If you take a look at your
child custody order, there should be somewhere in there a note that says you cannot badmouth
or disparage your ex-spouse in front of your children. Of course, this
rule is not something that applies to just you, but to both you and your
ex-spouse. Courts put these rules into child custody orders because constant
badmouthing will damage how a child sees their parent, even if they first
believe all the disparaging remarks are untrue. Basically, the court wants
to do whatever it can to preserve a child’s healthy relationship
with their parents after a divorce and prohibiting “smack talk”
is one way to do that.
However, not all spouses take this part of a child custody order seriously.
It is all too common for a divorced parent to complain about the behaviors
of their ex in front of their children, especially if their kids are teenagers.
People want to vent to others around them when they are frustrated, so
it is not completely unusual that a parent would talk poorly about an
ex-spouse to their kids. But this is still not an excuse or permission to do it.
Stop Badmouthing Your Ex for Your Kid’s Sake
Not only does badmouthing an ex-spouse increase the chances of parental
alienation, but it also hurts the child’s own self-esteem. Children
often see themselves as a mix of each parent. If one parent says X and
Y are awful behaviors of their ex-spouse and the child sees themselves
doing X and Y, then they will start to feel awful about themselves.
If you find yourself tempted to disparage your ex-spouse in front of your
children, then it is time to pause and take a step back. By mentally reining
yourself in, you can avoid hurting your child’s self-esteem and
their relationship with your ex-spouse, who might have done nothing wrong
to them in particular. What is also important is that removing toxic thought
patterns from your mind helps
you, too. The less you spit venom about your ex-spouse, the less you will
be bothered about what led to your divorce and the more you can start
building a better future for yourself and your child.
What Does the Court Do to Stop Badmouthing?
Is your ex-spouse badmouthing you all the time around your kid and they
won’t try to control themselves? The court might have to get involved
to stop them. Oftentimes, the court will order the belligerent parent
to undergo some form of therapy or psychological evaluation. If your child
is old enough, then they might even be brought before the court to tell
the judge just how extensive that disparagement has been. In a final option,
it might even be possible that the child custody order is
modified to give less parenting time to the belligerent parent, assuming there
is a real reason to believe their badmouthing is hurting the child’s
wellbeing, mentally and emotionally.
Convincing a court to help you overcome, stop, and undo your ex-spouse’s
badmouthing is difficult, but a family law attorney can help. At Richard
Ross Associates in Westlake Village, we routinely help parents through
divorces and other
family law issues, including those rife with disparagement carried out by their ex. You
can count on us, too, when you need legal guidance and moral support.
Call 805.410.3407 to
speak with our attorneys about how we can stop disparagement and badmouthing.