It’s April Fool’s Day! Here are 5 ways for families to move on after being redefined by divorce.
1. Follow the Order: This is particularly important if there are minor children involved. Required to pay child support? Pay it. Pay it in full. Pay it on time. If you have parenting time with your children, use it. If your ex has parenting time with your children, do not interfere with their time. If you have minor children with your ex spouse, your ex spouse is going to remain a part of your life for quite awhile. Make good on your promises.
2. Follow the Order: Yes, this is a repeat of #1. If there remains work to be done after the Order is entered, start working on that immediately. Refinancing a home loan can take time. Moving furnishings out of the marital home takes time. Taking your ex spouse’s name off of accounts takes time. The sooner these things are taken care of, the sooner you can begin to move on.
3. Get Counseling. If you have not already been to see a counselor, now is the time to do so. I have seen very few clients, even in the less stressful uncontested divorces, who did not wind up having to work through common feelings of loss and grief. There is no “cure all” or easy fix for these feelings, but working through them with a professional can be of great benefit and allow you to get back on track with life much quicker. Available resources abound. You won’t have to look far for help.
4. Be Flexible. This is, again, particularly important if you have minor children involved. Things happen. To everyone. So if your ex is running a few minutes late to pick up or drop off the children, be flexible. The same is true when dealing with property division post-divorce. At some point, you will likely need the same flexibility returned. Being flexible is not the same thing as allowing your ex to run afoul of the Final Order or Separation Agreement.
5. Be Respectful. This is true regardless of how bitter the divorce was. The divorce is now over. If you have minor children, again, your relationship is far from over. Instead of being husband and wife, you are now co-parents. Your ability to co-parent, including being respectful to one another, will tremendously benefit your children as they process and learn how the newly formed family unit is going to work. If the divorce process was hard on you, I guarantee it was hard on your children. Being disrespectful to or about your ex is not going to help your children recover from the emotional drain that was the divorce.