The title of this blog post says it all. If you are divorcing or ending any other relationship in which children are involved, you and your spouse or significant other will be tied together for the rest of your lives as parents. That means the actions you take in your divorce are going to stick with both of you and with your children.
I’ve had clients point out that they only need to interact with their spouse or significant other until their child or children turn 18 and are legally adults. I always correct that perception and point out that even after children are legally adults, children still need to interact with both of their parents and their parents still want to be involved in their children’s lives. There are graduations, weddings, births of grandchildren, holidays and numerous other occasions where you and your spouse or ex-spouse will need to interact. I think it’s important to keep that fact in mind while deciding how to handle your divorce and making the substantive financial and personal decisions during that divorce process.
If you want to provide a positive role model for your children to show them how adults can make difficult decisions with dignity and respect, take the time to carefully consider alternative dispute resolution methods such as the collaborative law process and mediation before starting your divorce action. Your children will see and hear how you and your spouse conduct yourselves during the divorce process and will learn from those observations how they should conduct their own relationships.
If you want to preserve a positive parenting relationship with your spouse or significant other after the end of your marriage or personal relationship, carefully consider alternatives to the litigation process. Traditional litigation puts parties in the role of adversaries, using their time, money and energy to show that their position is right and the other person’s position is wrong. This process does nothing to preserve a positive parenting relationship. If you and your spouse are able to work together through mediation or the collaborative law process to make the difficult decisions involved in ending your personal relationship, you will also be preserving that positive parenting relationship.
Remembering that you will still be parents after a divorce can be a powerful incentive to handle your divorce with respect and dignity. If you would like to discuss this topic or any other family law related topic with me, please feel free to contact me.