Divorcing a spouse is never easy. The collaborative process can be a better choice for many couples. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that you both need to work together after divorce, especially if you have kids.
The collaborative process puts a strong focus on communication. Divorcing couples must face difficult conversations in a non-adversarial way. In a collaborative divorce, couples work towards a better outcome for all.
Here’s what you should know about the conversations that must take place after divorce:
Co-Parenting Plans After Divorce
Divorcing parents need to talk about ways to co-parent. Create a parenting plan upon which you both can agree. Your co-parenting plan should be one you can stick with long-term, and include graduated changes and reviews for young children whose developmental needs will change.
Co-parenting plans should include similar boundaries for each parent’s household. While rules don’t have to be exact matches, they should present a united front as parents. Set a schedule and create a sense of consistency for your children. Setting consistent meal and homework routines and expectations and similar bedtimes may help kids better adjust their new living situation.
Natural feelings of anger and hurt can impact your environment and future. These emotions shouldn’t dictate your behavior during or after the divorce. Set aside anger and hurt to talk honestly with each other and members of your support system. Kids need to see that you are strong and capable so they know things will be alright.
Keep Your Children Informed
Many parents wonder how and when they should tell their children about their divorce. Three of the most common questions parents ask are:
- Should one or both parents tell the children?
- Do we need to have a separate conversation with each child?
- Should we tell them before or after we file?
Above all, let the kids know that the marriage ending isn’t their fault. Kids need this reassurance before, during and after divorce. Encourage them to be open about their feelings.
Consider telling everyone at the same time. Avoid shielding younger children from the situation while telling older children. In some cases, hiding the truth makes the older kids feel added responsibility.
Set aside a time where everyone, you and your spouse together, can gather in a calm environment with no distractions. Work as a united front to explain the divorce in age-appropriate terms.
Each child is different. Emotions may include confusion, anger, frustration, hurt, sadness and more depending on their developmental age. Observe your children’s reactions and offer support.
Ending the marriage doesn’t mean you and your ex-partner don’t have to communicate anymore. After the marriage ends, continue to communicate with each other as well as with your kids. Though this may feel hard, it’s essential to find a common ground that allows you to co-parent well.
Avoid giving your children messages for your ex. Likewise, refrain from speaking negatively about your former spouse with your children. This can make them think they have to choose between one parent or another. It also causes resentment and stressful loyalty conflicts in children.
Collaborative Divorce Professionals
Communicating is an important part of the collaborative divorce process in Arizona. You’ll develop the tools to better communicate with your ex-spouse going forward. Talking respectfully can help you achieve a better outcome compared to traditional divorce.
To learn more about collaborative divorce and why it may be right for you, contact a professional at Best Legal Choices today.
Heidi has been a family counselor for 16 years and has worked primarily with separating/divorcing and high conflict families for the past 4 years. Heidi’s goal is to help families reduce the need for future litigation, build resilience and healing, and help families focus on the best interests of the children and parents alike.