Even with the most amicable divorce, co-parenting is a challenge.

If one of the parents is excessively aggressive, this can be even more difficult. If you’re dealing with a difficult or aggressive co-parent, you should take some steps to protect your children and yourself.

One tip is to try to keep as much communication as possible in writing. It makes it easier to back away from a confrontation when you’re not there in person, and if aggression turns into violence you’re safer as well. In addition, a written record can convince an aggressive co-parent to tone down their rhetoric, because they don’t want evidence of bad behavior if you ever have to go to court.

Another suggestion is to keep in-person interactions as limited as possible, and always in public or at least with a witness other than your child(ren). For example, when you exchange your child, do it in a public and well-lit parking lot rather than inside a home. An aggressive person is less likely to physically intimidate or assault you when there are plenty of witnesses around.

Remember that the aggression might not be directed only at you. A co-parent who is aggressive with you might not be aggressive with the children, but you still need to be alert for symptoms of parental aggression. Regularly attending family therapy with children can be a good solution to give kids a neutral outlet where they feel safe to talk about the feelings they have about anything associated with the divorce.


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