What to Do When Your Ex-Wife is a Narcissist
“Cooperative co-parenting” may be all the rage, but it doesn’t work for everyone. Ask any parent in 2020 (or don’t – plenty of people are prepared to offer unsolicited advice) and they’ll claim co-parenting is the best way to have a healthy relationship between the child and both parents. However, the experts have known for years that the best arrangement for the child is any arrangement where they don’t have to overhear or partake in unhealthy behaviors between their parents, and that isn’t always an option with a cooperative co-parenting plan.
Some divorcing fathers in New Jersey simply aren’t given the option to create a healthy co-parenting relationship because their ex is not capable of demonstrating healthy behaviors. This is often the case with narcissistic exes who care more about their own social appearance than their child’s best interests.
If your child’s mother is a narcissist, she may push for co-parenting to keep up the appearance of being a great parent and person. Then, when it’s just you and her discussing your child, your ex’s true colors will come out. She will be manipulative, self-centered, entitled, and downright rude – all the things that caused you to divorce her in the first place. Don’t subject yourself to this behavior for the sake of your child. There is a much better option: parallel parenting.
Parallel Parenting As An Alternative to Co-Parenting
When your relationship ends on bad terms, those feelings don’t just go away once the divorce is finalized. They may lead to unpleasant encounters with your ex during custody exchanges, at your kid’s extracurricular events, or during blended family gatherings. With many co-parenting plans, you would expect both parents to show up to every important event. However, if there are negative feelings involved, this arrangement may not be healthy for you, your ex, or your child.
Instead, you can choose to eschew the typical co-parenting expectations in favor of a parallel parenting plan.
A parallel parenting plan attempts to minimize contact between parents while allowing both to spend adequate time with their children. It allows parents to split important events, such as sports games and school plays. With a parallel parenting plan, parents communicate only when necessary. Since your kids won’t see constant conflict between their parents, a parallel parenting plan can help them feel more safe and secure.
A father has rights in a New Jersey divorce, including the right to spend time with his children. You don’t have to be in communication with your ex to receive this time with your kids. In fact, I’d advise minimizing your interactions with your ex wife if she is a narcissist. Nothing good can come of giving her a platform to manipulate and demean you.
Creating a Parallel Parenting Plan
If you’re considering a parallel parenting plan, you probably already anticipate your ex giving you a hard time. It’s in a narcissist’s nature to make negotiations stressful, contentious, and biased in their favor. You definitely need to work with a divorce lawyer for men in New Jersey when creating your parallel parenting plan.
Your New Jersey men’s divorce lawyer can help you create a parenting plan that will work for you, meaning you won’t have to deal with your narcissistic ex’s abuse. You’ll have to get together with your ex and her attorney to determine several important factors for your parallel parenting plan, including:
- How you’ll split time with the kids
- The start and end time for each visit
- The location for pick-ups and drop-offs (some police stations have designated video monitored sites)
- How you’ll handle cancellations and what will happen if one parent gets sick
- How you’ll handle future disputes, which is best handled through a mediator
By taking the time to create a joint custody parallel parenting plan with your spouse and your divorce attorney for men in New Jersey, you can avoid letting the court decide how custody of your child will be handled. If you and your ex can’t agree, the court has the responsibility of dictating every aspect of your custody case. A judge can even order you and your spouse to communicate through an app that stores your conversations.
Most parents would prefer to create their own parenting plan, but if all else fails and your ex won’t cooperate, you can request that the judge orders a parallel parenting plan of sorts with the help of your NJ father divorce lawyer.
NJ Men’s Divorce Lawyer for Parallel Parenting Plans
In my career as a divorce lawyer for men and fathers in New Jersey, I’ve seen many fathers struggle to stick to their co-parenting agreement because of their ex’s narcissistic behavior. Sometimes a parallel parenting plan really is the best option.
If you are a father in New Jersey who is considering a divorce and you’re concerned about creating a parenting plan with your narcissistic spouse, the team of family law attorneys at the Micklin Law Group can help.
We are currently working remotely to best serve our clients while keeping everyone safe and healthy. If you want to talk about your situation and how to create a parallel parenting plan that will work for you and your child, meet me in our Virtual Law Office or we can discuss your divorce by phone at either 973.562.0100 in Nutley or at 862.245.4620 in Montclair.