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New Hampshire Family Law Blog

Reducing conflict when having to work with a toxic co-parent

Divorce is hard, and it can be hardest on the youngest members of a New Hampshire family. You may think that all you have to do is get through the divorce process and that's the end of the drama and the stress. Unfortunately, you may find that this is not the case if you have to work with a toxic co-parent.

You and your kids' other parent will likely have to remain in contact after your divorce, especially if you are sharing joint custody or you have a co-parenting agreement. The hard feelings he or she had before and during the divorce may not end once everything is final, and these feelings can harm what should be a mutually respectful and cooperative relationship. If you're stuck with a toxic ex, there are things you can do to make this partnership as painless and drama-free as possible.

Avoid co-parenting stress during the holidays

One of the only things you can be certain of about life is that it often includes change. Some changes are definitely easier to navigate than others. Perhaps, you have encountered financial challenges, job changes or other issues that have prompted changes in other areas of your life. If divorce is one of those issues, you may agree with other New Hampshire parents who say it was one of the biggest and most challenging life changes in their personal journeys. 

If you recently divorced and happen to be a parent, you might be feeling a bit anxious about this year's holiday season. If your family celebrated Thanksgiving, you hopefully were able to devise a plan that was fair and agreeable to you and your ex. Thanksgiving is typically the kick off to an entire holiday season. By keeping several things in mind, you can help your children make new memories and adapt to their new lifestyle. 

What's the right way to approach child support?

Financial issues are some of the most complex to address in a divorce. It is not always easy to decide on matters such as child support, and you may struggle to figure out how to approach this issue. You want to make sure your children have what they need, but you also want to be sure that you are not left with an unfair or unmanageable financial obligation. 

Understanding how child support works may be the key to figuring out how you should handle this sensitive matter. For example, you may be able to negotiate with your spouse on a reasonable out-of-court solution on these payments. If this is not possible, you will have to represent your interests in a family court. Either way, it could beneficial to understand what factors often play a role in a child support determination.

If you're a dad, do you have to move out before divorce is final?

When you got married, you took your role as husband and (down the line) as father quite seriously. You wanted to do your part to create a happy, healthy marriage and home life. Like most New Hampshire spouses, you expected your marriage to last a lifetime. When your spouse filed a petition to divorce, you were shocked and saddened. You wondered how you would tell your kids and how the news might negatively affect their lives.

Many fathers have been caught off guard in similar situations. If you believe that your spouse is going to give you a hard time in court, it's critical that you know your rights and how to protect them. The court often awards shared custody or even sole custody to fathers nowadays. Knowing what to expect in court and where to seek support if a particular legal problem arises is key to accomplishing your divorce-related goals.

A hostile relationship with your ex can complicate co-parenting

There was a time in history when children were little more than property. When parents divorced, the children stayed with the father since the law forbid women from owning property. Thankfully, those laws are far behind us, and children now receive the consideration and protection they deserve during the divorce process.

While it is still common for some courts to assume the children are better off with their mothers, with fathers receiving limited visitation, most family courts in New Hampshire attempt to reach as fair and equitable a custody plan as possible. However, this may provide little comfort if you and your ex cannot stand each other.

Non-custodial parents still have rights

As a parent, one of your main concerns is how you can protect your right to have a strong relationship with your children after divorce. Perhaps you and your spouse are unable to reach a beneficial resolution on custody and visitation on your own, leaving you with little option but to take your case to a New Hampshire family court. The final order may grant the other parent primary custody, and you may be confused as to where that leaves you.

Even if you are not the primary custodian of your kids, you still have certain rights. You will also have certain obligations to meet as well. It is in your interests to understand these things completely, as failure to adhere to the custody order, even by accident, can result in complications. Being a non-custodial parent does not make you a bad parent or less important than the other parent. 

Why are more families choosing parallel parenting?

Making choices that pertain to your children is one of the hardest aspects of divorce. This is an incredibly difficult process to navigate, especially when it is difficult to work with your spouse regarding a beneficial child custody arrangement. Many people are now opting for a joint custody arrangement, but will this actually work in your situation? 

Co-parenting is a popular choice for custody. This type of arrangement requires that the two parents work together to jointly raise their children. If you opt for co-parenting, you will have to work closely with your ex-spouse, and both parties will have to be willing to work together until the children grow up. In situations when parents do not get along well, this simply may not work. If you don't think co-parenting is right for you, it is possible that parallel parenting could work

Are you interested in the benefits of collaborative divorce?

Though you likely believe that ending your marriage is for the best, you may still have creeping feelings that the process will be awful. After all, you may know someone who went through a difficult divorce who saw conflict after conflict throughout the entire process. However, it is important to remember that each case is different, and the way in which you approach your case could make a considerable difference in how smoothly it goes.

Deciding beforehand that you will do your part to help your proceedings along may be a good starting point. It may also be wise to remember that there are other marriage dissolution options aside from courtroom litigation. In fact, a method like collaborative divorce may better suit your circumstances.

You can make the child custody process easier on your kids

It's a pretty universal concept that one of the primary concerns of most parents going through a divorce is how it affects their kids. Despite the emotional turmoil going on around them, you don't want it to touch them, even though you know that it will since change is inevitable.

You may feel as though you can do nothing to lessen their stress, anxiety and frustration, and the reality is that you may not be able to eliminate their fears, confusion and concerns. Even so, how you handle the coming days, weeks and perhaps months will make a difference in getting them, and you, through this process.

What can you do when mediation is not working?

Family law disputes are complex matters that can be stressful and difficult to resolve. The implications for these issues are significant – they can impact your family for years to come. You understand why it's important to reach a beneficial resolution to these types of issues, and for this reason, you may prefer to opt for mediation rather than litigation. 

Mediation allows two opposing parties to resolve their disputes in a respectful, calm environment. With the help of a neutral third-party, you and your spouse can work through issues related to child custody, visitation, property division, financial support and more. This is a beneficial option because it saves time, money and stress – but it doesn't work in every situation. Some New Hampshire couples find that mediation does not actually work for them.