After 10 years of marriage, it’s finally ending. Your spouse asked for a divorce. The last year has been pretty rocky, so you’re actually happy to move on from the relationship.
That said, you and your spouse aren’t on great terms. The last thing you feel like doing is working with him or her. You don’t want to cooperate. You want the freedom to do whatever you want. Isn’t that what divorce is all about?
If you have kids, it’s not. Perhaps you and your spouse have an 8-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter. When kids are involved, divorce is all about them. Parents should strive to work together to make sure the children’s lives are as easy and stress-free as possible.
This may mean cooperating with your soon-to-be ex. It may mean getting along, or at least gritting your teeth and forcing yourselves not to fight. Below are a few tips that can help during this process.
- Put the kids’ best interests first. Always think about what they need and how each decision impacts them. With the right mindset, you can forget about the differences between you and your spouse and help the children at every turn.
- Don’t think of you and your ex as adversaries. You’re not trying to fight or win. You’re trying to work together, while protecting your own rights, to give the children a great life.
- Think about your children’s desires. For instance, does who gets custody determine how close your kids live to their friends?
- Think about the children’s schedules and lives. Where do they go to school? What does the divorce mean for the stable life they’re used to, and how can you help maintain that?
- Don’t trash your spouse to try to win custody. Bring up valid concerns if you have them, but this isn’t the time to insult one another.
- Remember that kids sometimes feel abandoned by divorce. Work hard to find a solution that keeps both parents involved so they never feel this way.
- Remember that your ex loves the kids and they love him or her. Focusing on their relationship and how much it means takes the focus off of yourself. This often helps you make better choices that aren’t based on your own emotions.
- Don’t forget that children may want to have a say in this. Talk to them. Some courts will even ask them if they have a preference, especially with older kids. Include them when appropriate.
As you can see, much of this is geared around your mindset. People often think of divorce as a bitter fight they have to win, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t forget your legal rights, but make sure you consider the options that put your kids first.