It’s understandable that you would want to see your ex-spouse as little as possible after divorce. However, you may have to maintain an amicable relationship with your ex if you have children in common—if for no other reason than meeting court-ordered custody requirements. That said, there are a few ways to limit your interactions with an ex while fulfilling your duties under the parenting plan.
Ways to Limit Contact With Your Ex-Spouse
There may be several reasons why you want to keep your distance from an ex. Depending on the factors involved in the relationship, a family law attorney can help you:
Protect Your Privacy
If you’re still in the planning stages of divorce, you may want to consider the advantages of mediation. It is law in Washington state that mediation sessions are confidential. Mediation sessions allow personal matters and financial information that could become public information during a court case to be kept private.
It is much easier to openly discuss a divorce settlement and child custody if everyone feels free to discuss their fears, concerns, wishes, and histories. With confidential mediation, you may speak candidly with the mediator without fearing that the information you share will be shared with your spouse. You may also share private events, emotions, or other information that would be considered unimportant in court but is very important to you and your ex.
Victims of domestic violence should also know that most addresses are easily searchable through government and public records. If you’re concerned for your safety, you may be able to keep your address confidential using the Washington State’s Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). The ACP gives participants an alternate address that can be used to vote, register for schools, and other official uses without revealing their physical residence or mailing address.
Avoid Face-to-Face Meetings
The biggest potential for conflict occurs when meeting your ex in person, so you should avoid face-to-face interactions as much as possible. All communication between you should be through e-mail, text, a messaging app, or voicemail, so you have a written log of all your interactions. If you receive abusive texts, calls, or threats, make a copy of them and report them to the police.
If phone conversations and in-person meetings are necessary, you should:
- Keep them as brief as you can
- Set boundaries and let your ex know the conversation will be over if they are violated
- Speak to one another in respectful ways
- Talk only about arrangements for your child
- Never involve children in discussions between the two of you
- Redirect if the conversation steers in a different direction
- Be as businesslike and impersonal as possible
Consider Supervised Exchanges
If you have shared custody or your ex has been given visitation rights, you may be able to exchange custody without having contact with your ex. A supervised or monitored exchange involves using a third party to help with child visitation transitions from one parent’s home to another.
Third parties in supervised exchanges can be a mutually agreed-upon monitor (such as a relative, a friend of the family, or a child care provider) or a trained professional (such as a social worker). Children may suffer less stress during a supervised exchange if parents have a contentious relationship.
The goal of a supervised exchange is to smoothly transition children to a different household without conflict. When both parents are present at the exchange, a child may witness arguments, domestic violence, or other damaging behavior. A monitor at the exchange can help keep the environment neutral, child-centered, and under control.
Let Us Help You Through Your Next Steps
The end of a marriage is hard enough without worrying about how you will navigate the future. At the Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny, our legal team will do everything possible to ensure that your children’s needs are met and that you have the necessary resources to move forward with confidence. Call us today at (425) 460-0550, or use our online contact form to have us reach out to you.