Shielding children from physical and emotional harm is the primary concern of most parents who are going through a difficult separation or divorce. Finding ways to co-parent effectively and keeping your children from becoming too involved in the situation are two of the most difficult parts of divorcing with kids. Unfortunately, not all parents place the emotions and needs of their children first. A parent who is frustrated with a prolonged custody case or dissatisfied with a divorce settlement may find ways to use your children against you. Being aware of the various ways an ex-partner can use your children to influence or manipulate a situation can help you protect yourself and your kids.
Listening to Your Conversations
Having a strong support network during a divorce or difficult breakup is one of the best ways to preserve mental health while coping with the situation in private. It is not unusual for a man or woman to spend hours on the telephone talking to close friends and family members about legal proceedings. Children are often more observant than we give them credit for and may hear more of your conversations than you realize. An ex-partner who is eager for information may start asking your child to repeat what they heard you saying on the telephone or during outings with friends.
Monitoring Social Media
At least 60% of all teenagers have a social media account and over half of all children have used some form of social media by the age of 10. These children often share too much information and are unaware of the importance of privacy features. If your ex-partner knows that your child uses social media, he or she can ask that child to monitor your social media account. Even if you block your ex, his or her family, and friends, your children may begin providing information in the form of screenshots or by simply discussing what they see. The very fact that your child is using social media could be used against you if he or she is exposed to inappropriate content or behavior while using social media under your care.
Sabotaging Your Parenting Time
Parenting is difficult under the most ideal circumstances and shuttling children back and forth between households makes parenting even more complicated. A parent who is determined to disrupt your time with your children or ruin your chances of receiving primary custody may start trying to sabotage you. Doing things like forgetting to send homework, medication, and other important items with your children when they return home or come for a visit can make you appear to be the less competent parent.
Placing children in the middle of a dispute between yourself and another parent negatively affects their relationship with both parents. If you believe that your ex is purposefully trying to disrupt or ruin your relationship with your children, it is important that you take steps to protect yourself. A skilled child custody and visitation attorney can help you document the behavior so that you can work towards a resolution that benefits yourself and your children. The team at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to help you during this difficult time. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our conveniently located Atlanta, Georgia offices.