Divorce is a time of great upheaval for the entire family. However, negotiating custody and parenting plans, the division of assets and other agreements can provide a new foundation for making important decisions regarding the children, financial responsibility and other essential issues that change. A knowledgeable attorney can help protect the parent’s interests, but the soon-to-be-ex needs to also focus on making sure the transition is a smooth one.
Do not fall into these bad habits
The adjustment may not be easy, and there may be a lot of anger or fragility, but it pays to set a constructive new tone. Avoiding these mistakes can help achieve this goal:
- Going negative: Regardless of how the marriage ended, it is best not to share the details with the children, family or even online. Negative comments or ugly details often make the messenger look bad and strain the ongoing necessity of coparenting.
- Making the kids choose: Keeping the children away from family and friends associated with the other spouse is a mistake – they will need their support group to help them through the transition.
- Not detaching from them: Time can heal wounds, but divorces happen for a reason. Those looking for a fresh start need to categorize their ex as a business partner to raise the children. Look elsewhere for emotional support.
- Talking through your children: The words “You can tell your mother/father” should be avoided at all costs. At worst, it puts them in the middle of a hostile situation. At best, the kids are unreliable messengers. Parents should have an established open line of communication for sharing information.
- Not setting ground rules for the children: Kids will likely act out and test the new boundaries of the two-home arrangement, so parents will need to be patient. They should set rules and expectations to provide clarity while remaining flexible as the family establishes new routines.
Making changes as needed
The transition will take some time, and even the most comprehensive divorce agreement cannot foresee all potential issues. Arrangements may even need to be legally modified as the children’s and parent’s needs change, or something is not working as planned. An attorney can help make these changes, particularly if the solution is not clear.