Co-parenting with an abusive ex requires setting boundaries

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2022 | Child Custody, Domestic Violence |

Family court judges in New Hampshire and throughout the country want to promote the ideal of children having both parents in their lives, but that can leave you co-parenting with an abusive ex. Domestic abuse often causes post-traumatic stress disorder among survivors. This lingering condition inflicts very real feelings of anxiety and fear. Although this co-parenting situation is far from ideal, you can limit your ex’s influence on your emotions and reduce negative interactions around your children.

Insist on boundaries

The terms of a co-parenting plan can protect you from future abuse by controlling contact between you and your abuser. Former domestic abusers are likely to continue to try to control your actions or emotions post-relationship. With this in mind, you should include rules in your child custody agreement that puts boundaries on all interactions with the other parent.

How to control communication:

  • Only allow contact through predetermined channels like a messaging platform.
  • Restrict communication to certain hours outside of emergencies.
  • Establish how you may contact your child when in the other parent’s care.

How to control in-person interactions:

  • Do not allow your ex to show up at your home or workplace.
  • Choose public places for child exchanges.

Keep track of violations

Your parenting plan is meant to ensure a smooth exchange of children and spare them from witnessing ugly arguments between parents. Abusive former spouses, however, are prone to testing these boundaries.

This may start with small actions that the abuser frames as inconsequential violations. The person might be late or early for child exchanges or send you messages meant to goad you into a confrontation. Even if misbehavior seems very minor, take notes about what is happening. If the violations continue, your notes will help you report violations to your family court.