If you are in the process of separating (or thinking about doing so), you may be terrified about losing your children. You may worry that your ex will be so fixated on ‘revenge’ and making you suffer, that they will try to weaponise your children against you.
Typically, by the time that people ask for my help, they tell me that:
- Their children’s opinion of them has become very negative
- Their children are acting out against them and rejecting them
- Their ex keeps taking their children away from them
- Their ex has made all sorts of allegations about them as a parent
It isn’t uncommon for children to struggle with their parents’ separation. However, sometimes your ex may throw your children into the middle of a conflict by manipulating their view of you and burdening them by having to ‘choose a side’. Being bombarded with such responsibility and pressure can cause them significant distress.
It is not fair for your ex to try to damage your children’s relationship with you, however, it can and does happen. It tends to get worse the longer that nothing is done about it. Sadly, I have seen an increase in this behaviour during the pandemic lockdown, particularly where children have been withheld from seeing one of their parents.
Often, if you approach your ex on your own and challenge them about the way that they are treating your children, they will deny it. This often backfires and allows your ex to spin your concerns against you, as if you are in the wrong. This can leave you feeling like you are trapped and that there is nothing you can do.
Does this sound familiar?
When you separate, your children need you both more than ever and that should be a priority. However, your ex may see your children as a way to get what they want, regardless of what damage they may cause getting there.
It isn’t impossible to deal with your ex’s behaviour however it is time critical because the more you delay, the more damage may be done. To disarm your ex, for your children’s sake as well as your own, it is vital that you reach out. You should also:
- tell your ex in writing about your concerns and set out why
- keep a log of what has been happening
- consider asking for professional support for you and/or the children
This is particularly important now that we are in another lockdown. Even though we cannot meet in person for now, you can still reach out to us and get our help. The court is also still open, so you are not alone.
Laura Mounsey is a family lawyer with experience of working on cases involving properties, trusts, businesses and pensions. Laura is a dedicated and talented lawyer who has been recognised with a “Safe Pair of Hands” Award.
Everyone’s circumstances are different and this article is provided by way of general information only and must not be relied upon. If you require legal advice on a family law issue, please feel free to contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.