The key to managing a high conflict ex is to keep a low profile. Do not give him ammunition to shoot you down. He is looking for a way to punish you for leaving him, and he is attempting to control you from afar. He is the puppeteer pulling your strings.
Keeping a low profile and watch what you say. Your ex just has to hear rumors and then he may try to slap you with a slander suit. If he suspects that you are telling tales (even absolutely true ones), then he may drag you into court for jeopardizing his reputation. Best to keep your mouth closed regarding his foibles to avoid these troubles down the road. Be careful whom you confide in and about what, particularly if they have a link to mutual friends of your ex.
I had to cut ties with a long-time friend and an acquaintance because they also insisted upon staying close to my ex. They passed along my personal information to him from what I thought were private conversations. He filed for a court hearing regarding this issue, however my attorney was able to quash (cancel) it. Beware.
Stay under his radar. Resist the temptation to check his Facebook account. Do not succumb to posting any details of your divorce or about the devil’s spawn himself, on any social site. This includes photos of a girls’ night out, drinks in hand. I did not even put any juicy tidbits in e-mails, except to my attorney. A high conflict ex is looking for drama, so keep your head down and do not make any waves.
Avoid any direct communication if possible. In our Parenting Plan, the custody evaluator had a mediator appointed to handle all of our communication. This set up is a Godsend, because then you avoid being accused of not informing him of events, trips with kids, or any changes.
My attorney handled any legal communications, such as no alimony payment. The less you have to deal with a high conflict ex, the easier your life will be. My sons used the mediator as an intermediary to deal with their concerns regarding visitation. Having a third party to go through for communication between exes, takes the emotion out of the picture. If you are already divorced, see if this is feasible in your situation.
Expect that co-parenting will be a challenge with a high conflict ex. There are online sites which have a calendar that both parents can assess. Parents put in events, sport tournaments, and anything else, so that they do not have to communicate directly about the kids. Have the drop offs and pick-ups in a neutral location. The less the ex-spouses have to see each other and interact, the better it is. Alert teachers that you want separate parent/teacher conferences. They are used to this request.
Anticipate putting out fires in unexpected places. There are all sorts of surprises that a high conflict ex may throw at you and your attorney may be on speed dial. Your ex may go as far as contacing Children’s Protective Services with bogus charges of neglect or abuse. CPS is required to check out any allegations, so it helps to be the best parent you can be to your children.
He may go to one of your family members and pretend to be concerned about how you are doing because the kids seem depressed/sick/unhappy. I have witnessed parents from high conflict divorces in the public schools, try to get school personnel on their sides.
He will use your children as pawns. In high conflict divorces, children will be affected to some extent, from the fall out. You may want to consider having them see a divorce coach for kids, or a therapist to help them sort out any problems or concerns. The motto with a high conflict ex is “Be prepared.” Fly under the ex’s radar and rejoice when he remarries and has less interest in revenge.