Co-Parenting with an ex can be difficult depending on how your relationship with the father of your child is and on what terms the relationship ended. It can get even more complicated when your ex gets a new girlfriend. On one hand, it could be a positive addition to your family and can make your life easier but on the other hand, the exact opposite can happen. An ex-husband’s girlfriend interfering with child custody can be one of the biggest headaches you can deal with but there are steps to take if you are in that situation.
When Your Ex Tells You About His New Girlfriend, Stay Neutral
When you get word of the new girl, try not to look at her as a threat to you.
Try to keep an open mind and avoid creating tension between the two of you if possible. Sad to say, but in some cases, the new girlfriend may immediately decide that you are the enemy.
If this is the case, it may be harder to remain neutral, but you can avoid engaging with her which will benefit you in the long run. It may be easier said than done if she is harassing you and talking down upon you.
Talk To Your Ex About Boundaries Involving New Partners
What kind of involvement are the two of you comfortable with regarding new partners? An ex-husband’s girlfriend interfering with child custody needs to understand that there are boundaries that will be placed.
Having this discussion early on will set the precedent that there are certain things that are to be respected. A new partner shouldn’t be stepping in and disciplining your children or convincing them to refer to her as ‘mom.’
Make these expectations clear to your ex early in their relationship before a problem begins. Your ex should inform his new partner about these boundaries and expect her to respect them.
Learn How To Exist In The Same Space
Once she becomes involved with the children, you’ll run into each other a lot. She’ll show up to birthday parties, sports practices, school events. You don’t want to give your children the idea that there is any kind of tension there, so you should act as calmly and respectfully as possible.
If she is creating drama at these events, do not interact with her and talk to your ex. Again, you need to set boundaries because it isn’t healthy for the children and if his new girlfriend can’t accept that, then she needs to take a step back.
Don’t Talk Negatively About Her In Front Of Your Children
Sure, she may not be your favorite person in the world, but your children might like her.
Even if they don’t, you don’t want them to see you putting others down. Although it can be a very frustrating situation, you want to put your children first and set a good example.
If she talks negatively about you or your children, have a conversation with your ex. Let him know that this should not be tolerated whatsoever and it is toxic for the kids to be involved in that type of talk.
What If She Begins Overstepping?
The new girlfriend might start to get a little too involved, especially if she lives with your ex. She may try to argue with you about co-parenting issues or insist that you contact your ex about the children through her. She may become an absolute nightmare, disrespecting you in front of your children, setting rules at your ex’s house for your children, and trying to compete with you through your children. Your ex may not be enforcing the boundaries you had initially set and allowing her to take full control. You are the mother. Stick to your guns.
What Can I Do About It, Legally?
In a child custody case, if the new girlfriend is continuously interfering, there are a few things you can do.
You may not be able to make her stop talking about you or showing up to all of the kids’ events, but you can limit some of the overstepping with a court order.
You can get a court order for them to refrain from referring to themselves as the parent and to refrain from disciplining the children. You can also get a court order that all contact about the children go through your ex and not his “significant other” as they call it in legal terms.
If this is ongoing behavior from her, document every occurrence.
Every nasty post she made about you online, any aggressive and/or threatening messages, and any evidence of her being an unsafe person for your children to be around if that is the case.
Having this documented will benefit you in court. If her behavior is obsessive it may not stop, but the more you document the deeper the hole she digs herself into.
Documenting the harassment will show the court that she is creating problems in your co-parenting relationship.
If She Creates Drama Online, Do Not Respond
Document her posts and move on.
Interacting brings you to that level and that will cause them to take the harassment less seriously in court. Don’t feud with her, focus on doing your part as a mother and let her make a fool of herself.
She may say things about you as a mother that will anger you and make you want to react, but it isn’t worth it. She is likely acting out of insecurity, viewing your relationship with him as a threat to her spot as “number one.”
Is Your Ex A Narcissist?
Sometimes, if your ex is a narcissist or was abusive to you, he will paint you as a villain to his new partner to maintain his innocence and his position as “the victim.”
It’s frustrating because you know it isn’t true, but if she is in the “love bombing” stage of their relationship, she will be angry at you for the ways he told her that you hurt him, and it will fuel the problems.
It works Perfectly for the narcissist because he has a new partner who is willing to attack you for him, and he gets her admiration for being a wonderful father and a man who was “heartbroken.”
Before he begins to act out toward his new girlfriend, she won’t understand the things you might have said about him and she’ll be convinced that you’re a liar.
Until she goes through it herself and puts the pieces together, she will think you’re the bad guy and that’s just something you have to live with. If he manipulated you, it’s probably not a shock he’ll go to extra lengths to manipulate a new partner.
As stressful of a situation as it might be, you can’t get a court order for your ex to leave his new girlfriend. As long as he wants her to be around, she will.
The best you can do is try to make the best of the situation, and if she isn’t on the same page, set firm boundaries and document everything necessary for court.
Your ex and the court both should be hoping to make a decision in the best interest of your children, so no harassment from the new girlfriend should be tolerated.
Related: When step-parents get too involved
Having an ex-husband’s girlfriend interfering with child custody can be a huge pain to deal with. Your children are your world and having a stranger try to come in and mess everything up can make you sleepless at night.
In this situation, you will have to approach it with a logical mindset. Acting out in emotion can escalate things to a level that no one wants. This matter can be handled by talking to your ex if the situation is still not escalated but if it is, legal action should be taken so your children are not harmed mentally from this.
As parents, our job is to ensure that our children have the best possible upbringing so they do not carry bad memories with them through adulthood. If they are going to deal with issues involving family problems, it’s best that you take the best possible approach to dim down the problem without causing an outburst from you, your ex, or his new partner.