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Your Ex-Spouse Bad-Mouthing You: How Much Is Too Much?

July 27, 2020

In the early stages of divorce and co-parenting, it is normal to feel that your ex-spouse is your worst enemy. Everything your ex does seems like they are doing it to hurt your or make you angry. If your ex bails on a visit with the children, it feels like he is intentionally increasing your childcare burden and lessening your free time. If your ex takes the children for a fun weekend at a theme park, it feels like she wants to show the world that she and the children are a happy and complete family without you. It’s hard to resist the temptation not to say negative things about your ex-spouse in front of your children, especially if your ex is telling your children lies about you. Depending on what your ex is saying about you and who they are saying it to, sometimes all you need is patience and to counter the lies with truth. If your ex is intentionally sabotaging your relationship with the children or with anyone else, the helpful and compassionate lawyers at Iwanyshyn & Associates in Allegheny County will help you solve the problem.

Coping with Residual Hurt Feelings from the Divorce

Parenting plans in Pennsylvania set up a framework where both parents get to spend time with the children; both parents have a say in decisions about the children’s upbringing, but neither parent gets to micromanage what the other parent does during his or her time with the children. When your children come to you after spending time with your ex, they sometimes say things that make your blood boil. No matter how well or how badly your ex does at this, it is your responsibility not to make the situation harder for the children than it is. Here are some tips:

  • Don’t interrogate your children about what goes on at your ex’s house? If you have concerns, talk about them with your ex. If you cannot have a civil conversation with your ex, then communicate by email.

  • If your children repeat something that your ex told them, and you know that it isn’t true, calmly correct them. Reassure them that none of the conflicts between you and your ex are the children’s fault.

  • Do talk to other people in your life about your feelings and frustrations about your divorce and co-parenting, such as your parents, siblings, friends, or a therapist.

When to Involve the Court

If your ex’s actions cross the line into harassment, libel, or child abuse, it is time to contact a lawyer. If your ex bad mouths you to your employer or otherwise meddles in your business to intimidate you, you should get a protective order. Family court decisions sometimes refer to “malicious parent syndrome,” although the DSM does not recognize it as a mental illness. It is where parents intentionally make children live in poverty in order to make them think the other parent is withholding support from them. If your ex is doing that, it is definitely time to get the court involved.

Iwanyshyn & Associates Helps You Resolve Parenting Dilemmas

You have a responsibility to encourage a healthy relationship between your children and your ex-spouse, but you don’t have to tolerate harassment or lies. Contact Iwanyshyn & Associates in Pittsburgh for help resolving co-parenting issues.