Divorce may terminate a person’s role as a spouse, but it does not end a person’s role as a parent. Parents will continue to be in each other’s lives through their children, which can be difficult when the split was contentious.
After a divorce, the bad feelings and stress between former spouses do not just evaporate. They can dislike, distrust and resent each other indefinitely, but it is important to think carefully about how and if you express these emotions. Disparaging your ex could have some serious repercussions.
Violating a non-disparagement clause
In many divorce agreements between parents, there will be a clause directing each party against badmouthing one another. Depending on the exact language in your agreement, it could bar you from:
- Saying critical things about your ex in front of your children
- Disparaging or speaking negatively about your ex to anyone
- Allowing family members to disparage your ex in front of your children
If you violate this clause, you could face allegations of interfering with parent time. You could also face contempt charges and, in extreme cases, loss of custody.
Compromising your child’s well-being
In many cases, parents or the courts have determined that it is in a child’s best interests to have a meaningful relationship with each parent. Under these circumstances, badmouthing your ex to your child could harm his or her relationship with both of you.
When you talk negatively about the other parent, you risk poisoning your child’s relationship with him or her. You could also turn your child against you if he or she resents you for your efforts.
Making things harder on yourself
There is nothing wrong with having bad feelings about an ex. However, regularly sharing them online or to your friends or children can open you up to criticism and strain your own relationships. Further, focusing on your ex can make it more difficult for you to move forward.
There is no expectation that you like your ex or wish him or her well after your divorce. But if you have children together, it can be in everyone’s best interests for parents to be respectful toward each other.