Parents’ separation and divorce will often have a seismic impact upon the family. They need to navigate parenting plans, adjust to living with divided assets, and other new arrangements. Parents will actually need to work harder at communicating, jointly making decisions on matters large and small, and coordinating the countless tasks involved in running a family. There are also adjustments that involve living alone or operating as a single parent.
Avoid this type of behavior
Whether it is a carryover from a dysfunctional marriage or difficulty adjusting to the new reality, parents can work to avoid counterproductive behavior, including:
- Negative comments: Regardless of how the marriage ended, parents who speak negatively about a former spouse, or overshare unflattering details about the spouse, can leave the children feeling alienated.
- Restricting others’ access: They may have strong emotional ties to grandparents, family or friends associated with the spouse. These relationships can provide stability and support during the transition.
- Communicating through children: Children are unreliable messengers, nor should they be tasked with conveying stressful messages. Parents should have a private medium where they can constructively communicate necessary information. They can use specially designed apps, texts, emails, or face-to-face conversations.
- Not setting expectations and limits on the kids: There may be an inclination to let things slide during the transition. While parents should be patient as kids act out or test boundaries, laying agreed-upon ground rules can provide stability.
- Not detaching: This can draw out the split or continue the behavior that led to the divorce. It is best to focus on the kids and not rely upon each other for emotional support.
- Not following the plan: It can be hard to follow a schedule while balancing work or other demands, but being unreliable can lead to emotional and legal consequences.
Good divorce agreements avoid this
Dividing assets and determining support are essential, but parenting plans, visitation, and custody can also help outline the coparent partnership as the family moves forward. Attorneys can work with families to construct a working parenting agreement that is legally binding. They can also draft modifications as the needs of the family change.