What to do if your partner is a bully during your divorce

In an ideal world when two people divorce, they both part amicably and discuss the settlement together, arriving at a conclusion that is fair to both parties and for their family.

However, although this situation is far more common than the mainstream media makes out, sometimes it is an unrealistic goal. Unfortunately, when some couples divorce, one person makes this impossible by being a bully.

If you find that you are being bullied by your ex, then there are ways to cope and come through your divorce with an acceptable settlement.

Keep yourself safe

If you feel that your ex’s behaviour has crossed into being abusive and if you feel threatened, then it is vital that you protect yourself. Both physical and mental domestic abuse is illegal in the UK. Report any abusive behaviour to the police and dial 999 if you are being threatened.

Ensure you have a support network around you and that you listen to them. It is often difficult to recognise when you are the victim of abuse. If someone is concerned for you, then allow them to help you.

Your divorce lawyer will also be able to help you.

Keep a record

Bullying behaviour can be hard to pinpoint and certain actions in isolation can seem harmless. That is why you should keep a record.

Save emails and messages and write down phone and face-to-face conversations soon after they happened, so you remember them and they will be hard to dispute.

If you have any contact with professionals such as your GP, health visitors or social workers then keep a record of conversations you have that relate to how your ex is treating you and how it is affecting you. These professionals may be able to support you during your divorce.

Communicate through your divorce lawyer

When your ex is a bully and will not communicate, then you should leave the communication to your divorce lawyer. If you are open with them about how your ex is treating you, then they will support you and ensure you do not face confrontation.

Take your divorce to court

Although for most couples we recommend mediation or collaborative law as a way to reach a settlement, when one half is a bully or is abusive, then it is appropriate that the divorce is decided by an independent judge.

This is where records of your ex’s behaviour will become very useful. Ensure you have a good divorce lawyer at your side. A family judge will be able to decide on the fairest settlement so you don’t have to go through the emotional turmoil of having to fight your corner against a bully.