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"Non-disparaging remarks" in final decree when there's abuse

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Nature_Girl posted 7/2/2013 03:44 AM

So as I've shared here ad nauseum, STBX severely abused me and the children emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Plus he's a pervert, and then there's the cheating. So, he's got quite a few things about him that are horrible.

Right now we're working through the wording of the final divorce decree. (and yes, OMG, I am thrilled to be this close!) STBX has put in there a clause, looks like boilerplate language, about not making disparaging remarks about the other parent, not doing/saying anything which might cause the children to change their feelings of love & affection towards the other parent.

Well, right now the kids just love STBX. Mostly. They have made the deliberate choice to compartmentalize a lot of the abuse. I understand. I also know that one day the truth about what all went down in the marriage as well as the truth about what a sick SOB STBX is, that's going to come out. The kids will eventually learn it. They ask me questions all the time. So far the questions they ask reveal their ignorance & innocence. One day they're going to learn that something like infidelity exists, and then they're going to ask me if he cheated on me. Maybe they'll ask if I cheated, too. But if they ask me about him, I'm not going to lie. I won't go into gory details, but I'm done lying and done covering for him.

Would that count as a disparaging remark? I'm going to assume that learning something like that about your parent will at least temporarily alter your feelings about that parent. One day my kids are going to learn about spousal abuse, and then they are going to ask me hard questions. I'm not going to lie to them. I'm done lying & pretending.

Do you have this clause in your final divorce decree? If so, what do you understand it to mean?

Kajem posted 7/2/2013 04:09 AM

Disparaging remarks to me... is saying stuff about the X that is uncalled for. Calling him a POS is not called for. Answering questions in a way that is sensitive to the fact that the person you are talking about is loved by the person you are talking to.

I don't make excuses for my XH, I do not lie about him or call him names. But when the questions come up.. I answer in a factual and as non emotionally as I can. They wouldn't be asking if they didn't suspect. And I can play dumb to get them to clarify their questions.. it helps me to figure out what to tell them. If they ask very vague questions, I am at a loss as to what they are asking about..-there is too much to choose from.

By putting down my X, I am putting down a part of my kids. I can't do that to them. They have suffered so much already due to his choices.

So choose your words carefully. And expect your x to lie about you... mine does regularly. I think it is in the NPD handbook.



hoya96 posted 7/2/2013 07:36 AM

I do have this language in my decree, and both my lawyer AND my children's therapists (I have one for my oldest and a different play therapist for my youngest) gave me the same advice on this issue -

Answering questions honestly and factually is NOT alienation or harmful. Editorializing about intention, character or our perceptions is off limits.

So for example, if my children ask me if their father and stepmother had an affair, I can say yes. If they ask if their father had cheated on me before, I could say yes. What I cannot do is say something like she destroyed our family, because that's both disparaging and my opinion.


roughroadahead posted 7/2/2013 07:42 AM

Agree with Hoya. Unless you work for the NSA, it is a rare case that you will run into trouble disclosing simple facts. Now, he may dispute the accuracy of those facts when your future teenaged children approach him with that info. I would talk to your L and your children's IC about disclosure, in the event that when the time comes he gaslights the shit out of them and then runs to court with the claim you are lying/alienating.

Again, if you have evidence it's true, then nothing will come of it, but that's a whole lot of hassle. You'll need to plan ahead.

Weatherly posted 7/2/2013 07:43 AM

Answering questions honestly and factually is NOT alienation or harmful.


My boys have had some harder questions lately, and I've answered them honestly. But, I don't need to disparage their dad, they know enough as it is. I recently said something to the boys that I know their dad won't like, but, because he is abusive and they know it (though, they don't know its abuse) they never volunteer what I say to him.

Even though we have the same language in our decree, he bad mouths me all the time. The kids see through it though. I think have that in the decree is pointless, honestly. Though fighting it probably won't look good either. I don't want to hurt my kids, so I don't trash their dad (to them), with or without the "ban". He is a selfish asshole, who uses the kids to boost his ego, so, he trashes me whether he is allowed to or not.

Nature_Girl posted 7/2/2013 11:20 AM

Weatherly, that's something which I found shocking (although nothing should shock me anymore, nothing). It is STBX who has disparaged me and actively engaged in parental alienation all this time. He has overtly called me names to the children. He regularly engages in trash-talking me and forces the children to join in or else face his displeasure. He continues to use the children to feed his ego (see recent post in which he now has them all terrified he's going to die soon). I've had to get my lawyer to write letters insisting he stop doing this. So I was amazed he had this clause put in. He's the one doing that behavior!

Then again, he's the King of Projection, so what did I expect?

I don't know that I want to keep that language in there.

nowiknow23 posted 7/2/2013 11:27 AM

Are you sure he put it in? It seems to be fairly standard language. It's in my decree and neither of us put it there.

[This message edited by nowiknow23 at 11:27 AM, July 2nd (Tuesday)]

Missymomma posted 7/2/2013 11:29 AM

NG - You could always change it to no slandering. Then you would be covered, since you would only let them know the facts!

lostmommy posted 7/2/2013 12:36 PM

It's in mine too and neither one of us put it in there.

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