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Co-parenting should be avoided in high-conflict divorces

A lot has been said about the merits of co-parenting. Ideal as it may seem, this cooperative style of parenting only works for spouses who are already on the same page when it comes to their child's well-being. For Missouri couples who are enduring a high-conflict divorce and are likely to be at odds after the split, another approach might be in order.

Figuring out whether a former partner will uphold his or her part of the bargain is the first consideration. Even when co-parenting is likely to be successful, boundaries need to be set.

One family court advocate and author recently related how she was unable to co-parent because her former spouse was a narcissist and unable to see her point of view when it came to any parenting issue.

People with high-conflict personalities present the most challenge. These folks generally fail to see the benefits of working with their former spouse and may never accept the view that the other spouse has something of value to contribute to raising their children. Co-parenting with these time bombs can actually damage a child over the long run.

Instead of trying to co-parent with this type of personality, a better approach might be parallel co-parenting in which children are allowed to live with different rules in two separate households. This prevents the sort of parental conflict often seen with former spouses who do battle over their kids week in and week out. Parallel co-parenting does not require agreed-upon rules based on just one household.

Whether couples get along or not, children need both parents, especially during their formative years. Although one co-parenting style may seem ideal, co-parenting situations differ widely across families, and parents as well as the family law attorneys who guide them need to recognize that fact.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Not Everyone Should Try to Consciously Co-Parent. Here's Why.," Virginia Gilbert, April 8, 2014

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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