May 22, 2016

Life after divorce is a difficult time for all involved

Life after divorce means a new set of rules for you and your partner.

The emotional churning you are subjected to during divorce and property settlement can be hell. But consider how challenging all of this can be for your kids.

Most don’t understand what’s happened to you or them. You’re asking your children to make difficult choices or even forcing change on them – changes over which they have little or no control.

Suddenly, you and the kids are out of the family home and the kids are splitting their time between you and your partner. Life after divorce means different houses, different rules, different expectations – no wonder there is confusion!

The decisions you make now may well have long-term repercussions. How do you make the right choices about divorce, property and kids?

Here are some time-tested life after divorce rules:

Rule 1 – Avoid conflict with your partner at all costs. Your children want and deserve both parents in their lives. If your kids are young, it’s best that they stay with the parent most able to provide day to day care. The first unwritten life after divorce rule is that you must cause as little disruption to your kid’s lives as possible.

Rule 2 – older kids will be much savvier to your situation. They know that things haven’t been right for a while. Perhaps other friends have had parents who have been through a divorce. The second unspoken rule of divorce and kids is ‘inclusion’. Listen carefully to the wishes of your kids and, where possible, include them in discussions regarding issues that will affect them before making decisions. Contact with friends and involvement in either social activities or sports will influence their happiness, so do your best to maintain the status quo where possible.

Rule 3 – always plan holiday time and birthdays well in advance. These tend to be emotionally charged events. You must be rational, logical and never lose your sense of fairness. The third rule of life after divorce is ‘agree on visitation arrangements early’. Conflict occurs most frequently when decisions are left until, or changed at, the last minute. Explain the options to your kids – always ensure that important dates are shared. Always try to be accommodating, but never submissive.

The time you share with your kids is precious and will be over before you realise it. You should aim for the balance between your needs, your children’s needs, the needs of your partner, and the rights of everyone involved. You should always seek to minimise stress and angst and find common ground.

Life after divorce is different. You need to accept the changes and adapt your lifestyle to suit every member of your family. Knowing your legal obligations and responsibilities will help make this transition easier.