Divorced parents in California might have the best interests of their children in mind when they initially decide to live near one another to make the transition easier for their child. However, according to one study, around 33 percent of men and half of all women are still angry at their former spouses 10 years after the end of the marriage. Some of this anger may carry into parents’ interactions with one another and make compromise difficult.
This can create problems if one parent decides to move to be with a new partner. The new partner and the former spouse may dislike one another, and the added commuting time might not be insignificant. However, if the custodial parent reacts by refusing to drive the child back and forth, the child suffers as well as the other parent.
Mediation can be a route to compromise. A mediator’s aim is to listen to both sides and find common ground. Parents can discuss issues such as how transportation will be handled and whether there needs to be a change in child support payments to reflect different responsibilities or the proportion of time the child spends with each parent.
Parents may want to keep in mind that a high-conflict divorce can make a child’s adjustment more difficult. If they can cooperate during the divorce, this may set a path for smoother co-parenting in the future. However, in some cases, one parent may simply refuse to cooperate. If enforcement of a child custody agreement is necessary, parents may need to return to court. Furthermore, if a parent has a serious concern about the other parent involving issues such as abuse or addiction, they may want to discuss this with their attorney and have the parent’s interaction with the child limited to supervised visitation only.