For some couples, they know their
divorce is going to get ugly. But that’s not everybody. For others, the
breakup is a sad, grief-filled event filled with genuine loss and lots
of good memories. If this is how you feel and if you are two people who
simply aren’t meant to be married anymore but are trying to treat
each other decently, here are 6 tips for achieving a great divorce:
1. Keep a healthy distance at first.
It’s normal for your emotions to go through different cycles, but
you need to keep a safe distance from each other as you conduct the business
of divorce. Set healthy boundaries that will help you develop a co-parenting
partnership and see if over time, you become friends. But don’t
jump into a friendship too soon.
2. Put agreements in writing.
No matter how friendly you are, it’s still important to get all
agreements in writing so nobody forgets or decides to act out, especially
when it comes to property division and parenting. For example, if you’re
going to be the custodial parent and you’re okay with your ex visiting
the children during non-visiting times, be sure to put this flexible arrangement
in writing so there are no misunderstandings.
3. Don’t fall into old patterns.
A benefit of the divorce is you no longer need to be your ex’s sounding
board. You are not obligated to listen to them complain about their work,
family, insecurities, and new relationships. But it goes both ways. Resist
the urge to
seek comfort in your ex’s arms. You are both released so let it be and seek support elsewhere.
4. Embrace the transformation ahead.
If you have kids together, it’s okay to let your relationship transform
into a strong parenting relationship, but it could take some time. Don’t
be concerned if your spouse withdraws or remains silent in the beginning
because he or she is having a hard time. If they are wisely building new
boundaries to protect your relationship, this could make you feel lousy
but it’s a smart way to move on to the next chapter in a healthy manner.
5. Plan family gatherings.
If this is practical, plan family gatherings where you all get together.
This could mean heading to the park, going out to dinner, or seeing a
movie. The idea is to show the kids that you still care about each other.
Even though they’re going to want you to get back together, family
outings can help them see that they have two parents who love them and
despite the divorce, that’s never going to change.
6. Hold off on introducing new people.
If adultery was involved, you may not be able to take any of this advice
because someone made a big mistake and someone feels bitter and deeply
betrayed. If cheating is not a factor, but someone else becomes involved
early on, do NOT introduce them to the kids for some time. It’s
better to wait. Even if the kids are teenagers, it can still be very upsetting
for them to meet mom or dad’s new boyfriend or girlfriend when emotions
are still raw.
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