Divorce is common in Wisconsin and elsewhere. When parents divorce, both the mother and father typically have legal custody of their children. Legal custody means that parents can make important decisions on behalf of their kids regarding such things as medical care, education, religion, and more. Parents often have to co-parent following a divorce. They must work together to provide care to ensure the well-being of their children.
What is Co-Parenting?
Co-parenting means that both parents are committed to providing everything their child needs after they divorce. Co-parents participate in raising their children to give them a more balanced life. Co-parents need to put their own problems aside and communicate with each other to make sure they are in sync. A co-parenting arrangement can offer a family a stable path forward, but it can be somewhat difficult for former spouses. Sometimes parents have trouble agreeing on matters that concern their children, and the disputes can lead to problems. One of the problems that can arise is co-parenting harassment.
What is Co-Parenting Harassment?
Co-parenting harassment happens when a parent harasses the other parent with whom they have a shared parenting arrangement. Harassment is unwanted behavior that makes a reasonable person feel upset, anxious, or uncomfortable. It can cause emotional stress and may make someone alarmed. Harassment may take several forms, such as verbal, physical, or financial. It can also extend to social media, which is also called cyber harassment.
Co-parenting harassment can include such things as excessive and repeated text messages or calls, name-calling, and threatening or condescending behavior. It may occur when parents cannot agree about the care of the child or about decisions they must make on behalf of the child. Sometimes, harassment can result in physical abuse. Unfortunately, co-parenting harassment often has a negative impact on children.
What to Do About Co-Parenting Harassment
Co-parenting harassment can be difficult to deal with because you and your spouse still need to work together. Harassment can be an attempt to control the other parent and put pressure on them. Set boundaries with your former spouse to reset the relationship and get it back on track. One way to deal with co-parenting harassment is to seek guidance from an objective third party. A therapist, counselor, or attorney may be able to step in to assist you in communicating more effectively with your former spouse. Speaking to a professional can help you get a better perspective on the situation. A mediator may also be helpful. Try to remove yourself from the situation rather than react in a similar manner.
A former spouse may know how to push your buttons and therefore is trying to get you to react to the harassment. Sometimes harassment rises to the level of a criminal act, and it may become necessary to take action. It is helpful to talk to an experienced family law attorney to help you determine your options and what they could mean to your co-parenting relationship. Remember that, above all else, the ultimate goal is to provide your kids with a healthy and safe environment. If you are suffering from co-parenting problems, call us today at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. at (608) 784-8310 or online for a consultation.