How to Handle Your Emotions While your Divorce Lawyer Handles the Legalities
There are many things your
divorce lawyer can do for you and some he cannot. We cannot help you keep your emotions
in check dealing with the changes you are making. People going through
divorce have strong emotions and sometimes make rash judgments. In the
case of dividing custody of your children, though, it is important to
try to get beyond animosities and grief to do what is best for the kids.
In the past, judges generally awarded custody of the children of divorce
to the mother. In cases of very small children they still do, because
some studies show little children do better with their mothers. In the
case of older children, though, judges are awarding shared custody. That
doesn't necessarily mean the time children spend with each parent
will be equal, but it does mean the court expects parents to work as a
team sharing rights, responsibilities and financial liabilities. This
is important, especially if you are a father. Your children need both
their parents but it is easier for parents who do not have primary, or
residential, custody to slip out of the picture.
If you are a parent who is trying to figure out what co-parenting involves,
you may need some help in understanding your part. First, make sure you
know what your court documents say. Then, following them as closely as
possible, realize that you are making a new beginning. No longer is incompatibility
or infidelity the prime issue; your relationship with your ex-spouse is
now all about the wellbeing of your children. You may be responsible to
keep up your child's health insurance, to pay half of all educational
expenses or to contribute financially in other areas. Remember that the
agreement is not about giving money to your ex, but about supporting your
children just as you would if the marriage had remained intact.
Keep your feelings and your behavior separate. After a frustrating phone
conversation with your ex-spouse you may be angry. Figure out how to channel
that anger and do not vent to your children.
Never use your children as messengers. Communication is vital to co-parenting.
Set up a consistent schedule for phone calls between you and your ex and
talk about the children and their issues only.
Never begin a conversation with, "You need to..." or "I
want you to...." Instead say, "Can we try..."
Become an active listener. Don't interrupt, and take notes if you have
to. Be aware of the way your ex-spouse is phrasing things and try not
to jump to conclusions.
Co-parenting is easier with rules that both parents can accept. To make
sure the court addresses your abilities and desires in the parenting order,
you should have legal representation. Experienced divorce lawyers can
anticipate trouble that might surface in a few months or a few years and
make sure the decree provides for such issues. They can also mediate and
ensure that the court considers your ability to financially support your children.
If you are divorcing and want to make sure the court considers your children's
and your best interests in parenting time and responsibility, contact.
This is an emotional time; let us be your voice of reason.