What must I tell my ex in regards to our child?

I have a very verbally abusive ex-husband. He will constantly belittle me and use EVERY name in the book when speaking to me - even when it’s not about our daughter. Typically, I ignore him but am concerned over some recent things he has sent me. He lately has been saying that I’m in contempt of court because I haven’t told him when our daughter’s “Meet the Teacher” night is or when the first day of school is. I honestly feel like this is something I do not HAVE to tell him as it’s public information on the school/district’s website and emails have been sent out in regards to it. The only thing in our divorce decree states that he has the right to be informed about the health and welfare of our daughter. I have told him about doctor’s appointments and life changing situations, but I think he’s now just trying to scare me into bending to his every want and desire rather than finding the information out himself. What do y’all think? Thanks!

The answer depends on what your divorce decree says. Ours says we have a “duty to inform about health, education, etc…”. Also if you are making educational decisions on behalf of your child without his input it is highly likely you have a duty to inform. Err on the side of caution and over communicate. You can put it in an email or a text and avoid the abuse. And you have evidence that you actually did your duty.

Also I’d start recording quietly. You can get an excellent USB device for around $20 that is small and will fit in your purse or pocket. Do NOT tell him and make sure it is legal in your state. In Texas I can record someone without their knowledge if I am a party to the conversation. We have 3 years worth of recordings we have turned over and have been able to demonstrate our claims much more easily.

Best of Luck!

I have never been married to my daughter’s father. However, our custody order states that he has a right to know where she receives medical care, attends school, etc. He has no bearing on the decision making that goes into where she goes though. I would keep communication strictly to email so you can remain organized. Notify him of events monthly by requesting the information from her school or teacher and forwarding it. Leave him their contact info if he has questions.

As far as medical information–I would limit it to significant information. If he really wants to know details, he has a legal right to her medical files as long as she is a minor, and he can contact their offices directly.

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I tend to agree with you that you don’t have to inform him of something that he can easily find out for himself. You are not setting the back-to-school date and time, so I don’t think it is your responsibility to inform him. If it’s something you plan, then depending on your decree, maybe you are responsible to inform him, or if you get a call from school specifically about your child, then probably. But the time of a school event that anyone who wants to know about can find out, you should not have to communicate to him. That’s like saying you have to inform him of the school curriculum, the school uniform policy, the school lunch menu. All of that, along with the school calendar, can be found online. He can look it up.

He should be on the parent email list anyway. He should be getting the same notices you are getting. Maybe check to make sure he is on the list and that’s enough. If he is not, it’s not really your fault unless it was understood you would complete the information and you left him off.

But my situation is different, so maybe take my advice with a grain of salt. There has never been an official custody agreement between my ex and me. I have had actual custody since birth, but only by default. I have been cooperative with my child’s father, making her available to him whenever he asked, but I do not inform him of every little thing she does. And mostly not the big things either. If he called regularly and asked about her, I would tell him just about everything, but he doesn’t. Of course, he was not in the same country as us for the first 3 years of her life and he was impossible to reach with any reliability during that time, and it became natural that I make all decisions without him. (And no, he is not in the military. He’s from another country that he chose to return to after her birth.)

Now he is claiming I’m keeping her from him because I don’t make her call him regularly, but I don’t think I have to make her call him if he isn’t going to call her. And, he contributes $0 to her upbringing, so I don’t feel like I should be hamstrung by his whims. I don’t make it another task in my busy day to inform him of everything she is up to, and I don’t think I should have to.

Good luck.