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Advice for parents dealing with a difficult ex-spouse

Divorce is often heralded as a time of reflection and new beginnings. Individuals who divorce often feel relieved once a divorce is finalized and are often able to reflect and learn from the mistakes of a failed marriage while focusing on making positive changes to ensure for a happier future. For divorced parents, however, regular contact with an ex-spouse may prove to be difficult. This is especially true in cases when a divorce was conflict-ridden and contentious.

In a perfect world, divorced parents would be able to set aside personal feelings and emotions and focus on and do what's best for a child. In reality, however, many parents are unable to let go of feelings of anger and resentment towards an ex-spouse and may engage in behaviors or actions that ultimately serve to negatively impact a child.

For parents who are dealing with a manipulative or combative ex-spouse, it's wise to remain calm and composed. This is especially important when talking to or discussing an ex-spouse when children are present. If an angry ex-spouse engages in behavior towards an ex or his or her children that is inappropriate, it's wise to document such instances. It may also be wise to limit communication with an ex-spouse to email only to avoid potential conflict and ensure that all conversations are documented.

In some cases, divorcing or divorced parents dealing with a difficult ex-spouse may benefit from counseling or therapy sessions. A professional therapist is trained to help individuals dealing with high-conflict and stressful situations. A therapist can also act as a sounding board and help an individual develop better and more healthy coping methods as well as suggest ways to diffuse potentially combative situations.

Divorce can be difficult and is even more difficult for parents dealing with an angry and combative ex-spouse. Minnesota parents who are in this situation are advised to consult with a divorce attorney who can answer questions and provide guidance and assistance if and when appropriate.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Divorce Confidential: Coping With an Impossible Spouse During and After Divorce," Caroline Choi, Feb. 13, 2014

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