Couples choose to end their relationships for a variety of reasons. One common reason that American romantic relationships end is that high-conflict individuals tend to either break off relationships or inspire their partners to do so. After all, it can be truly difficult to enjoy life when your partner is consistently itching for a fight. Fortunately, an individual who does not crave conflict can choose to leave a partner who does. Unfortunately, splitting up does not always mean that you can leave your high-conflict partner behind.
In partnerships involving children, breaking up does not always ensure that the conflicts will end. When your complex custody situation involves a high-conflict co-parent, the stresses of your former partnership can begin to define your life as a single individual as well. Fortunately, you do have options to consider if you find yourself in this kind of situation.
It is important to understand that your child’s other parent does not necessarily have to remain in your life. Courts are bound to honor the “best interest of the child” standard. Therefore, if your high-conflict former partner is abusive or otherwise behaves in a way that harms your child, you may be able to seek sole custody.
However, if your co-parent will remain in your child’s life, you do not have to let him or her have substantial control over yours. It is important that you and your attorney construct or modify your parenting agreement to reflect the ways in which your co-parent will be bound to address conflict resolution. Without this step, you may feel powerless when your co-parent harasses or bullies you. With legal provisions in place, you will be better prepared to have the courts enforce your conflict resolution strategy when your co-parent strays from provisions in your parenting plan.
Source: Huffington Post, “Narcissist Ex: How To Co-Parent With A High-Conflict Ex, According To Experts,” Apr. 19, 2013