When parents in Arizona divorce, they often have the goal of eventually establishing a strong co-parenting relationship. This means that they are able to set aside their differences and effectively work together to parent their kids. However, there are situations in which one parent may be considered “high-conflict.” This means that they are unwilling to behave in a way that fosters a healthy relationship with their former spouse; they may seek to create conflict at every opportunity.
In some cases, these individuals have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, such as narcissistic personality disorder. In other cases, the high-conflict person remains angry at his or her former spouse and actively seeks to anger, humiliate or provoke the other parent.
In situations where one spouse will not or cannot control their negative behaviors toward the other, experts agree that a healthy co-parenting relationship is unlikely to be achieved. Instead, parallel parenting may be necessary. In a parallel parenting relationship, spouses mostly avoid each other and engage in limited communication for managing issues involving the kids.
For many individuals, attempting to parallel parent with an unreasonable ex can be very frustrating. Experts recommend seeking counseling, whenever possible, and taking steps to protect their communication. For example, a parent may opt to only communicate in person with the other parent as long as somebody else is present to witness the conversation. In addition, experts also recommend not responding to abusive messages. Instead, the recipient of such messages should save them as evidence of the other party’s behavior.
Individuals who are concerned about child custody and child support issues may benefit from speaking with an experienced divorce attorney. The attorney may be able to review the client’s situation and work to ensure a positive parallel parenting relationship.