Divorce is never easy, but sometimes it is a necessary part of a changing relationship and changing life circumstances. When you take the right steps to prepare for divorce, a separation between you and your ex does not necessarily mean you must tear your family apart. At the end of the divorce proceedings, you and your family can be better for it and can move on.
We know that sounds easier said than done—which is why we’ve compiled these five pieces of divorce advice to help you and your kids navigate this stressful time and start fresh.
1. Be honest with your children.
If you haven’t yet told your children about the divorce, it is always best to sit them down as a couple and let them know. This will give your kids a chance to ask questions, process the news, and not feel blindsided by the separation.
Depending on your children’s age, they may not fully understand what a divorce means for your family, so be patient in answering their questions and do not make the conversation one-sided. Your kids need to know that both you and your ex are there for them no matter what.
2. Make a schedule with your ex.
One of the significant sources of stress during divorce procedures comes from not knowing logistically how time works in your new phase of life or what will become of any plans you had in the future before divorce proceedings began, especially holiday plans.
Especially during the holidays, it’s important to sit down with your ex and go over your future plans making sure you both feel that your needs are met, but also that your kids are still getting to have a joyful relationship with both sides of the family.
Children often feel like they have to pick sides in a divorce, but that doesn’t have to be true in your situation. Make sure your children understand that while it’s an adjustment, having a schedule will allow them to keep a relationship with both sides of the family moving forward.
3. Preserve your routine.
Whether the divorce was mutual, or there was more happening behind the scenes, you’ll likely feel depression and even grief around the circumstances of the divorce. This is normal, and while you need to allow yourself to grieve the loss of the relationship, it’s also important to make sure you don’t let it overwhelm the time you have with your kids.
Starting fresh doesn’t necessarily mean starting over from scratch. When dealing with loss and grief, sticking to an old and familiar routine helps stabilize your emotions. Whether these include particular traditions around holidays, birthdays, or other special times of the year, keeping up the routines you and your kids have to the best of your ability will preserve some normalcy for you and your children while you also make new memories.
4. Be careful with social media during and after divorce.
As far back as 2011, the news reported that 33% of divorce filings contained the word “Facebook”. While current data appears lacking, it would be hard to believe the numbers have gone down. Many people blame social media for causing divorce—in 2014, the Pew Research Center published a study entitled “Couples, the Internet, and Social Media” that illustrated the ways one’s behavior on platforms such as Facebook, including inappropriate extramarital conduct, can lead to divorce.
Your or your spouse’s behavior online can also influence divorce proceedings in unexpected or undesired ways. When you prepare for divorce, you need to be careful with how you use social media.
For example, take the issue of photographs. If you’re trying to make a case that you can’t afford alimony or you want to limit your child support payments, you may want to think again about sharing vacation pictures of exotic places with your new eye candy.
You might also want to reconsider posting items for sale that are actually marital property, or else you might open yourself up to problems when it comes to the division of marital assets.
While it’s tempting to share negative information about your spouse, consider refraining from doing so. This proves sage advice for people who share children. You don’t want to face accusations that you are attempting to poison your kids against your ex—the courts frown on parental alienation when it comes to custody decisions.
Instead of working through the details of your divorce on social media or public message boards, seek divorce advice from experienced family law attorneys and sit down with a therapist or counselor if necessary.
5. Seek legal advice from compassionate family law attorneys.
When you prepare for a divorce, you want to keep things as non confrontational as possible. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to eliminate confrontation or friction altogether, especially if the reasons for divorce are less than amicable. Especially around the holiday season, tensions can rise throughout the divorce procedure.
If you are facing issues with a custody schedule or any other matters surrounding the well-being of your children, you need to seek legal advice from family law experts who can bring compassion and understanding to your divorce proceedings.
MHPS helps divorcing couples through the process and after when necessary. We work with Nashville families to ensure that your divorce doesn’t prevent you and your ex from meeting the needs of your children and to help you all move forward in this next stage of your lives.
If you and your ex have decided to prepare for a divorce or have issues with your child custody in Charlotte, Brentwood, Franklin, and other communities across Davidson and Williamson Counties, we’re here for you.
Contact the Nashville family lawyers at MHPS now to schedule a consultation and seek the divorce advice you, your ex, and your children need to get through these turbulent times.