4 Lines To Never Let Your Spouse Cross in Divorce

divorcing a high-conflict exVirtually all divorces have some degree of conflict, but some generate so much chaos that life becomes unmanageable. High-conflict personalities behave in extreme ways and some believe that rules simply don’t apply to them. Read on to learn the four lines never to let your spouse cross in divorce — and how to respond to unacceptable behavior.

Verbal Abuse

Electronic communication gives an angry ex unfettered access to you: blowing up your phone with nasty texts and voicemails, and barraging your inbox with condescending emails. Being harassed 24/7 can leave you feeling drained, scared, and perpetually waiting for the next onslaught.

Solution: Read and respond to emails no more than once a day. Draw the line on relentless texting by temporarily blocking their number and corresponding only via email. Never try to defend yourself or reason with your ex; no matter what craziness they hurl your way, stick to the facts and be as brief as possible.

Emotional and Physical Abuse

Hostile communication crosses the line into abuse when your ex threatens you, bullies you into agreeing to demands,  humiliates or harasses you on social media, stalks you, or actually commits physical harm.

Solution: Keep records of what is said, as well as inappropriate behaviors. You will need evidence to prove that their conduct rises to the level of harassment and may be grounds for a restraining order.

Weaponizing the children

High-conflict personalities often use kids as pawns by bad-mouthing you, getting them to spy on you, and convincing them that they don’t need to follow your rules. Vulnerable children may believe the propaganda that you are the bad parent and become defiant or refuse visitation.

Solution: Don’t let your ex see that you’re upset (this is their desired effect!), or try to convince them to change their ways (they’ll just dig in their heels and get more aggressive). Instead, develop a strategy to counter the alienating behavior. Calmly present your side of the story (without dissing your ex) and teach your kids critical thinking skills so they can learn to think for themselves.

Violating court orders

If your ex acts as if they’re above the law, they may play games with the court order. Examples include sending only partial alimony or child support, or sending it late (or not at all); refusing to adhere to your parenting time plan; disregarding mandates around communication; and in the case of shared legal custody, making unilateral decisions for the children’s education and medical care.

Solution: Don’t allow your ex to have their way in order to avoid conflict. The divorce agreement is a legally binding contract, so take steps to enforce it. Document the violations and contact your attorney. 

While you may resent continually setting limits with an unruly ex, establishing consequences for crossed lines will keep you from turning into a doormat and bring order back into your life. 

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