How many times have I heard a divorcing parent say, “I just want this to be over?”
Surprise! When two individuals divorce and there are children involved, it is never over.
The divorce process usually entails having the property valued and divided, the debts allocated between both parties, a custody plan is developed and support is established.
Soon after, you receive a document called a “Final Decree.”
However, in many cases, the family home has to be sold, making it necessary for the couple to continue to cooperate in order to obtain the most advantageous sale possible. While the couple waits for the home to be sold, they must make sure the property is maintained and the mortgage is paid. Lives change all the time, making it necessary to review and adjust the child custody plan from time to time. The support may need to be adjusted if one or both parent’s incomes change; what about the children’s needs changing?
In a divorce that involves children, the divorced parents must continue to keep one another informed of decisions they make regardless of how hard that may be. Often they must reach agreements before changes can be carried out, such as a change in residence or even a change in employment.
Don’t forget – every change you might make as a parent has an impact on the lives of your former spouse and your children. This requires ongoing interaction and communication with each other. If you cannot cooperate with your ex-spouse and decide to make changes without consenting him or her first, you can very well find yourself back in court litigating the aftermath of the unilateral change.
You still need to interact after your children have grown.
Did you forget about graduations, weddings, and births of grandchildren?
Just because you have a piece of paper called “Final Decree” doesn’t mean you and your former spouse will never see each other again. You need to realize that even though your divorce changed your relationship with your ex, it did not end it. Since you two have children together, you are connected to each other forever. Why not make it as peaceful as possible?
Keeping a Good Relationship
A bitter divorce or a vindictive parent relationship can have permanent, negative implications on a child’s social life. It’s been shown that children who experience unhappy situations during their growing-up years (like a divorce) find it harder to sustain social relations because it is difficult for them to maintain intimacy with others. Not only can they develop an inability to successfully build relationships can also result in less academic and professional success. Additionally, children who experience these types of situations early on in life are more likely to suffer from depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse.
Knowing this, many parents stay married for the sake of their children. However, this doesn’t sidestep the issue because an unhappy marriage can be just as destructive and damaging to your children as a divorce. The only way to address these issues is for parents to maintain a cordial or, at the very least, neutral working relationship, and to co-parent in a cooperative manner even after their marriage is dissolved.
Do you want to know the key to success after divorce? The answer is to avoid criticizing your former partner in front of your children. Don’t you think your children will notice when you constantly criticize their other parent? They aren’t stupid; they have ears and eyes. Even if your child is too young to make these connections right now, he or she will eventually. So, remember, when you badmouth your ex-spouse, you ultimately hurt your own credibility with your children.
Whether your divorce involved personal or financial betrayal, try to get past it. Although your divorce ended your marriage, it didn’t sever the connections you still have when it comes to your children. You gain nothing by holding on to your resentment and that resentment can very well poison your relationship with your children.
If you cannot control your hurtful feelings about your former spouse, try:
- Channeling your anger in a more positive direction, such as exercising, mediation, yoga, or housecleaning
- Avoiding face-to-face meetings – use the phone, texting, or e-mail to communicate whenever possible
- Not allowing your ex to provoke you
- To remember you share children
- Making a truce between you and your ex
If you have questions or concerns regarding divorce or any other family issue, please contact the family law offices of Holstrom, Block & Parke. We can help you move on to the next phase in your life. Schedule an appointment for you free initial confidential consultation, you can also visit us online and submit our contact form.