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Conflict with Exes

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Conflict with your ex is always painful if you’re fighting over your children but in some situations you can lose touch with your children completely because of false allegations or parental alienation. Sometimes relatives can be drawn into this too.

Read about parental alienation in our blog. By understanding more about the way professionals and courts handle these kinds of cases you will be better able to help yourself.

Types of conflict with an ex:

  • Co-parenting Issues
  • Financial Issues
  • Communication breakdown

Heed the warning signs of special trouble ahead

Courts can be persuaded to make bad decisions by people who have particular personality traits which make them very convincing and persuasive. You’ll know if your ex is one of these people. They may even have told you their intention to do you harm in threats they’ve made. Think about what you can do to prove the truth about what you’ve actually done. If you’re in this situation you should tread carefully. Reputations and family relationships can be lost if the court makes a bad decision based on misleading evidence.

Think about…

what the children must feel like in the middle of these clashes. Older children will know what your ex is like but their loyalties will be torn. Even very young children can sense these things and will have learnt what role is expected of them by the manipulative parent. These kinds of problems can produce lifelong bad consequences for the children in terms of mental health problems and an inability to form normal adult relationships.

Don’t assume…

that the professionals in these situations will understand the problem. The nature of the problem makes some gullible professionals make poor judgements, think you’re the problem and in their decision making become part of the problem themselves. This is known as ‘splitting’ the professionals because it puts the professionals at loggerheads with each other. ‘Splitting’ is not something judges know much about nor do CAFCASS officers or social workers. That’s why some of these cases get dealt with so badly.

CAFCASS assessments can be extremely inadequate. Our blog, describes their use of Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programmes (DAPPs) and their limitations.

What should you do about a conflict with your ex?

As difficult as it is, try to step back from the heat of the emotional reaction and keep calm. Decide what you want to achieve, make that your aim and then stick to your plan. Keep careful and detailed records of what you do day by day so if things go wrong you’ll have your evidence to rely on to try to set the record straight. Don’t wait to hear the lies, just record everything so you have evidence of what you’ve done on each occasion, such as at all contacts with the children, at meetings and so on. Never meet your ex alone. Always take a witness.

How do I disprove lies?

Sadly it’s not always possible to show that you’re being lied about but to prove something is a lie you have to produce the evidence. There are lots of instances when you can’t prove something is untrue but there are things you can do to try to ensure the truth emerges. There are a lot of situations where some form of evidence is available to support what you’re saying.

How can ONRECORD help with my family conflict?

With our website and our simple and confidential app to gather and record evidence, ONRECORD gives you everything you need to start building your case.

Here are our tips for using ONRECORD:

  • Prove where you were and when by making records and taking photos:

Perhaps you’re accused of being late for contact with the children on numerous occasions or that you regularly fail to attend. This is a common problem in contact cases and an easy accusation to make. Make sure you can prove it’s untrue by making a careful record. On each occasion arrive a bit early to give you time to make a record with a photo of where you are, such as the street outside the house where you’re collecting the children. Upload it immediately. ONRECORD can automatically verify your location as well as the time you uploaded your record but you can also use an EXIF (Exchangeable Image File Format) app with your photo to verify the location (as long as you have location turned on), date and time of the photo itself (beware: some of these apps use the American dating system so don’t get confused). You can screenshot this EXIF information and upload it to your record along with the original photo you took.

But remember you must be discreet about taking photos to confirm your location and you shouldn’t let the children know you’re doing it because it would be involving them in your dispute.

Our advice would be to make records like this from the start in any case. You really can’t be sure how things will go in a dispute and you may fear such an accusation being made against you, so don’t wait for the accusations to come in but just record everything right from the start. It will give you peace of mind.

There are lots of situations where taking a photo and making a record to show where you were and when might be necessary. For example you might have been accused of taking the children to somewhere that’s not agreed, such as a new girlfriend’s/boyfriend’s place. You might have actually gone to the seaside miles away. Keeping records of what you did and where you went can prove a lie when the accusations come in.

Be resourceful in collecting evidence. You may never need it but it could be the difference between being believed or not.

  • Have a credible witness to support you:

You may have a relative, friend or other witness who can confirm something you’ve done, something you’ve said or where you’ve been. They might be able to confirm that the children had a lovely time during contact and enjoyed it when it’s being alleged they spent the whole time upset and crying. If they will back you up that’s really helpful.

  • Give it time:

Usually even you will only have learnt how difficult your ex is after getting to know them well over time. The same is true for the social worker, the CAFCASS officer and the court, so be patient with them. Over time, (1) stay polite, cooperative, calm and sensible yourself and (2) keep records but don’t make it obvious that you are doing so and certainly don’t boast about it or tell your ex you’re doing so. Your ex is likely to start to show his/her true colours over time. He/she is likely to get overconfident and the lies are likely to get less and less believable. If you can also record the evidence to show that your ex is lying then you may swing the case in your favour.

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