Ideally, divorced parents would find it in themselves to be able to parent their children in a civil manner that puts their kids before themselves. This, as we all know, is not always the case and joint parenting efforts can turn ugly quickly. When this unfortunate truth becomes your reality, there are some steps you can take to make the best of a bad situation.

Communication is Key

Most if not all functioning partnerships are built around being able to effectively communicate and have a coherent exchange of ideas without things escalating to a point of hostility. When one or both parents are unable to get this done on their end, effectively parenting your child becomes nearly impossible, a sad reality for many divorced couples. First, boundaries must be set and maintained regarding acceptable behaviors from your ex. Without self-advocating, the hostile parent has little incentive to change their ways. Unfortunately, often even this is not enough to make them aware of their hostile behavior. This hostility can extend beyond face-to-face interactions and spill over into written forms of communication. At this point in the deterioration of a couple’s communication, it may be time to consider a mediator of sorts. There are several companies out there that offer families services that facilitate discussions and parental planning through an external website. While a third-party communication system may seem extreme, sometimes it is the only way to get the hostile parent to think before they speak and can go a long way in making the other parent feel more comfortable in their communications. This isn’t a first resort but can become a necessity if things are reaching a point where you are unable to parent effectively.

Keep Your Children Out of the Conflict

Keeping your children away from you and your ex’s hostile situations can be extremely difficult, especially when bouts of anger come out of seemingly nowhere. It is clearly impossible to dictate your ex’s actions or the respect they show for your children’s well-being but there are steps you can take to minimize the damage done in these occurrences. Try your hardest not talk poorly or aggressively about the other parent and maintain as neutral of a stance as possible. This will involve quite a bit of tongue-biting but will be best for your child in the long-term. Knowing that you will not make negative remarks about the other parent will help your child feel comfortable in confiding in you and safe sharing their thoughts around you. That being said, if the other parent is saying negative things to the point that you’re worried about the mental health and well-being of your child, it may be wise to seek legal intervention.


There is a ton of stress involved family separation and counseling can be a powerful tool in helping families cope. Counseling can be done individually or as a family and both methods can be very beneficial to your parenting efforts. If your ex is willing to see a family counselor, you may be able to work through the causes of some of their hostility and reach a point where you can try to put your differences aside and do what is best for your children. If they are not inclined to do so, a counselor could still be hugely helpful in helping you process your emotions surrounding this tough time and give some wisdom on how to most effectively tackle the situation.


Subscribe to our newsletters

Subscribe to one or more of our newsletters, delivering meaningful insight on topics that matter to you and your family.
ebl home subscribe image


Latest Blog Posts

A Seattle family law attorney can help if you find you are in a situation where your ex is abusing your pet.

If you are an unmarried couple, a Seattle family law attorney can help you protect your partner through the use of wills and trusts.

A Seattle family law attorney can guide you with next steps should you discover that your spouse has been unfaithful.

An estate planning attorney can help you draft a will or designate some of your property as non-probate assets by creating various trusts.

Not sweating the small stuff is even more important during separation than it is at other times to have an amicable divorce.

Many people delay estate planning because facing sickness and death can be uncomfortable. However, preparation is necessary to have your wishes honored as you intend. With this in mind, consider the following suggestions to stay focused on these estate planning goals.

The thought of how to approach your partner for a divorce can be stressful, even if you believe they will take the news "well.” The upside is there are ways to communicate your intentions that can minimize the uncomfortable feelings you are experiencing while helping to make the conversation go more smoothly.

Probate in Washington state is relatively straightforward, especially with the guidance of a Seattle estate planning attorney at your side. Here is what you need to know.

Unsure where to begin gathering the foundation you need to go through the divorce process with confidence and well-prepared? Consider the following 10 tips to prepare for divorce.

Everyone who has anyone in their life needs an estate plan, even people who own little or no property.