David R. Hartwig, ESQ.
Attorney & Counselor At Law
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Divorce - How do you coparent with an uncooperative coparent?

Joint legal custody, with some form of joint parenting, is approaching the norm. There are two sides to the issue, which are addressed elsewhere. But, I continue to see recent posts and articles about the issue of how do I co-parent with an uncooperative (or narcissistic) parent.


I'm not a psychologist, psychiatrist, or mental-health expert, so I'm not in a position to discuss those areas. I'm an attorney, and my experience shows me that the only way you can "successfully" co-parent with such a person is to always give in. That person always wins and gets what he or she wants.


Your option is to attempt to take him back to court, which is expensive, time consuming, and possibly the commissioner of judge may get tired of hearing from you. Plus, sometimes your orders require mediation before you can go back to court. And being open and requiring agreement for a resolution, mediation means the uncooperative parent will probably push for new and better terms for himself or herself, and definitely will not agree to anything you want. Talk about spinning wheels and wasting money.


Or, you can investigate having a special master or parenting coordinator appointed to you case.


A parenting coordinator is a psychologist, psychiatrist, or mental-health expert, who attempts to work with the two of you to learn how to communicate and parent. So, if you want to see if that uncooperative co-parent will learn to be nice with you and change his or her personality when it comes parenting, then that may be a good option for you.


A special master is an attorney, usually with experience in family law, divorce, custody and visitation issues. That person can be agreed upon by the parties, or appointed by the court and is engaged to simply resolve whatever disputes arise, and it is usually done without attorneys and within a few days.


Or, if things are really bad, and the children are suffering, you may have to file a petition to modify your orders so as to move away from co-parenting if possible.

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