Contested divorces can be complex and energy-draining. We understand that conflicts between a husband and wife are inevitable, that too especially when they are going through a divorce, and it can be difficult to come to an agreement on several issues.
While a contested divorce may be concluded with the court’s help, it does not mean that all issues are readily solved.
Following such divorces, there may still be disagreements between the two parties, and this can cause developmental harm to the children they are co-parenting.
Conflicts may arise in terms of access arrangements and other co-parenting matters. It is important that both parents find a comfortable solution to contain their strife so that they do not create mental stress on the children who are caught in between.
Here are three ways you can explore to diffuse high-conflict co-parenting.
Seek help from a parenting coordinator
The Parenting Coordination scheme offered by the Family Justice Court appoints a parenting coordinator to assist divorced parents in learning how to co-parent their children more effectively and cooperatively.
It is one of the several options considered when diffusing high-conflict co-parenting in acrimonious divorces.
The parenting coordinator helps to find resolutions to the disputes by educating, mediating as well as making recommendations.
The court will deem it appropriate to appoint a parenting coordinator if the parents are unable to co-parent on their own, try to prevent or alienate the children from meeting the other parent or are unable to solve any problem in an amicable manner.
The parenting coordinator is beneficial as parents can then focus more of their time and resources on strengthening their role as parents instead of litigating their issues in court, saving them on legal fees.
It will also protect their children from additional emotional stress caused by the conflicts and helps to promote a more friendly co-parenting atmosphere after the divorce.
Do note however that the scheme will be offered only if the court determines that both parties are able to afford the fees of a parenting coordinator and that a parenting order is in place.
A parenting order typically refers to the arrangement of legal custody and care and control of the child.
Develop a parenting plan
The parenting coordinator can also develop a fair parenting plan that helps to organise access arrangements and other parenting duties between the two parties. The plan can also be put together by the parents without the court’s guidance.
The purpose of the plan is to ensure that both parents are able to decide on fair parenting roles that promise a win-win outcome.
This means that either party should not feel that the other has an upper hand in the arrangement as this will inevitably lead to a conflict.
For instance, parents can clearly define the duration of their parenting time, how the transfer of parenting role is exercised, and the boundaries of communication between the two parents.
Communication is key in ensuring a low-conflict co-parenting environment. Parents can choose a mode of communication that establishes properly-defined boundaries, either mutually agreed upon or established by the court.
For instance, e-mail can be used to discuss issues pertaining to parental roles, such as the child’s education and health. This can be done in a professional manner, which does not give room for personal opinions which may otherwise lead to disagreements.
This also means that communication has to be carried out respectfully with the child’s interest in mind. Should the boundaries be violated, they can mutually agree on appropriate sanctions or rely on the court’s orders.
However, parents should bear in mind that they must have a mode of emergency contact so that they can reach each other immediately in times of crisis.
Read more: 5 Tips To Prevent Child Alienation