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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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I am David R. Hartwig, Esq., a Salt Lake City attorney with extensive experience helping parents resolve simple or high-conflict custody issues reaching arrangements that work for children and parents. Child custody involves parent-time and visitation schedules, and can affect support. I help in all of these areas, providing comprehensive service clients need to achieve their custody goals.

Factors In Child Custody Decisions

As an experienced Utah child custody lawyer, I understand that custody cases may become a contentious issue even years after an order is finalized. The trend in Utah toward joint custody often creates messy, unworkable situations, which ultimately lead to enforcement issues when parents do not abide by their custody orders.

The best interests of the child must be considered, including:

• Whether joint legal or physical custody will benefit the child's physical, psychological and emotional needs, or the child's development

• The parents' ability to give first priority to the child's welfare, and reach shared decisions in the child's best interest

• Whether each parent is capable of encouraging and accepting a positive relationship between the child and the other parent

• Whether both parents participated in raising the child before the divorce

• The distance between the parents' homes

• The parents' maturity and their willingness and ability to protect the child from conflict that may arise between the parents

• The parents' ability to cooperate with each other and make decisions jointly

• Any history of, or potential for, child abuse, spouse abuse, or kidnapping

• Any other factors the court finds relevant

Despite the complicated and sensitive nature of custody matters, I have helped many clients successfully establish custody orders.

Get Help With Your Child Custody Issue

If you have a child custody issue, please contact me, David R. Hartwig, Esq. I am an experienced Salt Lake City custody lawyer dedicated to helping clients resolve complex custody issues and implement necessary custody orders. For high-conflict cases, I am also one of the few Utah child custody modification attorneys trained as a Special Master for ongoing dispute resolution.


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