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Parenting: How to Deal with an Unreasonable Ex-spouse

If you have successfully come out of a dysfunctional marriage through divorce, then let me be one of the first people to congratulate you. But it’s not over yet. In fact, that’s only one or two hurdles in this whole hurdle race of family upbringing.  It might not be a big deal at first, but once you start co-parenting your children with different goals in mind, trust me, you will need all the help you can get.

Imagine the children going to and fro between you and your spouse, learning different things and living different routines. It’s going to be hard not only on you, but most especially on your children. I’ve learned that the part where most divorced couples with kids have a hard time on is on communication. That’s right! It sounds so simple, but when you’re in that situation, then you might understand how uncomfortable it is to talk to the last person who you’d want to be talking to. But even so, you have responsibilities as a parent, and it’s the least you can do for your children.

Here are three tips you can consider keeping in mind when starting out as a co-parent:

Maintain an Open Communication

It’s hard to relay messages through a third party (the child) and expect quick responses as if that child knows how to explain what you said exactly how you meant it. So it’s better to keep an open line between you and your ex-spouse to talk about the important details, no matter how big or small those may be.

Whether it’s about an assignment due the following week, or a classmate’s birthday party, or a game you have to go to, you have to tell your ex-spouse all the details! And hopefully, they follow your attitude and do the same for you. You’re not mind-readers, so tell each other the important stuff!

Use Mandated Co-parenting Websites

If you and your ex-spouse have shown the inability to communicate on your own, then you may have been ordered to use websites such as Our Family Wizard as a last resort to mediate your communication. Through this app, you can clearly communicate what you need to tell your ex-spouse – schedules, appointments, expenses – without having to speak to each other directly. Remember to always use this as it is crucial to your divorce decree mandated by the court.

The Golden Rule

Don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do unto you. It’s a pretty simple rule to live by, but its effectiveness is undeniable. Even if you don’t want to, you always have to be the bigger person and show a positive example not only to your children, but also to your ex-spouse. Show that you are a fair and supportive parent that communicates effectively and hopefully your ex will follow suit.

These three tips may be simple and general, but you will come to know over time how effective they are in terms of handling unreasonable ex-spouses. Nobody will award you for being the parent of the year, but it will be personally satisfying to know that at the end of the day, you did your part as an amazing parent.

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Mr. Hutton is a Divorce and Custody Lawyer based out of Round Rock, TX. His background is with child psychology at Arizona State University where he received a B.S. in 2006, and he continued this by working with the Children’s Right’s Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law where he received his J.D. in 2009. Throughout his practice, he has been a strong proponent of utilizing modern technology to improve his practice and the representation of his clients. He currently is the technology chair of CAFA of Travis County and is committed to improving and modernizing the practice of law in Texas. If you have any questions you can contact him at

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