Domestic violence and abuse happens in too many relationships in our modern times, but add children to the mix and you have a worrisome combination. Domestic violence takes place when abusive behavior occurs in a relationship while one partner is trying to gain control over another partner. There are many types of abuse, such as physical (hitting, biting, slapping, and more), sexual (the abuser coerces or attempts to coerce a victim into having sex), emotional (invalidation or deflation of confidence and self-esteem), ecomonic (when an abuser makes or tries to make the victim financially reliant), or psychological (abuser invokes fear through intimidation). No mother or father wants to see their child be abused by the partner they have divorced, which is where we come in to help you with your case.
Some men and women will stay in relationships with an abuser for many different reasons. Perhaps they know that there is some underlying reason why the person acts this way and feels guilty for wanting to leave. Perhaps they think things will get better. Or maybe, just maybe, they have been intimidated by this person so much that they see no point in leaving. They believe that nobody out there will want them anymore because their self-worth has depreciated. However, in time many people will leave abusive relationships whether they are scared or not. The problem is, many parents fail to look past the fact that perhaps this abusive ex-partner could do the same thing to the children, which is when it becomes the biggest issue.
Co-Parenting With an Abusive Ex
When you have no choice but to co-parent but your ex has been deemed abusive, what should you do? Co-parenting may give an abusive parent the wrong type of upper hand, especially when it makes it so that they have a clear path into further abuse and power over your children. When you get a divorce, you may finally feel free but that feeling may end when you realize that an abuser will always find a way to control you as your life unfolds beyond divorce.
When you have been faced with this reality, you may consider doing something known as “Parallel Parenting.” This means that you and your ex will parent independently and communicate as little as possible. This method of parenting includes the following options:
- Having a court-ordered parenting plan spelled out in a document that shares important information about holidays, medical and religious beliefs, and more
- Spending as little time as possible with the other parent
- Only in the case of an emergency does the parent with the child have to contact the other parent
- The other parent’s skills cannot be judged
- No personal information is shared with the other parent
- The child should not be used to give communication to the other parent
The one downside to parallel parenting is this: How will you know if your child is a victim of abuse as well if you set all these boundaries? This is why you must encourage your child to speak to you about what they are going through and be open with you when necessary. Of course, you may not be able to lessen the emotional abuse completely, but you can do your best to be there for your child through these difficult times.
Do you have a case involving an ex-spouse who abused you? Are there children involved and now you wish to understand how you can protect them? Find out more about what options you have by calling The Law Offices of Amy M. Montes.