Divorce is a tumultuous time. You may find yourself thinking and doing things that are out of character for you. I remember when I was involved with a divorce support group hearing many of the participants say, ďI just donít know this person anymore.Ē And they are right! Divorce is a life altering experience, and sadly, sometimes those changes are not always for the best. People going through a divorce tend to be much more emotional and rash in their decision-making. They forget the old adage, look before you leap, not realizing what the effect today's actions will have on tomorrow? I have seen the most devoted and caring parent put their child right in the middle of their divorce! Iíve also seen very successful, smart business people make ridiculous decisions by allowing their emotions to rule instead of common sense.
Iíve put together a top ten list of doís and doníts for before, during and after a divorce. They seem simple enough, but a gentle reminder never hurts.
1. If you have children make sure they know they are not the reason for the divorce.
2. Always show respect towards your spouse in front of your children.
3. If youíve moved into a new place make your children feel that your new home is also their home, including making them responsible for whatever chores they were previously responsible for.
4. Remember that your children have a social life. They have soccer, birthday parties and friends. It is important that their social life be as normal as possible.
5. If you are going to use an attorney, choose one that is experienced in family law. A good divorce lawyer will know what is reasonable and what is not. Keep in mind though that the proverbial ďsharkĒ is usually not the best choice.
6. Be straightforward with your attorney. For your divorce attorney to do their job effectively you have to be open and honest, especially about your financial matters.
7. Be practical and flexible. Finding the middle ground often results in a quicker and easier conclusion in divorce cases.
8. Document everything that you might think will be important. Also, keep a journal of important dates and events.
9. Use common sense when deciding what to fight for and at what cost should you fight for it.
10. Get professional help if you need it to cope with the emotions of your divorce.
1. The Internet is not the place to air your dirty laundry. Donít give in to the temptation to ďtell allĒ on Facebook or Twitter.
2. Though they may have good intentions, donít listen to your friends who try to tell you what to do. That is your attorneyís jobÖ. thatís what youíre paying them for.
3. Donít pay your child support or spousal support late.
4. Your children should not know the details of your divorceÖ regardless of their age.
5. If you are in a new relationship donít expect your children to fall head over heels for that person just because you have.
6. If you feel the need to talk trash about your spouse donít do it when there is even a remote possibility your children will hear you.
7. Donít question the children regarding the activities of your (ex) spouse.
8. You can't change what has already ready happened so donít rehash the things in the past.
9. Your children are not messengers. Aside from putting them right in the middle, you are also relying upon the child to get the message to your spouse correctly and in the manner you meant it.
10. Donít stop the children from seeing the other parent because he or she owes you money.
If you use these guidelines, you will find that you will behave in a mature and rational way. Not only can you be proud that you took the high road but you will find that more things will be better for you and your children in the end. Easier said than done but give it your best try, youíll be happier in the end.
Lois Misiewicz is the co-founder of Divorce Headquarters the comprehensive, user friendly divorce information website that includes national directories of divorce attorneys, mediators and other professionals as well as free online child support calculators for all 50 states.