Any time two people share custody of a child, there is the potential for conflict and arguments. However, the relationship can be especially rocky if you are sharing custody with a combative ex.
If the mother of your child is antagonistic or if she feels contempt for you, you could find yourself facing fights and threats to your rights as a parent. Under these circumstances, knowing what you can do to protect yourself and your rights from an angry ex can be crucial.
Minimize your interactions
Despite raising a child together, parents who share custody do not need to interact with each other often if doing so is not productive or healthy. You can divide responsibilities and schedule custody exchanges to align with picking up or dropping off the child at school. You might also restrict communications to email or another messaging service.
By minimizing your physical and verbal interactions, you can avoid getting caught up in arguments or being in a position where you could be accused of assault.
Prepare not to engage
Your ex may know all the buttons to push to get you to respond in specific ways. She might bring up old incidences, make false allegations against you or reveal sensitive information about you to hurt you. If you lash out or get angry, though, you could appear to be volatile and dangerous, especially in the course of a child custody case.
To avoid these interactions, prepare yourself before seeing your ex. Expect there to be tension and practice ways of calming down, including breathing exercises or exiting the environment.
Enforce your rights as a father
If your ex is interfering with custody, endangering your child or refusing to co-parent with you, do not be afraid to ask for legal guidance. Too often, fathers assume they have to deal with the mother on her terms, or they walk away from parenting because of the stress and pain that comes with a difficult arrangement.
However, you have rights and options as a parent, from the right to have approved time with your child to the option to seek custody modification.
While an ex can make things difficult, remember that protecting your rights as a father is not just for your benefit, but also for your child’s well-being.