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It is one of the more challenging situations that you could face in your life. Co-parenting can be a beneficial way to raise your child, but is most effective when you’re working with a cooperative other parent. What happens however, when you have a combative ex-spouse? How do you co-parent in a situation like this?

As a former spouse of your child’s other parent, you maybe be well aware that your ex has personality traits that are not conducive to an ideal relationship. This may be the reason why the two of you are no longer together. However, you must also understand that these are personality traits that you will not be able to change. The other person’s behavior is not in your control. Therefore, make the best of the situation.

While you may not be able to do anything to change your partner’s behavior, or attitude, you have 100% control over the way you behave. Focus all your energies on presenting the best behavior possible in front of your children. Don’t focus on getting upset every time the other parent breaks a promise to the children, or forgets about a birthday party, even after reminders. Focus on being the best parent that you can for the children.

However, all of this does not mean that you don’t set your boundaries. Do not ever allow yourself to be dominated, manipulated or otherwise exploited by your ex-spouse. If necessary, talk to family or friends.

Maintain open communication at all times, and make sure that you have all details about the parenting plan established well in hand, so that you’re not in a position where you keep calling the other parent to discuss something related to the children. This can help limit the amount of communication that you have, while making sure that you have all the information that you need to be an effective parent to the child. It’s important to have clarity on both sides, and working to define all tasks, responsibilities and obligations towards the child beforehand, can help.

Accept that you may need counseling yourself. You may need counseling to deal with the constant conflict that you’re placed in a result of the other parent’s behavior. Otherwise, there is a very real risk that you will bottle up your emotions, and vent in totally inappropriate situations, like in front of the children.

Also accept that there is likelihood that some amount of the negative influence of your ex will filter down to the child.

However, just because your ex-spouse has an attitude problem does not mean that you turn a blind eye to everything that he does, especially when it concerns the children. For instance, if you find out that your ex-spouse has been leaving the children alone at home for a while, during his time with them, take action.

If you have found that your ex-spouse has placed your child in danger through his actions, speak to a Denver family lawyer about what you can do to protect your rights and protect your children. Your children are the biggest priority, and under no circumstances, must keeping the peace with your ex-spouse take precedence over their safety.