc. Or maybe he or she is calling the children multiple times a day… where it's no longer reasonable contact but to an extreme. The best reaction is to not engage. If the harassment is by phone… if permissible in your area/and the local laws, record a few of the calls… say little, let he/she do the talking. Respond with neutral remarks of "So you're stating that's how you feel" and "I am listening."

1.) Keep the recorded calls as documentation of the harassment for court.
2.) File a police report so you have record of it.
3.) Get a restraining order specifically for harassment. Block their phone number.
4.) Have all future communication online via Talking Parents (free)
or Our Family Wizard ($100.00 per year).
5.) Save all messages and do not respond to any harassment online.
6.)Have your decree state specific times your children have contact with your Ex; specific days and times each week, etc. Then follow it and don't stray from the decree for any reason.

4. Your Ex continues to try to get you to go to dinner, lunch, etc either with the children or without. You know in your gut this is not healthy and there is zero valid reason for it to happen. Or perhaps your Ex is sending chocolates or gifts to you via the children when they return to you. You can simply respond to he/she on your online communication tool: "We are no longer a couple. We are divorced. We are merely to co-parent our children. Please stick to a co-parenting relationship only. This is considered harassment." Make simple statements and stick to them. In regards to gifts… when your child is out of sight throw the gifts away… you are no longer a couple and it's not reasonable for anyone to expect you to accept or keep any gifts he/she sends.

5. Ex wants to have the children an extra day one week because he/she has a family event… maybe a reunion, etc… and offers to let you then have an extra day to "make up" for the day you'd lose with your kids. This is not the time for extended dialogue between you both. You merely state: "I believe it's best we stick to the decree." or "We need to follow the decree." etc. It's when we fall for the guise of their nice covering the hate that we begin to make concessions and back down… don't step backward… stand strong in place and keep firm. The decree is written for a reason… to be followed.

As parents we don't have to join the person who is orchestrating their agenda, creating chaos and in turn hurting ourselves as well… unwittingly joining them in their cause in destroying us… we can toss aside the glasses that are fogged over, we can attain the ability to be cool, not reactive. We can ditch the deep seated desire to believe the best about this person who continually causes hell in our life and the lives of our children… we can say no to darkness and yes to truth… we can all say yes to light and we can say no to all who try to use the weapons of the devil… that they will have no power against us… that we will overcome… because we have God on our side and walk the path of goodness.

© ~ 2014 

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