When getting divorced it can be hard to know who to trust. Friends and family members will all be giving you their two cents about what you should and shouldn’t do. You might even be getting input from your kids or soon to be ex. What kinds of suggestions are helpful, and what is just plain bad advice? Here are some of the most common examples of bad divorce-related advice that you should stay away from:
- You should stay together for the kids – In terms of doing what’s best for your children, staying together is just about the worst thing you can do if there is serious trouble in the home. Children thrive in environments filled with love, peace, and stability, and if you can’t offer that while staying married, you’re doing your children a disservice. Instead, aim for an amicable divorce and the goal of maintaining a civil relationship with your ex. While your kids might now live in two separate homes, they will be happy homes.
- You should file for sole custody – Often times this advice comes from family and friends who are upset about the divorce and blame it on your spouse. The thought is that the divorce is your spouse’s fault and so they should be punished by not getting to see their kids. It’s critical that children have both parents involved in their upbringing, unless one of them is truly unsafe. Working toward a fair custody schedule that meets everyone’s needs is ultimately the best approach.
- Encouraging your children to keep things from the other parent – An ideal post-divorce situation would be one in which both parents still get along and the children feel happy, supported, and well-adjusted. If you encourage your kids to keep information from their other parent, like a new relationship you just began or possible issues at school, you are teaching your children to devalue your ex. Not only are you setting a bad example for them, but you are also driving a wedge between yourself and the parent of your children.
- Don’t ever get remarried – This is a popular piece of advice that disgruntled friends might tell you. They may have gone through their own divorce with disastrous results, or they could be trying to protect you from having to go through heartache again. The reality is that making such a permanent decision during or just after a major life change isn’t usually the smartest way to go. If you intend on never marrying again, you might be robbing yourself and your kids of true happiness later on in life.
- Create boundaries by immediately not letting your ex to your house – In theory, setting boundaries between you and your ex is a smart idea. Your relationship has dramatically changed now that you are divorced, so it might be wise to create some limitations in certain areas. In this area, though, it is often wiser to adopt a “wait and see” approach. Your children are learning how to live in two homes, so it’s to be expected that they may discover they forgot something and want to run back in. Also, your ex has a right to be aware of their child’s living situation at your home, just as you do at theirs. Absent a danger to you or ongoing issues where law enforcement is involved because you can’t both act like adults, allowing the exchange at the house is the smoothest transition for kids. Placing such a harsh restriction usually comes out of anger and doesn’t take time to include the needs of other members of the family.
If you are going through a divorce and want to make sure you do the right thing for your children, please contact Hollwarth Law today at (903) 234-0711. Our goal is to develop a plan that meets the needs of everyone in the family and can help you move forward with the best possible outcome.