When a relationship ends, especially one that has lasted for years with children, it is easy to devolve into contentious divorce litigation. However, this is a mistake to avoid. The goal, at the outset, should be to make the divorce process as amicable as humanly possible, if not for the soon-to-be ex-spouses, at least, for the children involved.
Best interests of the children
For children, the divorce process can be traumatic with lifelong consequences for those children involved in long, draw-out divorce battles, especially where the parents use them as pawns in a divorce chess game. This is why, with every decision that involves the children, both parents should think about what is in the best interests of the children. This means that, unless there is abuse, the goal should be joint custody with an ongoing co-parenting relationship. This may also mean keeping the family home, and switching out parental occupants according to the parenting plan, or some other creative divorce solution.
Keeping contentious feelings at bay
Another way to ensure that the divorce and the ongoing co-parenting relationship stays amicable is to keep contentious feelings, people and social media posts at bay. This means extricating those people from our lives that may want us to pick fights, finding support groups and definitely avoiding negative posts on social media. Even if our social media is private, negative posts will likely, eventually end up on the soon-to-be ex-spouse’s computer or phone screen.
Another way to ensure that the ongoing co-parenting relationship stays amicable is to plan for the long-term when doing the parenting plan. This will also avoid the need for getting lawyers and the courts involved again as well. By long-term planning, we mean to think about not just what the parental needs for the children are today, but also what they will be over the next decade or two. A parenting plan for a toddler will be much different than for a teenager, and those plans should be discussed now. In addition, plans should always include contingency and emergency plans, including approved caregivers, etc.
For our Kent, Washington, readers the key takeaway from this post is that an amicable divorce is possible, but only if it is done with intention, planning and positive execution. Though, this also requires the buy-in from the soon-to-be ex-spouse as well. If they cannot agree to be amicable, then an amicable divorce will likely not be possible.