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“Co-parenting” with an Abusive Ex

It has become the norm that when women separate from their abusive partners they are forced by the courts to co-parent with an abusive and controlling man. Since the courts generally award 50/50 custody, these men use the children to continue their abuse in a multitude of ways. One woman described this nightmare scenario this way:

My life is a living hell. My children are with their father half of the time. This means that once a week I have to send my small, vulnerable children to a man I am terrified of. It is like sending your children down a dark ally to meet a monster. I am to afraid to go down that dark ally myself – that is why I left him – but I have to send my kids down that dark ally every week. 

It is actually impossible to “co-parent” with these men. “Co-parenting” suggests that both parties are co-operating and seeking the best interest of the child. For an abusive man, after separation, children are simply pawns to use in the war. Every single issue becomes an opportunity to try to hurt and control the mother.



4 responses to ““Co-parenting” with an Abusive Ex”

  1. Still scared (but getting angry) says:

    My ex-idiot is always trying to get me to “co-parent”. Which to him means agree with what he said and convince the kids that is best. Ah, no! So very very thankful my kids are older. I have three more years of having to have contact with him over children. One of my kids refuses to have anything to do with the ex-idiot. And his counselor( my son’s ) says he is normal and well adjusted and has a way to deal with something very wrong that allows him to be safe. So my ex-iot rants and scream and swears he should not have to pay child support for this one and I just am counting off 360 days and this child will be 18.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yes, there is no such thing as “co-parenting” with an abusive ex. We are all single moms and single parents. This is the hardest part for me, to let my children go with their dad. The judge gave unreasonable access and I will be fighting this shortly. I cannot protect them when they are away from me. They have already been impacted by the ex’s family badmouthing me and I am concerned about parent alienation. All I can do is damage control and hope and pray that God can give me the wisdom and tools to help them through. I need to get my daughter to a child psychologist soon. I have a very long time to go as my daughter is 5 and my son is 2. At almost every single exchange there is an issue. It is 150% all about power and control. I do not understand why the courts turn a blind eye to abuse but I hope with the new family laws, the courts will understand and put more accountability when there is abuse in the relationship.

  3. Julie Boyd Cole says:

    Hello, my name is Julie Boyd Cole and I am a domestic violence survivor now co-parenting with my abuser. I am also a journalist who has researched and written about this difficult journey for years. I have learned to turn this sad story into something positive by sharing it with other victims and letting others know they are not alone. Will you considering sharing my book or sending me your feedback. I am collecting data for the next one as well.

    You can read an excerpt at

    Thank you and blessings to everyone facing this horrible challenge.

  4. Karen says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this very helpful information.

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When Love Hurts