- If possible draw up your own separation agreement before you see an attorney, and attend mediation if you are experiencing difficulty creating an agreement. Remember lawyers are not relationship counselors.
- Organize your divorce so that both of YOU can continue to be parents to your children–EVERYONE deserves that.
- Keep the communication channels open between you and your co-parent. IF things are really tense, treat the situation like a business relationship, make a real effort not to demonize him or her. In a divorce most of the time both parents are hurting and often act out in a way that is strange or destructive because he/she is frightened of losing everything. In terms of behavior remember we get what we put out…if you are petty and uncompromising, that is what you will get back.
- It is time to detach from one another. Learning how to do this can be very difficult, however it can be very beneficial in the long run. The fact is you are no longer married, therefore the relationship is different. You need to forget that you were once were a couple. Your new relationship is now as co-parents. Many individuals continue to fight the same fight after the divorce. The destruction that occurred when you were married and during your divorce needs to be put behind you, and everyone must learn to move forward.
- Seek assistance from a Parenting Coordinator, these professionals are trained to understand and acknowledge what parents are experiencing through and after a divorce. A Parenting Coordinator can be a great asset to help parents work through the difficulties of establishing a new co-parenting relationship through the eyes of a child.
- Keep things amicable and don’t be afraid of letting your children know that you are upset, as long as it is appropriately conveyed. You do not want your children to be traumatized by your distress, but you also do not want them to grow up thinking it is wrong to show their emotions, or that you do not care.
- Make as much time for your children as you can, to make sure they feel loved and so you can pick up on any concerns they have. Too many parents reduce the time they spend with their children after a divorce. Most professionals agree this can immediately cause huge problems. Parents often make assumptions about what is upsetting their children about their divorce and get it very wrong.
- Treat everyone (and I mean EVERYONE in your CHILD’s family-friends and relatives) with consideration and respect, no matter how much you dislike them. Remember that your child almost certainly loves your former spouse, and feels a strong sense of loyalty to him or her (WHATEVER crime you think he/she has committed against you or your family). Never be rude about your former spouse in front of them, however if this has happened or does, immediately you apologize to them right away.