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Navigating Co-Parenting Challenges with Grace:

A Guide from the Law Office of Julianne Vandergrift, APLC


Julianne Vandergrift, Certified Co-Parenting Coach

Divorce is a difficult process. When children are involved, co-parenting with a difficult ex-spouse adds complexity and often time stress. At the Law Office of Julianne Vandergrift, APLC, we recognize the unique challenges in co-parenting relationships during and after a divorce. This blog post explores effective strategies and legal insights to help you navigate co-parenting with grace, placing the best interests of your children at the forefront.

  1. Focus on the Best Interests of the Children: Throughout the co-parenting journey, prioritizing the well-being of your children is paramount. Ensure that decisions regarding custody, visitation, and other matters are made with their best interests in mind. This requires self-discipline and maturity, especially when dealing with an ex-spouse who likes to push your buttons.  Our court system places a strong emphasis on the well-being of children and sometimes expects herculean efforts on the part of parents to protect their children. Demonstrating your commitment to their well-being is crucial.

  2. Keeping Children in the Center, Not in the Middle:  Protect your children but making sure that they never hear negative comments about the other parent from you, your family members or your friends. Do not sigh loudly when their parent does a very predictable and annoying last minute change to the plans. Respond appropriately and then write in your journal later about how frustrating this process is. There are many instances in which you may experience strong emotion responses such as anger, stress and frustration during this process. That is normal and expected; however, practice taking a breath before you call your BFF to explain the details in front of your four-year-old, who appears to be watching a video. They are listening and it puts them in the middle of the conflict. Center your children and the goal you have for them to benefit from the love of both parents. 

  3. Practice Self-Care: Dealing with a difficult co-parent is emotionally draining, period. Anyone who thinks it is easy, is dealing with an amicable co-parent and hasn’t walked in your shoes. It's crucial to prioritize self-care to maintain your physical and mental well-being. Whether through therapy, support groups, or other wellness practices, taking care of yourself ultimately benefits your ability to co-parent effectively and is the most effective way to ensure that your children are protected from the conflict.  It can feel counter intuitive at first, but I promise that this needs to be at the top of your list. 

  4. Create a Detailed Parenting Plan: A well-thought-out parenting plan is essential for minimizing conflicts and establishing clear expectations. Work with your attorney or a mediator to create a comprehensive plan that addresses custody arrangements, visitation schedules, holidays, and decision-making responsibilities. Having a detailed parenting plan can reduce ambiguity and prevent potential disagreements.

  5. Prioritize Communication: Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful co-parenting. Establish clear lines of communication with your ex-spouse, focusing on the well-being of your children. Utilize communication tools such as co-parenting apps, emails, or text messages to maintain a written record of important discussions. The Law Office of Julianne Vandergrift, APLC,  can provide guidance on establishing communication protocols that align with legal requirements.

  6. Seek Help from a Certified Mediator: When communication becomes challenging, consider engaging in mediation.  Mediation provides a neutral environment for both parties to express concerns and work towards mutually beneficial solutions. The Law Office of Julianne Vandergrift, APLC, can guide you through the mediation process and help facilitate productive conversations. 

  7. Understand Your Legal Rights: Being informed about your legal rights and responsibilities is empowering. Consult with the Law Office of Julianne Vandergrift, APLC, to gain a comprehensive understanding of your rights as a co-parent. Knowing the legal framework can help you make informed decisions and navigate any disputes that may arise.


Co-parenting with a difficult ex-spouse is undoubtedly challenging, but with the right strategies and legal guidance, it's possible to navigate these complexities with grace. At the Law Office of Julianne Vandergrift, APLC, we are dedicated to helping you achieve a positive co-parenting dynamic that prioritizes your well-being and the well-being of your children. Contact us today for personalized legal advice and support tailored to your unique situation. 

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