5 ways to handle a divorce cordially for the sake of your kids

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No divorce goes smoothly
No parent should try to trap their children in the emotional upheaval of a divorce. Photo: Shutter2u, Bigstock.

No divorce goes smoothly and it is often wrought with anger, frustration, hatred and every other negative emotion that comes along with the end of a relationship. Perhaps you feel a sense of betrayal for your partner’s infidelity or maybe you have both drifted apart and no longer see eye to eye. Several losses come with a divorce – homes, security, comfort, finances and much more. And the decision to separate can often be made harder when you have small kids. This guide aims to equip you with strategies to handle a divorce cordially for the sake of your kids. Always make sure you have a good lawyer by your side to facilitate a peaceful outcome.

Accept The Emotional Issues That Come With A Breakup

Divorce is an emotional time for most people, especially if you have both tried your best to save the marriage. It may be a good idea to seek a counsellor to help you accept the emotional baggage that comes with a breakup. You may encounter issues like:

  • Feeling of being replaced especially if your partner has found someone else soon after a breakup.
  • Feelings of betrayal, resentment and anger towards your ex.
  • Sense of emptiness and dread at what the future holds for you.
  • Worries about sharing your life with someone new.
  • Worries about how your kids will copy with the divorce.
  • Feelings of wanting to stay away from social gatherings in order to avoid explaining your life and situation to close friends and family.

A counsellor can help you better sort through your feelings, so that you are in a better position to remain objective when dealing with your and your partner’s lawyer in order to settle your issues as amicably as possible.

Be Reasonable About Your Expectations With Your Lawyer

While divorces are often stressful, it’s important to know what you want from the divorce, while remaining reasonable. While you probably want to take your ex to the cleaners for the divorce, you need to consider how this will impact your children. Discuss your expectations from the legal process with your lawyer, but try to be rational – even if it seems hard at the moment. Consider the following:

  • Be aware of your rights – talk to your lawyer about yours and your children rights in the legal process, so that you can rationally ask for what you are entitled to without encountering too much resistance. Knowledge will help you stay calm.
  • Work closely with your lawyer to come up with a settlement plan – identify a reasonable settlement plan with your lawyer by sitting through what you can and cannot claim. Find a lawyer that will help you come to an amicable settlement, especially because you have kids involved.
  • Consider a mutual discussion with your ex – a good way to settle a divorce is to sit across the table from your ex and to discuss settlement in a calm and reasonable manner without getting sucked into an all-out war. Have your lawyer present to ensure that proceedings don’t get out of hand.

Talk to your lawyer about what you want out of the divorce, and find a way to make it work so that your children are least hurt in the process.

Address The New Arrangement With Your Children

It’s important to address the new arrangement, which will affect your children. No parent should try to trap their children in the emotional upheaval of a divorce, so try to come up with a plan that is in the best interests of your kids, even if it isn’t what you necessarily want. Remember, your kids always come first, even during a painful divorce. Consider the following:

  • Who will have primary custody of the kids, and why?
  • How can visiting rights be organised for the other parent?
  • How can you share parenting responsibilities with your ex?
  • How do your kids spend their school holidays?
  • Who does your kids spend festive seasons with?
  • How can you break the news to your kids to ensure they remain unaffected?
  • Can you establish custody arrangements without the need for a mediator?
  • Are you prepared to trial a few different systems before coming up with something that works for everyone involved?
  • What do your children want from both parents? Do they prefer to live with one for any particular reason?
  • Which parent is able to give more time to the kids to ensure they remain emotionally stable in their new living situation?

Children must always be protected from the bitterness and conflict of a divorce. Both you and your ex should be prepared to share responsibilities for your children. You should continue to interact with each other when it comes to your children’s lives, as a way to protect them from the pain of the separation.