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Jefferson County Family Law Blog

Making a success of co-parenting with a toxic ex

Colorado parents who are co-parenting know that many challenges arise as they look out for the best interests of their children. The situation can be even more complicated if one of the co-parents is a toxic person. The following tips can help individuals co-parent with a toxic ex after a divorce.

It is important to remember that communication with an ex-spouse needs to be business-like. Conversations should be factual and pragmatic; the goal is not to hash out old problems in the marriage. Conversations should focus on the children and their needs.

Managing the marital home in a divorce

When Colorado couples decide to divorce, the family home can be one of the most difficult items to divide. It is often a family's largest single asset, while many owners also carry substantial mortgages. The home often also carries a significant amount of emotional weight. The question can be more complex when children are involved, as parents may be concerned about displacing their children at the same time they are dealing with the changes that accompany a divorce. Still, there are several primary ways that people can handle the family home when separating.

While many people are attached to their homes, selling the house and dividing the proceeds is often the cleanest way to deal with it in a divorce. This is often the preferred option if the house is too costly for either spouse on their own. If this is not the case, one spouse could potentially buy out the other. In some cases, they may exchange their interest in another family asset, like a retirement fund, for their interest in the equity in the home. In other cases, they may need to take out a mortgage to cover the other spouse's equity interest.

Keep these things in mind when drafting a divorce agreement

Not all divorces have to end up in court. It is entirely possible to resolve divorce disputes and settle everything without ever stepping foot inside a Colorado courtroom or ending up before a judge. Every couple has the right to negotiate a final agreement and draft an order on their own, but it is still subject to approval by a judge.

The terms of your divorce order matter. They will impact you for years to come, and it's beneficial to think long-term when negotiating and working toward a reasonable outcome. How you feel right now may not be indicative of what is truly best for you in the future. The more thorough and practical your divorce order is, the better it will be for you and any minor children.

Some factors judges use to determine child custody

Judges in Colorado take into consideration a variety of factors when determining which parent will get custody of the children as the parents go through a divorce. The main goal judges have when looking at these factors is to determine what will be in the best interests of the child.

Some things that they will consider concerning the children include their ages, how well they could adjust to new circumstances, and their health. Judges often prefer to maintain consistency, which sometimes means that custody will be granted to the parent the child is already living with. However, this is no hard rule. As the children get older, judges may be more willing to look at other living arrangements as the children may be able to better adjust as they mature.

When child custody and support orders aren't working, modify

Following the finalization of your divorce, the terms of your support and custody agreements seemed to be working well for a while. Now, however, things have changed, and you believe that it is time to revisit the terms of your child custody and support orders. Thankfully, under the right circumstances, you can seek to modify these agreements.

The state of Colorado understands that nothing in life is sure. Life changes warrant the need for custody and support modifications. If you wish to pursue either or both, you may, but you need to have a good reason for doing so.

Child support agreements

When parents in Colorado divorce, they may be worried about the process of negotiating child support. Unfortunately, media depictions of adversarial divorces may be the cause of this concern. While court battles between a divorcing couple may attract public interest, the reality is that many parents can amicably negotiate child support payments between themselves.

Even in divorces where parents have bitter feelings toward each other, there is usually a mutual desire to protect the best interests of the children. It is from this basis that spouses can look past their personal differences and work out financial and custodial solutions that make sense for their family.

Does your divorce have to be a tense fight?

Making a drastic change in your life can have many repercussions. In some cases, those repercussions can be beneficial, but you may first face difficulties as you try to work through other matters associated with the change. 

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you are in for a substantial change. Living as a single person once again may have a varying degree of impact, depending on how long your marriage lasted, and the challenges involved in your divorce may depend on certain factors as well.

Safety and visitation rights

When parents in Colorado divorce, both spouses are usually interested in protecting the best interests of their kids. Even even if spouses are bitter toward each other, they're usually capable of getting past this and respecting the custody arrangement. In some cases, however, a parent may have significant concerns about the safety of their child while visiting or living with the other parent.

While it's common for divorced parents to have some minor disagreements about child-rearing, rules and household discipline, having legitimate fears that a child may be in danger are much more serious. These concerns could include emotional abuse, exposure to the other parent abusing drugs and physical or sexual abuse. A parent may also be concerned that the ex is associating with people who might also pose a danger to the child.

Fathers and child custody issues

Most fathers living in Colorado and around the country are deeply committed to their children. Unfortunately, in cases where parents divorce or do not live together, fathers may feel shortchanged when it comes to relationships with their kids.

The frustration these men feel is often tied to one of two things: a lack of time with their children or having difficulty affording child support payments. In the case of child support, there may be very good reason for frustration as child support obligations are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and the courts have many methods of ensuring compliance at their disposal, including sending fathers in arrears to jail.

Exploring co-parenting options for child custody

As a parent, you genuinely want what is best for your child. Since there is no guide to raising children, you are probably like most people and are simply doing your very best and hoping for a good outcome. However, some decisions are harder than others, like making child custody decisions during divorce.

You might be thinking about co-parenting. Even if the idea sounds good in theory, if your kids are still quite young then the idea of sharing custody equally could be overwhelming. While it is understandable that you have some concerns, you may be interested in learning about the benefits of co-parenting.

Schedule A Meeting Today

When faced with divorce or a child custody dispute, you may feel paralyzed as you grieve the loss of a relationship. But you need to take action. Once we take over the legal issues, you will be able to move toward a new normal.

To schedule a free initial appointment with one of our skilled lawyers, please call 720-739-1770. Sending us an online message is another easy way to get started.

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