The top 10 don’ts of divorce and separation.
With divorce rates higher than ever there’s a good chance that you, or someone you know, is making the transition from wife to the single life. Divorce is one thing, but divorce with children involved is a whole new level.
The result is a rollercoaster of emotions, with guilt, stress and sadness leading the way.
The good news is that by making the right decisions you can minimise the negatives and turn your divorce into the start of a positive new journey for you and your children.
Make your journey to Destination Divorce as smooth and stress-free as it can be with our list of top 10 don’ts of divorce and separation.
THE TOP 10 DON’T OF DIVORCE
1. Don’t take your friend’s legal advice
Make sure your divorce is handled properly by seeking professional advice from a reputable source. Well-meaning friends or your great Aunt Margot who’s astonished you’re even considering divorce, aren’t able to offer you the quality advice a professional can. Professionals will help you navigate your options, tell you what’s required and secure a fair settlement for you and your children. Remember, the first step is not necessarily a law firm. Try mediation or a separation specialist for a less aggressive pathway.
2. Don’t refuse communication
Children need to see that even though you don’t live under the same roof, both you and your partner are still in this parenting gig together. To make a success of the ‘living between two houses‘ thing, communication is key. Doing this is a civilised manner will help your children feel loved and safe. Keep the conversation focused on your children and at the first sign of a disagreement, reschedule the conversation for a time when you’re both feeling more level-headed. If things get bad, booking mediation can have a great outcome for your kids. It will resolve issues quickly and calmly with a third party .. so you can continue being the best parents you can be.
3. Don’t forget the good times
In the midst of the hard times it is difficult to remember why you got together with your ex. Gone are the days when you hung on his every word (now you feel like metaphorically hanging yourself on them). However, by choosing to remain positive about your past, you’ll be laying a foundation of healthy memories you can share and enjoy with your children. This will help them feel more connected and emotionally secure.
4. Don’t give your children too much information
Divorce can be confusing at the best of times. Often for children this confusion can lead to feelings of fear and insecurity. Asking children how they’re feeling and openly discussing issues that might arise is a healthy way for them to feel valued. However, discussing intimate issues about the divorce could result in the opposite and leave your children feeling like they have to choose a side.
The top 10 don’ts of divorce and separation (cont.)
5. Don’t isolate yourself
By this, I don’t mean go and relive your 20’s by clubbing every night (the first week doesn’t count). Rather, make sure you have a solid support system to turn to instead of falling into the trap of leaning on your kids for emotional support. Don’t get lonely. Chat to other single mums on the Single Mum Vine private Facebook group. Now is the perfect opportunity to reinvent yourself and surround yourself with positive people.
6. Don’t underestimate the role played by social media
75% of family court cases now use social media as a form of evidence. For this reason, it’s important not to assume that you can remove any of your social media histories without potential legal consequences if you or your partner has filed for divorce. Our advice is to STOP before you post that Facebook rant, and stick to the funny cat vines instead.
7. Don’t hold onto bitter feelings
Divorce with children can seem all-consuming. Changing your perception is the most powerful thing you can do to alter your outlook on life. Take those bitter feelings and feel grateful that you’re done with them. Sure, you can feel anger and frustration for a bit, but don’t let it define you. You’re so much better than that. Learn to be a more content and happy single mama.
8. Don’t forget time for yourself
Enjoy yourself! Find hobbies and activities that make you happy, engage in them and get to know yourself again. I once had a girlfriend whose love of pole dancing resulted in a massive confidence boost and the loss of 20kg. I might not be able to touch my toes to save my life, but during my monthly ‘me time’ my masseuse, Lorenzo, tells me I look lovely which makes me feel 20kg lighter.
The top 10 don’ts of divorce and separation (cont.)
9. Don’t rush into a new relationship
After getting to know yourself again and taking the time to discover what you really want in life, you might find yourself ready to commit to a new relationship. As tempting as it is to disregard the language barrier with Lorenzo, it’s probably for the best. Blended families can provide a lot of fantastic support but many children struggle with being forced into them before they’re ready.
10. Don’t judge yourself
The final point on our list of don’ts of divorce is: Don’t judge yourself! If you need to turn off your phone, sit on the couch with ice cream and watch re-runs of Friends for a few days then that’s perfectly okay. In fact, the biggest positive of divorce is that you’re now free to do whatever you want. Remember that you’re amazing and doing your best to get through this in one piece; love yourself for it.