Having children changes the game for all married couples. They have to be more gentle with the way they talk and more careful about what they say to each other within the earshot of their kids. Children are like sponges who are easily influenced and affected by words and emotions. That’s why it is advisable that parents sort out their issues when their children are not present.
This is especially true when it comes to divorce. A situation as complicated as this is bound to affect children negatively. So you and your ex need to be extra careful about discussing your divorce in front of your children.
One common mistake that co-parents make after their divorce is bad mouthing each other to their children. They try to paint a bad picture of the other parent, usually in hopes of straining the child’s relationship with their ex and getting sole custody.
But this practice is highly frowned upon by the courts. In fact, a stipulation against it should be made in the parenting plan, called the non-disparagement clause.
What is the non-disparagement clause?
A non-disparagement clause in a parenting plan is a “speak-no-ill” policy that prohibits the co-parents from speaking negatively about each other, especially in front of the children. In many cases, the stipulation can be more specific and will limit a parent’s ability to make disparaging remarks about the other parent to anyone in general.
What can you do when your co-parent bad mouths you in front of your children?
Remember that the main concern of the courts is to protect the children and keep them out of adult issues. So if you find that your co-parent is badmouthing you to your kids and straining your relationship with them, you can seek relief from the courts.
The common solution will be a permanent order hearing where the judge will, in part, rule that neither parent is allowed to disparage the other within earshot of the children.