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Post Separation Abuse - When Children Become the Weapon

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

Meet Tina Swithin, founder of One Mom’s Battle and the High Conflict Divorce Coach Certification Program who has spent the past decade working as a family court advocate and consultant. It was during her own child custody case that she recognized the need for divorce coaches and advocates who could make real and measurable differences in the lives of those targeted by high-conflict litigants.

I sat down to interview Tina in October after seeing what many would consider to be a controversial FB post she made. We talked about her personal journey and her advocacy work around the backlash survivors often face after making the critical decision to leave a partner with abusive behavior. This is a serious issue that is often overlooked in the domestic violence world and should be at the top of the priority list for those assisting survivors in making the transition from surviving to thriving.

I think Tina described it best when she said, “There is a huge disconnect between domestic violence (DV) advocacy groups and the reality of the family court system. We are telling survivors of DV to ‘be brave’ and to leave the abuse but we aren’t preparing them for the new chapter of abuse they are walking into which is post separation abuse.”

Anyone who has gone to family court to handle custody and child support with someone who has abusive behavior can pretty much agree that safely escaping abuse can feel like winning an EPIC battle

BUT… it’s often only the beginning of what can often become all out war where the children become the nuclear weapon of choice.

Tina’s story with her ex-husband began like so many of ours. A fairytale romance that quickly shifted gears. She says after they got married he moved her 4 hours away where she was kept in the dark about finances and despite living in a gated community they were living paycheck to paycheck. She would ask about the finances but he just kept telling her to trust him. However, whatever is in the dark eventually comes into the light and Tina’s day of enlightenment sounds like an episode straight out of a Hollywood drama. There she was minding her own business when she got a call from her nanny that the IRS was on her front doorstep because her family was $1.6 million in debt and the IRS froze all of their assets. All of this was and is proof that abuse is not something that ONLY people categorized in the lower economic bracket face.