Maybe your ex is taking their cues from some of their toxic friends. Or, perhaps your ex has a mental condition, like borderline personality disorder (BPD), that makes it difficult for them to empathize with anybody else (even you or your child). Maybe they just want control over you so badly that they don’t care how they get it.

Whatever the reason, you’ve got some concerns that your ex will try to accuse you of domestic violence. How do you minimize your risks? By using caution. Here are some steps you may want to take:

  • Record all of your communications. North Carolina is a one-party consent state, which means that it’s legal for you to record phone calls and conversations so long as you are one of the parties involved. You may catch your ex in the act of threatening to fabricate a claim against you.
  • Keep all your communications clean. Don’t text, email or talk using any kind of aggressive language. If you find yourself losing your cool, cut off communication or walk away until you can handle it. You can also let your attorney take over and handle any necessary communications.
  • Do your custody exchanges in public. Many police stations encourage warring parents to make custody exchanges in their lobbies or in front of the building. The fact that there are police nearby and cameras rolling can be a saving grace if you’re later accused of threatening or battering your ex.
  • Ask for a peace officer to accompany you back to the home for your things. If you need to visit the family home to collect personal items, request the company of your local police officer while you do it. Failing that, take a neutral party who can be a witness to events.

A bitter breakup can bring out the absolute worst in people — and some folks aren’t shy about trying to manipulate the system. If you’re accused of domestic violence by a bitter ex, find out what civil and criminal consequences it may have — and how best to defend yourself.