Actually Some Very Good Advice for Divorcing Parents
October 14, 2013
Here's my advice:
1. Separate your kids when telling them about the divorce. This was my smartest moment. We had been so careful about what language to use, but we never thought about whether or not to tell them together. I texted my therapist the night before, asking, "Shouldn't we tell our kids separately so they can each have their own reaction?" I didn't want one of my son's reactions defined by his brothers reaction. My therapist said no one had ever asked this before; I'm glad I thought of it. My kids were able to initially react however they wanted without being influenced by the other, and their lives won't be defined by someone else's behavior.
2. There are no rules. Don't follow textbooks and online research. Do what works for you. There are so many places to go for information but no one knows you and your situation. Should you split the time with the kids evenly? Should the kids see the other parent on their "off" time? Do what works for you. Isn't the best scenario for your kids the scenario that keeps them and both parents happy?
3. Be friends with your ex even if you have a fight or a bad day. Take a break if you need it, but remain friends with your ex. Last week my son said, "I'm so lucky, my parents are best friends". And he's right. He is lucky. And we are friends. It doesn't mean we don't have moments of anger or days filled with rage, but if you truly are interested in doing what's best for the kids, being friends is the way to go.
4. Try not to be angry. You will go through a roller coaster of emotions. One moment you could feel happy and relieved, the next angry or sad. These emotions are all part of the equation, but your kids will feel your anger. Your ex will feel your anger. No matter what happened, no matter why it is ending, leave the anger in the marriage and out of the divorce.
5. Don't use divorce lawyers until you are ready to finalize an agreement or specifically lay the ground rules for what the lawyer is to do. You will need a consultation to learn the law and to learn your rights but only you know what is in your best interest; no lawyer can possibly know that. I know that this may sound crazy. Sometimes, lawyers are not looking out for your best interest. They don't know your situation. Many people I know rave about their mediators. Try to work through the divorce in a way that works for you without lawyers deciding what is best for you.
If you are considering Divorce, please call our office and speak with one of our experienced Divorce Attorneys. There is no cost or obligation for the call. Our Attorneys will listen to your situation, discuss your options, and map out a plan of action with you. Call (888) 725-0004.