Co-Parenting After Divorce
Disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only and are not to be considered a substitute for professional legal advice or a consultation with a lawyer.
1. Family Law Tip of The Week
Work with your ex to come up with a plan for your family rather than letting a stranger (a judge) do it for you.
2. Co-Parenting After Divorce
In this episode of The Family Law Insider, Dr. Judy Rabinor talks to us about the first year of co-parenting after divorce. Dr. Judith Ruskay Rabinor, Ph.D. is the author of the book “Befriending Your Ex After Divorce: Making Life Better for You, Your Kids and, Yes, Your Ex.”
The First Year Is So Difficult
“The family isn’t just the parents and the children.”
There are so many concentric circles of one’s life that gets disrupted by divorce. The first year after divorce sometimes involves changes in geography, neighbors, finances, and parenting… It’s a lot!
Divorce Is Like A Perfect Storm
“We all know what it’s like to just get angry.”
Divorced parents want to do what’s in the best interest of their children—but what happens is they lose it. There are so many issues that keep coming up and there’s so much animosity and anger built up at the end of the marriage.
“It’s not gonna matter.”
Put a picture of your child being happy where you see it every day. Because you want to remind yourself of that picture every time you feel anger, rage, impatience, or bubbling up inside. Remind yourself that what matters is if your child is constantly pulled in the middle between two warring parents.
“We really do have the option of changing ourselves.”
What people have a hard time doing is taking the high road despite what the ex does. People have to talk through themselves to step back and back off.
Step Back But Don’t Withdraw
“The people who choose to go to a therapist are ready to be more self-aware. “
Judy mentions two stages of realizing how they could contribute to their issues with the ex. The first stage is when they say
“It’s not my fault,” and the next stage is when they say “I know it’s my fault, but I just can’t help it.”
Regardless of who has faults, parents cannot withdraw because they have to be there for their child. Parents should realize that getting in a rage is not going to fix the problem, but they could do some other things that might make them happy.
“Thank goodness we’re not married anymore.”
Take the high road and think of the kids. There are things in life that we cannot change. Change what you can change, accept what you cannot change and have the power to know the difference.
“No matter who you’re with, a person has some habits that you don’t particularly love.”
We all have to learn to surrender to another person’s quirks because everybody has annoying habits. What may sound nice in a good marriage could sound nasty in a divorce. The thing is, when there are children, you can’t just walk out of the house.
“The important thing is to learn how to talk yourself down.”
For you to allow yourself to get in a rage about the ex’s habits, you are harming yourself the most. It is important to let go of your anger when the children are around. There is no point of holding onto things that we cannot change. We do not have control over people whether we’re married or divorced from them.
“Responding rather than reacting.”
Sometimes we send an email when we just want to get out of something, which is a very bad thing to do. It is very important to try and establish a really respectful climate with your ex and talk about things and know that life is just like it is no matter what plan you have.
“It’s hard to always control yourself when you get divorced.”
An email can be a great thing because it can allow people not to get all fired up. When people have an adversarial relationship, a simple sentence can have all kinds of levels of connotation (depending on the history).
The Sad News
“The desire to break the rules is so deep in us.”
When people get divorced a lot of times parents act like teenagers; they deliberately do things to annoy each other. In order to stay in a marriage, people feel the need to behave properly, then they get out of the marriage and they want to be on bad behavior. It’s kind of awful, but that is a part of human nature.
“Marriages end but divorce lasts a lifetime.”
Many people don’t want to hear that they’re divorced forever and that they have to be respectful for their ex.
Remember What It’s All About
“Children do not understand divorce.”
A parent’s goal should be to raise healthy children, rather than have them witnessing lots of fighting and meanness, spitefulness, and resentfulness of their parents. Children at different ages could feel like the problems are their fault. What they need is for their parents to be stable and safe, and secure… And that’s not so easy.
“Every divorced parents has to do 90%.”
There Is Hope In Co-Parenting
“You have your whole life that doesn’t involve your ex.”
The part that does involve your ex is the raising of your children, which is the part that requires a tremendous amount of diligence and self-control. It’s worth it to feel that you would not be ashamed of how you behaved. That is a goal you can feel proud of even if your ex continues with their behavior and breaking the rules.
3. Thoughts From the Life Coach
In this week’s thoughts, James talks gratitude.