6 Tips for Smooth Divorce
Divorce doesn't have to be ugly. Sure enough, splitting up is a grief-filled experience, full of genuine loss but the "process" itself can be managed so that both parties -- and especially kids -- are happy at the end. Here are few great ways to protect and insulate your fragile peace:
1. Go slow
Distance yourself, set the rules and boundaries that will allow you to move into a parenting partnership. At the same time, see if there's room for a friendship emerging from a broken marriage.
2. Get a mediator instead of lawyer
Or take best of both worlds - find a mediator who is also a lawyer. Mediators can save you a ton of money while making sure you keep some sort of relationship with your former spouse. Lawyers, on the other hand, can cost you both the money and relationship.
3. Create a parenting plan that speaks to your children
It is said that parenting plans which start with "To John and Monica" are more likely to focus on your kids' best interests. Moreover, if they're old enough and can understand what's written, share the plan with them and ask for feedback. This should be a team effort made by both parents.
4. Write it down
This will make it look like a contract but that's the point. It's much more than remembering to do something with kids. Both parties should commit to work (and commit their financial resources) for the benefits of the children. Moreover, discuss (and put it in writing) what happens when a problem occurs. Creating a form of a procedure sounds daunting but will help you in the long haul. Outline clear and effective consequences - what happens if one person doesn't abide by the agreement or doesn't follow through.
5. Transform your relationship
Not everyone is happy to see the other person after divorce, but if kids are involved - it's inevitable. With that in mind, see if you can somehow get together every now and then. However, it's important to forget the old habits now that you're no longer husband and wife. Again - go slow! And if everything goes right, you will eventually get together as a newly-reconfigured family. Do it for the sake of kids who need to know that they still have two parents who love them.
6. No new people
In case there are third parties involved, you'll have to go even slower because somebody is enraged, betrayed and deeply wounded. If, however, others come enter the scene early on, DO NOT involve them with the kids. The focus should be on the family or origin.