Abusive relationships are painful and traumatic, and they can have a long-term impact on the victim. The courts may want to give children access to both parents, even if there is evidence of abuse between spouses. You may find it difficult to deal with the other parent, but you may not have a choice.
If you have children with someone who is abusing you, it may feel as if you cannot escape the relationship, even after a divorce. You may worry that pick-ups and drop-offs will put you in danger, and they may even trigger your PTSD.
You got away from your ex, and now they don’t have control over your life anymore. By following the tips in this article, you can keep it that way.
Keeping Yourself Safe
It is important to protect yourself while co-parenting with an abusive ex-spouse. Create clear boundaries and communication methods when it comes to visitation. An abusive ex may try to manipulate your words or actions to make them appear more responsible. They may also attempt to turn your child against you. Be sure to document everything.
It is important to remember that you do not have to tolerate manipulation or abuse from them any longer. Set boundaries, and make them clear from the beginning. Set the hours your ex-spouse can communicate with you and how they can contact you. Set a location for visitation pickup and drop-off that is public or where you will have witnesses to protect you.
Report Any Violations of Your Agreement
It is not unusual for an abusive spouse to violate custody agreements. If they are not abiding by the terms of your agreement, or if they continue to violate the boundaries you have put in place, you must report those violations to the courts.
The first place you should report the violations is to your attorney. You can also report them directly to the courts, mediators, or social workers who have been involved in your case. Be sure to document the violations so that you have proof should you end up in court.
Be an Advocate for Yourself
If your ex-spouse has been abusive to you, it is important that you bring that up during divorce or custody proceedings. Even if they have never been abusive to the children, there is no guarantee that they won’t turn their anger on them once you are no longer there. Often, abuse victims are afraid to voice concerns for fear of further abuse when they leave the court.
The courts need to know if there have been incidents of abuse in the household. If the courts are aware of domestic violence in any way, they may limit visitation rights or require supervised visits in order to keep you and your child safe. You may also seek a restraining order which would prevent your abuser from coming in contact with you.
This Won’t Be Forever
Sharing custody can be difficult, even if your ex-spouse is not abusive. When your ex is violent, co-parenting can be even more difficult. However, it is possible to keep you and your children safe should the courts order shared custody with a spouse who has been abusive in the past.
Be sure to get as much support from others as you can, and keep in mind that you are not alone. Family and friends can help act as buffers between you and your ex-spouse during visitation exchanges. Should your ex threaten you when it is time for them to have the children, you may also want to have a police officer accompany you.
If you are dealing with a spouse who has been abusive, please visit this link to learn more about the grounds for taking away the custody of an abusive parent. Childhood only lasts 18 years, but it can feel like an eternity when you’re sharing custody with an abuser. Someday your kids will be grown and this will be over. You will get through this.