Ex-Spouse Tips

Read these 44 Ex-Spouse Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Single Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.

Ex-Spouse Tips has been rated 3.6 out of 5 based on 2092 ratings and 11 user reviews.
Is it wrong to expect things to improve with my ex?

Don't Expect Too Much

Be realistic in your expectations. You were married to this person and probably know them better than they know themselves. Therefore you can probably predict their behavior and response to certain situations. Don't deliberately try to antagonize or upset the other person to get revenge. Learn the true meaning of forgiveness and get on with your life. If you harbor unforgiveness and bitterness, it will hinder your future. Let go of the past and look forward to the future. Give your ex time for his/her wounds to heal. Don't expect too much from them. Take it one step at a time and try to work toward a harmonious relationship for your children's sakes. Sometimes you may be able to compromise on issues, other times you may have to agree to disagree, but try to find a workable solution. Just don't expect too much cooperation too soon. Be sincere at all times and don't play games!

Can my child relay negative message for me?

Communicating Negative Messages

Be careful not to use your child as a message bearer to communicate with your ex-spouse. If your child delivers a negative message for you, your child risks receiving the brunt of the other person's anger. Keep your children out of your domestic squabbles. They will only confuse and upset your child who is trying to be loyal to both of you. Communicate negative messages yourself by whatever means is appropriate, just make sure it does not include your kids.

What are some tips on dealing with my ex-spouse?

Keep the Other Parent Informed

Keep the other parent posted on the little things. Send copies of report cards, drawings and graded papers on a regular basis. Kids often will not share all these things if they have limited time with the other parent. Make a special place to put items from school or home and be sure that the child remembers to take these items with them when they go on the visit. This gives the non-custodial parent insight into the little things that are going on and can help conversations when the parent and the child feel awkward.

Can anyone help me collect child support?

Get Help in Collecting Child Support

The Child Support Enforcement agency is a government agency set up to help custodial parents receive child support payments on a regular basis. If you are not familiar with this agency, check the divorce laws for your state to see if child support is mandated to be paid through this agency. You can find links to organizations such as Divorcesource.com or Divorcesupport.com listed here at Singleparent Tips. These sites list the laws for each individual state and should contain links to obtaining information for your area. This agency has a very good track record in finding errant parents who have been negligent in providing for their child's needs.

Should I tell my ex about school events and activities?

Don't Cut Your Ex Out of the Loop

From the Top 10 Mistakes Moms Make with Their Exes by Sally Abrahms
Keep your ex-spouse informed about everyday happenings and problems concerning your child. This includes school events and extracurricular activities. You may not want him there, but your child probably does. Put your selfish feelings aside and consider your child's well being. And it will go a long way in building a peaceful, harmonious relationship.
Source: women.com/family/features/divorce/f0406toptenex.html

How can I communicate with my ex-spouse if all we do is argue?

Communication is Important

If you and your ex are unable to carry on a civil conversation, you may need to find other ways to communicate information such as through letters or notes. If it is a very hostile situation that could end up in court, be sure to make copies of all your written communications to have as evidence should you need it. Some people have to communicate solely through lawyers, which is sad because the two adults are acting worse than a couple of two-year olds fighting over the same toy, except it is a child. If the other spouse insists upon acting like a child, then you need to be the grown-up and, by example, teach the other parent how to communicate. Set a good example for your children and exhibit some maturity in handling your side of the situation. Show them the right way to handle negative situations, not the wrong way, which is stooping to the other parent's level. Respect yourself even if your ex doesn't show you any.

Should I let my ex know what is going on in my child´s life?

Discuss Issues

Discuss issues together. If your child is facing a problem in school, social life, or at home, let the other parent know. Think it through together. Both of you should have your child's best interests at heart and even if you are not able to come to an agreement on how to handle the situation, both of you know what is going on.

How do I deal with an angry ex-spouse?

Stay Calm

If your ex tries to get you upset or angry, stay calm. Don't respond to his anger or engage in a confrontation he is trying to get you involved in. Be sincere and calm in your response. As the old saying goes, “kill them with kindness” (not literally of course!) Deal with the situation the same as you would with a hostile customer at work. Don't take it personally even though it is directed at your personally. Tell them you are sorry they feel that way but the situation is out of your control, the situation can't be undone, you are not able to discuss the issue with them, or whatever the rationale is. When dealing with men, remember that men are factual and respond to facts, not emotions. Getting upset and angry only fuels their fire more because men, by nature, are usually not geared to handle emotional issues, which leaves them even more frustrated and angry. Therefore you end up in a vicious cycle from which you need to remove yourself. Take away the fuel and the fire will die out.

How can I communicate effectively with my ex?

Don't Act As if You Know More

From the Top 10 Mistakes Moms Make with Their Exes by Sally Abrahms
Don't act as if you know more or better than your ex-spouse. Instead of saying “Lucy has to go to this school, I know what I am talking about”, try saying instead “I've done some research on this school and think it would be better for Lucy. Let me tell you why. What do you think?” In this manner you have presented your research and given your reasons for recommending a decision and allowing the other parent to voice an opinion or render a recommendation. A cooperative attitude beats an authoritarian one and you are more likely to win. Treat your ex-spouse as an adult, and don't act superior and as if only you know what's best.

Is it okay to bring up the past to my ex-spouse?

Forget Past Mistakes

From the Top 10 Mistakes Moms Make with Their Exes by Sally Abrahms
Don't bring up past mistakes and injustices. Throw away your laundry list of complaints and stay focused on the topic of discussion. Forget past mistakes, deal with the present. Hopefully they have learned from their past mistakes. It is time to forgive and forget.

Should I be jealous of the time my child spends with the other parent?

Avoid Becoming Jealous of Time Your Children Spend with the Other Parent

From the Top 10 Mistakes Moms Make with Their Exes by Sally Abrahms
Thinking that if your children spend time with their dad, you will be replaced or won't matter as much to them is a wrong attitude. You are very important to your children so do not allow yourself to feel threatened by the fact your children want and need to spend time with their other parent. Your children need to be loved by both parents and should not have to feel like they are in the middle of a tug-of-war. Just love your children and be the best parent you can and forget about competing with the other parent or feeling threatened by him. Real love cannot be bought, sold, or manipulated.
Source: www.women.com/family/features/divorce/f0406toptenex.html

Is it okay to hold my ex to a higher standard than I use?

No Double Standards

From the Top 10 Mistakes Moms Make with Their Exes by Sally Abrahms
If you set a standard for your ex-spouse, be prepared to live up to the same standard. If it is important for your ex-spouse to show up on time, and you hold him to this, be sure that you are not late yourself. If you set requirements for your ex-spouse, it is only fair that you hold yourself to the same expectation.

Do I have to watch what I say about my ex around my kids?

No Bad-Mouthing

Be careful about saying unkind things about your child's missing parent. Try not to even think them or it will eventually come out. The mouth tends to speak what is in the heart, so keep your heart clean. Children need to be taught to respect their parents, even when one of them tends to act like a jerk. In time your children may see the truth for themselves, but hopefully by that time they have matured enough to realize we cannot control another person's behavior. Teach them to love and respect all people, even when that love is not returned. Don't put your child in a position of having to take sides against the other parent. They should love you both.


No Accusations

From the Top 10 Mistakes Moms Make with Their Exes by Sally Abrahms
Hurling accusations such as “You are selfish, and that is why you are constantly late picking up Ryan” is not helpful. It would be better to address how you ex-spouse's behavior affects Ryan (“He said he feels bad because he is late for basketball practice and the coach gets mad.”)

Can I ask my child not to tell my ex something?

What your ex should know

Never tell your children to keep something secret from your ex. Your ex and the world at large have a right to know whatever your child knows. Telling children to keep secrets is harmful to the child's development. Children are innocent and will tell every thing they know to anyone. This is normal, do not tamper with it. Telling children to keep secrets makes them vulnerable to people who want to exploit them and makes them feel guilty when they talk to their other parent. If you do not want your ex to know something, do not let the children know.

Is it okay to call my ex-spouse "names" if they fit?

Avoid Mudslinging

From the Top 10 Mistakes Moms Make with Their Exes by Sally Abrahms
Engaging in mudslinging in front of the children is a big mistake. Children suffer emotionally when they hear one parent badmouthing the other. Name calling also increases the ill will and escalates conflict with your ex. Try to work together, not against each other. Everyone loses in mudslinging and name calling. You want to win, not lose. Forget the past, move ahead toward a peaceful future.

Is it okay for my ex-spouse to stay in my home while I am gone?

Don't Confuse Your Kids

Be careful if you are tempted to use your ex-spouse as your babysitter in your home while you are gone, whether for just a few hours, or while you are out of town for several days. This can cause confusion for your children. If for some reason your ex-spouse needs to stay in your home during your absence, make sure that you explain to your children that mommy or daddy is only going to be staying there to take care of them while you are gone. Be honest with them, do not leave any room for them to fantasize or dream about a reconciliation, if that is not possible. If you feel uncomfortable with leaving your ex-spouse at your home while you are away, then suggest that he/she and the kids may be more comfortable staying somewhere else such as his/her parents' home, relatives, or even a motel.

Is it okay to let my kids deliver messages to my ex-spouse?

Your Child Is not a Message Center

Never use your child as a message bearer. Your child will inevitably end up in the middle of the war zone, which is not fair. Children should not be exposed to their parents' immaturity. Try to find an appropriate method of communication that does not put your children in the middle. Leave a message on an answering machine or write a letter and mail it if necessary, but don't rely upon your children to communicate your messages. The message can be forgotten, misunderstood by the child and miscommunicated to the other adult, etc. If it is important, put it in writing. Just don't rely upon your children to deliver it or it may get lost or forgotten.

I can´t talk to my ex, how can we communicate?

How to communicate without talking

If you can not speak to your ex-spouse, try writing. When you write make sure you stay on the point, do not use accusations or insults. Send your letter twenty four hours after you have written it and make sure to re-read it again. When you write, pretend that it will be read by your children or a Judge, as this may happen.

What is a CSE (Child Support Enforcement) Agency and what does it do?

Information Required by Child Support Enforcement

All custodial parents whether aid or non-aid should provide the CSE (Child Support Enforcement) agency with all the necessary information, such as a copy of any existing court order for child support, a complete payment history, as much location information on the non-custodial parent as possible, and birth certificates for the children if needed. Failure to provide required information will result in long delays.

Can child support be withheld from a paycheck?

Wage Withholding

Federal law dictates that an employer must withhold wages if ordered by a court to do so.

How do I get child support through Child Support Enforcement?

Child Support Payment through Child Support Enforcement

Your ex can pay you directly if that is an arrangement that you both can live with. Before you make that decision, consider that if payments are made by wage withholding you will have a clear payment record through the CSE (Child Support Enforcement) agency (Child Support Enforcement) office, payments will be delayed by the mail, and you avoid the possibility of money falling into arrears by a payee who does not pay because wage withholdings are automatic. As long as the obligor keeps their job, you will receive child support. Having a wage withholding is beneficial for the payer as well due to some reports of payees not reporting the actual amount of support received.

How can I get my child support collected that is overdue?

Problems in Receiving Child Support

If you are having problems collecting child support, you should check with your local Child Support Enforcement office. In many states, this office is the one responsible for collecting child support and distributing it to the custodial parent. Look under the Books category at singleparent-tips for some good books to help you collect child support and/or locate a child support enforcement agency near you. One such book is The E-Z Legal Guide to Collecting Child Support which lists the addresses and phone numbers for Child Support Enforcement agencies in all 50 states.

What do I do if my child complains about the other parent?

When the children complain

When the children complain about the care they are getting from your ex, talk to your ex about what the children are saying. Do not accuse but do explore. Often children think you want to hear something bad so they tell you something. Sometimes it is made up, other times it is inflated. By talking together without accusing, you insure that the children do not grow up manipulating those around them.

What are some tips on dealing with my ex-spouse?

Meet at Least Once a Month

Be open to meeting regularly each month with your ex and discussing how the kids are doing. Do this in a "businesslike" manner when the children are not present. If you sense problems or difficulties with the arrangement or a difference in household rules, bring them up! Letting them sit and simmer will only cause an uproar later. Remember that you both have your children's best interests at heart and meeting each other half-way is the best way to resolve most conflicts.

Is it okay to ask my ex-spouse to babysit while I go out on a date?

Your Ex-Spouse as Your Babysitter

Generally, it is best that you not use your ex-spouse to watch the kids while you go out on a date. This is especially true if he or she feels like they are the injured party. If they are not currently involved with anyone themselves, there could be a lot of resentment and/or hurt feelings. Do not set yourself up for problems later. If your ex-spouse knows you are out on a date with someone else, you may be asking for trouble by asking them to watch the kids while you enjoy yourself on a date. You may come home and find your children turned against you because of bad things he or she may have been saying about you due to their jealousy or anger about the situation. Basically, the less your ex-spouse knows about your dating relationships, the better. And expecting them to be your babysitter in such situations is rather inconsiderate. If you cannot afford a babysitter, try asking friends or family to assist.

How do I receive child support?

Child Support and AFDC

If you are on AFDC and the state is able to collect your child support, you will receive up to $50.00 each month from the support collected in addition to your regular grant from AFDC. The balance of the child support paid will go towards reimbursing the government for the benefits made to your family.

Do I need to be perfect so my children will love me?

Forget Perfectionism

From the Top 10 Mistakes Moms Make with Their Exes by Sally Abrahms
Trying to be perfect in order to look better than the other parent is another big mistake. That is a pretense that will quickly falter. Just relax and act naturally. While we should always strive to improve ourselves, setting too high of a goal for yourself adds more stress and pressure that you do not need. Be satisfied with being the best you can be and do not try to be something you are not.

Will my child love me less if I can´t provide for them like my ex?

Your Child's Love Cannot Be Bought

From the Top 10 Mistakes Moms Make with Their Exes by Sally Abrahms
You are wrong if you believe that your children will love their father more because he can buy your children more clothes, toys, and better vacations than you can provide. Love cannot be bought. Money and things do not buy happiness. Spending quality time with your child is far more important than buying expensive gifts. Your child may not remember that new outfit of clothes, but they will remember who was there to watch them score that touchdown, or who taught them how to ride a bicycle, or who was there to encourage them and provide guidance in dealing with their problems and concerns. Love your children, do not try to compete for them.

How often is my child support reviewed?

Child Support Review

Federal laws mandate that the amount of child support be reviewed every three years OR more often depending upon state law.

What is a CSE (Child Support Enforcement) Agency and what does it do?

Cost to Apply for Child Support Enforcement

Anyone who is receiving AFDC, Medicaid, or Foster Care stipends do not have to pay for CSE (Child Support Enforcement) agency services. Everyone else can be charged a fee of up to $25.00. Some states absorb all, or part, of the fee, and some states will collect the fee from the non-custodial parent. Check with your local CSE (Child Support Enforcement) agency regarding your state policy.

How can relations be improved between my child and absent parent?

Child Support Encourages Paternal Involvement

Just as a job is about more than a paycheck, child support is about more than money. Child support has a dual quality, important both as cash income for the family and as a way to encourage paternal involvement. Establishing regular payment of child support appears to increase the father's involvement in their children's upbringing and improve a child's future outcome. It may also increase the availability of paternal relatives as a back-up system for child care and family emergencies. Although domestic violence is a concern to some families, many mothers report that they encourage their children's emotional relationship with their father and his family, and try to keep the father involved in the children's lives when feasible.

What are some laws, legislation or court rulings on child support?

UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act)

Often parents reside in different states, which can create problems for both parties in a child support case. The new UIFSA (Uniform Interstate Family Support Act) statute tries to smooth the way for fewer problems created by parents residing in different jurisdictions.

How do I receive child support?

Child Support from Prisoners

Child support obligations are not discontinued if the obligor is unable to make the payments. The unpaid support will accrue until it is properly paid, unless you agree to have payments deferred until the non-custodial parent is released and working. But why would you do that? If, while, in prison there are wages earned through a work release program, these earnings can be garnished for child support. If the non-custodial parent has assets or real property, you can receive an execution whereby the property is seized and sold, and whatever support is owed to you is then paid. This can be complicated, and cost money. You need to decide if it is worth it.

What is a CSE (Child Support Enforcement) Agency and what does it do?

Public Aid and Child Support Enforcement

In aid cases, the welfare department refers the case to the CSE (Child Support Enforcement) agency. They then pursue the non-custodial parent to establish paternity, set a current child support order, medical insurance order and possibly reimbursement to the state for cash aid previously paid to the custodial parent for the children. In instances where the children are in foster care, the state will pursue both the mother and the father as non-custodial parents.

If my child support is in the arrears can I withhold visitation?

Child Support Arrears and Visitation

Child support and visitation are separate issues. You cannot lawfully withhold visitation if child support is past due. Conversely, one cannot lawfully withhold child support if they are not allowed visitation. Many states are working on methods to assist with visitation issues.

What is a CSE (Child Support Enforcement) Agency and what does it do?

Issues not Handled by Child Support Enforcement

Government CSE (Child Support Enforcement) agency agencies DO NOT handle custody issues, visitation issues, property disputes, nor cases of harassment or child abduction. Parents themselves, through their attorneys, or through the courts, must handle these issues. If crimes are committed, they should be reported to the police.

How long will I receive child support?

Duration of Child Support

Child support ceases when a child becomes a certain age, which differs from state to state, ranging from age 18 to 21. The most common date is when a child turns 18 and has graduated from high school, or up to age 19 whichever occurs first. Specific clauses can be included in divorce orders that require the non-custodial parent to pay child support until a child graduates from college.

What is a default judgement?

Default Judgment

Non-custodial parents should NEVER allow a Default Judgment. Yet thousands of default judgments are filed every day throughout the country. It is very difficult and expensive to reverse a Default Judgment once it is entered so if there is any doubt on the amount of child support, or in paternity you need to file an Answer with the court within the 30-day time frame allowed.

What are some laws, legislation or court rulings on child support?

Contempt of Court

The person being charged with "Contempt of Court" faces jail time because they have not done what the court has ordered them to do. If your exspouse is charged with contempt, they have not paid their court ordered child support. Contempt of court brings the offender to court to face the judge and explain why the child support payments have not been made. Rarely will a judge order jail time for an obligor with his/her first contempt of court charge. If offender is arrested, child support must be paid before they can be released.

What are some laws, legislation or court rulings on child support?

Bounced (Bad) Child Support Checks

The law allows for a wage withholding when child support payments are behind 30 days or more. Child support payments would then be taken directly from the paycheck of the noncustodial parent, eliminating the need for him or her to pay you directly. Also, it is a crime to bounce checks, so report the bad check to your local police department.

How do I receive child support?

Petition for Child Support

Having an attorney is not a requisite when petitioning for child support. If you can afford the benefit of hiring one - which may be costly - then it is always recommended that you do so. However, you may always represent yourself in court, or use one of many creative ways of hiring an attorney which may cost you nothing at all, or the bare minimum in up front fees.

What is I receive a bad check for child support

Bad Check for Child Support

The law allows for a wage withholding when child support payments are behind 30 days or more. Child support payments would then be taken directly from your ex's pay eliminating the need for him or her to pay you directly. Also, it is a crime to bounce checks. Think about taking criminal action by reporting the bad check to your local police department.

What is a CSE (Child Support Enforcement) Agency and what does it do?

Cost for Child Support Enforcement Services

CSE (Child Support Enforcement) agency agencies can recover all, or part, of their fees from those who do not receive AFDC benefits. Fees can be deducted from child support payments, or collected from the non-custodial parent. Not all states recover the costs of their services so it's important to check with your local agencies regarding your state policies.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Single Parent Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Tammi Reynolds