Is Your Ex Badmouthing You in Front of the Children? 5 Tips from a Grand Rapids Divorce Lawyer

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2016 | Divorce |

Sad couple having conflict isolated onw hite background

Co-parenting with an ex is hard enough without your former spouse badmouthing you in front of the kids. As PsyCare explains, some divorcees alienate their children from the other parent by openly criticizing them. This not only fuels frustration and resent, but it can also cause unnecessary stress for kids. If your ex is badmouthing you in front of the children, it is critical that you handle the situation carefully. Do not threaten your ex; rather, consider these five tips:

  1. Stay calm;
  2. Think of the source;
  3. Try to debunk untrue information;
  4. Communicate openly;
  5. And chat with your ex.

If you are facing divorce in Michigan, contact Gordon & Hess, PLC. Daniel B. Hess Jr. is a family law attorney in Grand Rapids who can help you avoid mistakes that could compromise your personal or financial interests. He is a state-approved mediator in domestic relations mediation and can offer valuable legal advice. Call 616-369-7452 to schedule a free half-hour, confidential consultation. You can also visit to learn more about divorce in Michigan. Here are five steps to take if your ex is ridiculing you in front of your children:

  1. Stay Calm

Although your ex’s words may cause intense frustration, it is essential that you remain calm. Retaliating can only hurt your interests, as the Michigan Supreme Court explains.

  1. Think of the Source

How do you know that your ex is badmouthing you? Consider the source of the information. If the source is your children, do not overreact. Your kids may have misinterpreted the context of what your ex said. Sometimes angry children deliberately cause conflict between parents.

  1. Try to Debunk Untrue Information

Parents are speaking emotionally when they badmouth each other. They do not always mean what they say, or they exaggerate the truth and dramatize the problem. It is important to correct any misinformation so your children have reassurance, but you can only achieve this with a gentle approach. A confrontational reaction can cause additional stress for your children.

  1. Communicate Openly

Encourage honest communication with your children at all times. They should feel comfortable discussing their concerns with you – even if it is a sensitive subject such as insults from your ex. If you raise your voice or disparage the other parent, your child may not discuss the situation with you again. If this happens, you could lose the opportunity to correct false information about you in the future.

  1. Chat with Your Ex

When the children are at school or otherwise occupied, schedule a meeting with your ex to discuss the problem. Avoid being confrontational or irrational. Explain simply that parental alienation will have a harmful effect on your children, and badmouthing you can damage their emotional and mental health. If these efforts do not resolve the problem, call your family law attorney. It is certainly not in the best interests of children to hear insults about their parents, and if the problem persists, you may be able to adjust the custody agreement. A Grand Rapids divorce lawyer from Gordon & Hess, PLC can represent your interests. We offer 30 years of combined experience helping clients throughout west Michigan. Call 616-369-7452 to schedule a free half-hour, confidential consultation.