Being a divorced parent is never easy, even in the best of situations. When you and your ex can’t get along, it can make things much worse. Sometimes, harassment is part of a co-parenting relationship. There is never a good reason for this so taking swift action is necessary when it does occur.
Handling a harassment situation when you have to parent with the harasser isn’t going to be easy. You need to think of what is best for your children and yourself when you are trying to come up with a plan.
Set the boundaries
You must set clear boundaries when you are working out the child custody agreement. This needs to include standards for respect and what is allowed. You should be sure to put in information regarding specific behavior, such as forbidding either parent from speaking maliciously of the other parent. It should also include requirements for communication, such as handling matters directly with each other instead of using the children or others as messengers.
If you are concerned that there might be harassment or there already has been, it might be necessary to set limits on communication. For example, you might stipulate that phone calls can only occur during specific hours unless there is an emergency with the child. In severe situations, a requirement to communicate in only monitored or recorded methods might be necessary.
Keep a record
Keep track of when and where the harassment occurs. This can be done by writing down the pertinent information in a journal to refer to later. You might also find it helpful to let your attorney know about the harassment. If any of it breaks the law, contact the local law enforcement agency to file a report. Additionally, let any counselors or other involved parties know about the harassment, especially if it is impacting your children. If there is a chance that the children will be harassed or that it might carry on to other adults involved with the children, alert the school and any other entities.
Everything you do when you are dealing with your child’s other parent might be fuel for his or her behavior. Make sure that you don’t provide this cannon fodder. Instead, remain calm and try to think rationally if you are being harassed. Taking retaliatory steps will only make the situation worse and your actions could be used against you if you end up in court.