Following a divorce, a Maryland parent may call his or her ex toxic for a variety of reasons. In some cases, the ex may still be angry about the divorce, may be attempting to alienate the children or has an addiction that makes co-parenting difficult. Even so, many studies have shown that, in most cases, the children benefit when both parents are involved in their lives.
When dealing with a toxic co-parent, it is important to remember that the children are most important. As such, parents should keep the focus on what the children need and not what the parents necessarily want. Keeping the focus on the children means that parents should only communicate with the toxic co-parent when they need to discuss issues surrounding the children. Parents should avoid talking about their personal lives and avoid discussions that could trigger a negative reaction in the ex.
Even though parents may not want to be around the toxic co-parent, the children still have a right to have that parent in their lives. This means that parents should avoid talking negatively about the ex to the children. Further, parents should encourage the children to have a positive relationship with the co-parent by spending time with them and inviting them to school functions.
Although having to deal with a toxic co-parent until the children reach the age of maturity can be difficult, there are certain things parents can do legally to help ensure that any decisions made are made in the best interests of the child or children involved. For example, a family law attorney could assist with creating a parenting plan that lays out certain requirements that both parents must follow. The parenting plan should also include a schedule that determines who the children will be with and when, potentially preventing some of the arguments that parents may have.