Child Custody 101: How to Deal With a Toxic Co-Parent

Child Custody 101: How to Deal With a Toxic Co-Parent

Parent and child

No one likes the idea of divorce and much less the process of it. Yet, it is a reality of our modern world and unfortunately one that almost half of the American households will deal with. Regardless of your reasons for filing, you have to keep your head clear when dealing with the aftermath of that decision. Especially when you are dealing with a toxic co-parent, maintaining a level-head will not only help you in the long run, but it will positively impact your children.

Establish Healthy Boundaries

This is a simple piece of advice that in the beginning, may be hard to implement. However, it is vital. Only talk about the kids. Do not engage in personal conversations with your ex. Do not speak to them about the good times you shared in hopes of smoothing things over. At this point, your relationship should be solely focused on your children and their well-being. A toxic co-parent will use any bit of information to leverage against you. Do not give them that opportunity.

Get Things in Writing

The fact that you and your ex can amicably talk on the phone does not mean that they are your friend again. Document your conversations. Better yet, use email or a co-parenting mobile app with messaging capabilities to communicate any decisions you two have made.

Do NOT Be Reactive

The odds are that your ex-partner is going to do things to get under your skin. They may suddenly ‘forget’ an arrangement you both agreed on. Or, they designate themselves as the ‘fun parent’ who takes the kids out for sweets, while you have to be the ‘bad parent’ that forces them to do homework. This imbalance in parenting is an effective strategy that happens quite often. The best reaction is not to react because that is what the toxic co-parent wants. Instead, take a moment. Figure out what would be the best course of action for your children, and then proceed.


Fortunately, there are services out there that can help you in situations like these. Contact a family law attorney to discuss your options. The Law Offices of Jonny Kousa, P.L. have successfully handled numerous cases involving divorce and child custody arrangements.


Call our experienced child custody attorney today at (954) 626-8071.