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Three ways to manage high-conflict co-parenting situations

Divorce is a stressful thing. Dividing money, debt and time with children can cause tensions to run high. In some divorces, the conflict never seems to end, with repeat court dates, unsuccessful mediations and hearings keeping the wounds fresh.

High-conflict divorce proceedings can result from bitterness and vindictive feelings but also from normal reactions to very hard situations. Emotional challenges can become inflamed during custody and financial battles. How, then, can you navigate the co-parenting waters in this type of atmosphere? Here are three things you can do to reduce the stress in your family's post-divorce world.

1. Designate custodial exchanges that minimize your interaction with your ex

When two parents don't get along, it is best to minimize contact between them. It can help to designate custodial changes at schools, day care locations or other places where overt conflict isn't acceptable. Doing so means less of a chance you and your ex will expose your children to a nasty exchange of words.

2. Avoid sending messages through your children

Court systems do not look favorably upon those who thrust their children into adult conflict. Before your separation, your children may have heard and seen some behavior that you now regret. Now, however, they should not have to endure any more acrimony. Do not place the children in the middle of your custody issues. Do not send messages through them or ask them to report back on the comings and goings of their other parent.

3. Communicate through email or a neutral third-party if you cannot do it in person

One way to prevent fights is to avoid communication over the phone or via text. Utilize email when you can; if that does not work, you could appoint a third-party to act as a go-between. A neutral party (like an attorney) can be an excellent choice. Remember, of course, that you will probably have to pay for this service.

Divorce is never easy. A strong personality can keep the conflict going through custodial exchanges. Utilizing some of these tips can help keep the anger at bay for the sake of your children.

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