Divorce Attorneys Advice for an Amicable Relationship with Your Ex
In this article Oakland County divorce attorney Starla Zehr shares her insights on getting divorced without hating your ex or tearing your family apart.
Staying close to an ex, physically and emotionally, might not work for everyone — and even the most amicable of divorced spouses acknowledges that at times it is difficult. But it has advantages, such as the children can easily alternate between parents’ homes.
People often think a divorce means the parents don’t trust each other. But that means your child is at someone else’s house and you’re not part of it, and I think it’s alienating and scary. So parents are advised to devise another more amicable divorce model that works for them.
Divorce can still involve compassion. As Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos prepare for their own split, in their divorce announcement, one phrase stuck out: After a period of “loving exploration and trial separation,” the couple decided to split. The use of the word “loving” in a divorce announcement seems like an attempt to find compassion in the separation process.
Every relationship is different, of course. But whether the details of your relationship are played out in the media or the carpool line, here are six principles to keep in mind.
Attorneys Tips to Remain Amicable with Your Ex after Divorce
The people we marry are not the people we divorce, because people change, often grow at the same pace. During a divorce, it helps to acknowledge that. Even if a couple is “no longer intact, they can still have an opportunity to focus on the things that count,” she adds, such as respecting each other and keeping things stable for their children.
- Do not expect to get emotional closure. People go into divorce hoping they’ll get some emotional justice, but that rarely happens through legal proceedings. Divorce is a process of transition; it’s going to create upheaval in us. So it’s important to be able to regulate your emotions and understand your triggers. Allowing anger, grief, betrayal and sadness to distract from the business of divorce can prolong the process, costing you more emotionally and financially.
- Get the kid stuff settled, and then delve into the financial decisions. Oakland County divorce attorney Starla Zehr advises resolving children-related issues — such as legal and physical custody — as quickly as possible. If both parents know when they’re going to see their kids and that they’re going to have a voice in their lives, it makes the money issues easier to deal with, she says.
- Avoid going to court. Settling a divorce between both sides’ lawyers — what’s called an “amicable divorce” — costs a lot less than litigation. And it can be more personalized. Settling might involve bringing in neutral appraisers to assess the value of property and businesses before coming up with a fair way to divide assets. Keep in mind: what’s “fair” isn’t always 50-50!If both parties and their lawyers are having trouble coming to an agreement on their own, there are two options to avoid litigation: mediation or arbitration. Both involve a neutral third party. A mediator, can help both spouses and their lawyers come to a decision but can’t render a decision themselves. Arbitration, by contrast, is a court proceeding (although not in a courtroom), and the arbitrator can make decisions for the divorcing couple.
- Resist the urge to speak ill of your ex in front of your children. Perhaps stop calling them your “ex” in front of the children, he’s not their “ex-father.” Make an effort to refer to them as “your dad” or “your mom”.
- Don’t let others influence your opinion of your ex — or your situation. Base your relationship on your knowledge of this person,” she notes, not someone else’s. The stigma of a ‘broken home’ is largely gone in our society. What happens now is the children have two homes, and they’re still a family. This may mean celebrating holidays and the children’s birthdays together, and showing up to the kids’ plays or baseball games.
The problems you have always had with your ex-spouse won’t magically disappear — but you can have a more objective view of some of the differences that made it difficult to be married. Which means you can have more empathy for things that used to drive you crazy.
Oakland County Divorce Attorney
By keeping things amicable with your ex you will find that the rewards of your children’s healthy development make it all worthwhile. And, an amicable relationship with your ex also helps you positively form the new life that lies ahead of you. Remember that you have unlimited possibilities ahead of you, and that is a reason for hope!
Of course, there will inevitably be challenges ahead in terms of finances, co-parenting, and emotional recovery. But taking positive steps forward will point you in the right direction to realize the future you want to create for yourself.