How to Communicate with very Difficult BM
My DH and his ex-wife (BM to my two teenage step children) have a shared parenting plan in place in the state of Ohio. Since I married my DH (about six months ago), things with BM have gone downhill significantly. The good news is: my relationships with my SS and SD are wonderful and getting better and better each day, so I do know that I am blessed. Recently though the level of the BM's verbal abuse to my husband is getting out of control. She is constantly demeaning and insulting to him, even though he continually tries to respond only to the specific issues related to the kids. He has been ignoring her verbal abuse for some time. Two days ago, he asked that she communicate only via email and limit her communication to specific issues related to the kids. He stated that he will not respond to any editorial comments or personal attacks, only to specific kid-related things. Her next email was a statement that she will only communicate by phone and never by email. My DH believes that this is because she doesn't want a record of her abusive comments and wants to be able to harass him via phone. Does he have any legal way to insist on written communication only, so there is a record of all communication? Are there other possible solutions that we're not considering? The goal is to shield ourselves from her abusive comments and to make sure that all communication is documented in case we ever find ourselves hauled before the magistrate again. This is because one of her tactics is to constantly threaten to take us back to court if she doesn't get what she wants.
So far, we have managed to shield the kids from this conflict and tension by never mentioning it around them; however, I am concerned that things will only continue to deteriorate further. I am also concerned about the emotional toll this verbal abuse is taking on my husband and on me. Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated!
I would suggest recording
I would suggest recording DH's phone conversations with BM. If she makes any threats or derogatory comments, then take it to court. I have heard of a no-contact clause which restrics BM from communicating in person or via phone unless there's an emergency. We handled all communications with BM via email for almost 3 years. I can't tell you how nice it is to not have to hear her voice!
Exactly what I was going to
Exactly what I was going to say... have him use only his cell phone where calls can be recorded and notify her before every conversation that her call is being recorded (for legal purposes, I believe you have to disclose to the other party)
Bet, she'll change her tune fast!!
I like this idea, you just
I like this idea, you just have to make sue that she KNOWS that she is being recorded. Some states either wont let you use it against her if she didn't know, or it actually could be illiegal for you to do so if she doesn't know about it. I would use this idea! }:)
This is easy to solve. When
This is easy to solve. When she calls your DH should inform her that he is recording the conversation and if she does not want to be recorded that she should hang up now. If she agrees, then he SHOULD record the call.
If she refuses he should direct her to e-mail him with the issue she would like to discuss.
Depending on where you live you may not have to notify BM that the call is being recorded. In Texas it used to be that anyone can record a conversation that they are a participant in without having to notify the other participants. That may still be the case.
If he has not gone in front of a judge to get a Court Order to cover the visitation schedule he needs to. A CO is a great tool for controlling idiots from the blended family opposition. A parenting plan many not have the teeth that at CO has if BM manipulates the situation.
I would also recommend that you and/or DH keep a detailed telephone log of the Date/Time/Duration and content of every conversation that you or DH has with BM and log anything that the Skids say about BM and what goes on at BMs house. The log may not be admissible as evidence in court but it is a great reference to have for court testimony and it gives credibility to what you and/or DH testifies about Vs what BM may say about the same conversation if you have a log and she does not.
Lastly, I would adhere to the "facts are not good or bad, they are just facts" perspective when dealing with BM and when discussing the situation with the Skids and other family members. Eventually she will learn to stick to the facts or "get a lawyer".
My SS-18's SpermClan took a while to get the message that we adhere strictly to the CO, we will hold them accountable for their toothless, idiot moron crap, we will not tolerate any manipulation or interference in our family and no matter what we WILL protect the best interests of our son (my SS) even if we have to protect him from THEM and if they don't adhere to the CO and do exactly what we tell them to do when we tell them to do it that they will need a lawyer and WILL see us in court.
We have never spoken ill of the SpermIdiot or the SpermClan around our son. But, we have also not kept their stupid crap a secret from him either. He knows the facts and knows where all of the telephone logs, court reporter recordings, COs, PI reports, copies of BioDad's arrest records, etc, etc, etc ... are. If he had a question we have always answered it factually but in an age appropriate fashion.
Now that he is 18 he is familiar with every thing we have on file. He has reviewed it several times since he was ~14 to learn if what the SpermClan has told him is accurate. He has formed his own opinion of them.
I am proud that he loves them because they are his family even though he has no respect for them.
We raised him to be a caring young man and to trust but verify .... especially where his SpermIdiot and SpermClan are concerned.
Record, record, record.
Record, record, record. Making sure you're following the law in your state of course. Our order finally says text or email. We have some great recordings of her threatening suicide, threatening me and lots of curse words and pure craziness.
You don't have to resort to
You don't have to resort to recording calls, this is what I would do. Let BM's calls go to voicemail EVERY TIME SHE CALLS! If she states what she wants/needs on the voicemail then compose an e-mail to her in response to her call. Example:
I received your voicemail that you left on XXX day at XXX time. Blah, blah, blah. If you have any other questions, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
If she doesn't state what she needs/wants then don't return the call. She will call again.....trust me!
If she continues to call and leave voicemails saying nothing but demanding a call back then send another e-mail.
I received your voicemails on THESE days at THESE times. Since you didn't state what you needed/wanted I am unable to respond to your request. Please e-mail me the details at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can respond to you in a timely manner.
Rinse, Lather, Repeat. She can't yell at him if he's not on the other end of the phone. Your skids are teens, I'm assuming he has contact with them on their cell phones, e-mails, facebooks, etc. They aren't young enough to have to go through BM for communication and contact with dad. Think of it as training a new puppy. You reward good behavior and ignore the bad behavior. Eventually she will figure out that the ONLY response she is going to get from him is in writing.