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Tips for co-parenting with an uninvolved ex

If your estranged spouse wasn't a very involved parent when you were together, don't expect him or her to change now that you're divorced. While a ex-spouse's lack of interest in parenting may relieve you of the strain of fighting over visitation and custody issues, it can have its own challenges.

One famous example of such a parent is Donald Trump, who has publicly touted his hands-off approach to parenting. In 2005, he told Howard Stern, "I like kids. I mean, I won't do anything to take care of them….I'll supply funds…."

His older children and a former wife seem to back up that claim. His daughter Ivanka said that "he wasn't always physically present, but he was always available." His son Donald Jr. said that he "got a lot of the paternal attention that a boy wants and needs from my grandfather."

His second wife, Marla Maples, who has a daughter with Trump, said he was "a good provider with education and such, but as far as time, it was just me." Maples said that he "wasn't able to be there with day-to-day skills as a parent. He loves his kids….But everything was a bit of a negotiation."

Following are some tips for negotiating with a co-parent who is largely uninvolved in his or her children's lives:

-- Keep your communications about the kids businesslike. Deal with the topic at hand, without insults or recriminations. If your ex can't do that, set boundaries about the tone of communication.

-- Don't show your resentment if your co-parent buys the kids things you can't afford -- especially in front of your kids. Many absentee parents make up for their lack of day-to-day involvement with expensive gifts and vacations. There's no need to feel threatened. Kids ultimately know which parent is giving them the care and stability they need. Of course, if your ex specifically acts against your expressed wishes, that's something you may need to discuss.

If you believe your child is missing out on paternal or maternal influences because of an absentee parent, bring in grandparents, aunts or uncles to help fill the void.

If your spouse's absence is causing issues for you and your kids, or if he or she is continually committing to visits or responsibilities and not following through, it may be time to seek guidance form your family law attorney.

Source: Huffington Post, "How To Raise Kids With An Ex Who Acts And Thinks Like Donald Trump," Brittany Wong, accessed Oct. 21, 2016

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