Millions of separated or divorced couples share care of their kids. For many of these people the kids are the only reason there continues to be a connection. Yes, it would be easier to remove them from your life, but if a parent wants to be involved in the care of their child and is capable of doing so, personality differences or your past relationship baggage should not hinder this. You both need to find a way through your emotions to make it happen.
Negotiation of shared care over school holidays, special events like birthdays and Christmas, can be an opportunity for yet another heated argument. Rather than needing each negotiation to be heard before the courts or witnessed by mediators, you both really need to find a positive way to keep the peace, specifically for your children. If either parent can’t get past this, the damage you are both doing to your children may be irreversible. Therefore, we have some tips for you to keep in mind when dealing with your ex.
Tip 1: It’s not about you and it’s not about your ex. It’s all about the kids you have both created and doing what’s best for them. It’s that simple.
Tip 2: Make any negotiations like a business transaction. Keep emotions out of the decision making process.
Tip 3: Be fair and open to compromise.
Tip 4: Don’t abuse, argue with, belittle or put down your ex to their face or in front of your children. Your children are a combination of the two of you and therefore they feel like you are also attacking them or don’t like aspects of them. If you need to vent, do so well away from your children so they don’t overhear you.
Tip 5: The kids love you both, so you need to let them in their own way. If they want to give something to the other parent or be with them, encourage it. If children have a healthy relationship with both their parents, they are far more likely to be able to have healthy relationships when they get older.
Tip 6:You are role modelling their future relationships. Always be aware of this and provide positive role modelling.
Tip 7: Find a way to negotiate with your ex for shared care. Many people send simple text messages like “Picking the kids up at 6pm Friday and I will bring them back at 6pm Sunday night.” It’s all facts with no emotion.
Tip 8: Some people find the change over an extreme issue. There are a few options you can organise:
- Both of you have a mutual family member pick up and drop off
- Changeover in the car park of the local police station
- Changeover somewhere with security cameras
- If the children are old enough, stay in your cars and let the children swap vehicles
Tip 9: Remember above all else, to keep your emotions in check. If you feel baited; walk away, hang up; whatever. Don’t be the one to bait or look for that argument, either. Instead of making it as difficult as possible for the other parent, make this as easy as possible for your kids.
Tip 10: Every decision you both make should be about your children. If your ex doesn’t get that, no amount of arguing is going to change it. Be polite, do what’s right and ignore their bad behavior. If they are looking for a bite and you don’t give it to them, they will eventually stop and get on board with doing what’s right for the sake of the kids.
If they don’t change, understand that you can’t alter their behavior. (This may be why you separated?!) Don’t argue about it. The kids will see what’s happening and everything will take care of itself as they get older. They will know that you have tried your best and put them first above all else.
Image via ogamagazine.com
The combination of alcohol, difficult relatives, excited children and strains on the family finances can lead to problems in the most stable of marriages. If you combine these factors with the high expectations of Christmas; many couples find that the stress becomes too much and decide to split up.
Christmas can be difficult
A lot of work goes into the preparation of a successful celebration. If you’re a working parent by Christmas Eve, you’re probably ready to collapse into a chair and settle down with a good glass of port. Unfortunately contemporary Christmas celebrations appear to demand that you spend money you can’t afford on providing huge meals, copious amounts of alcohol and extravagant presents to all and sundry.
An article in The Daily Mail states that more couples seek marriage guidance after Christmas than at any other time of the year. If Christmas has served to highlight severe breaks in an already fractured marriage, then perhaps you should seek appropriate advice and at least consider relationship counselling before contemplating the end game of divorce.
January 3 is known as ‘Divorce day.’
Lawyers see the results of a stressful Christmas in the early New Year, as couples seek advice following a particularly difficult celebration. Sometimes this is due to the fact that many families try to put their differences aside for the sake of their children’s Christmas, or couples that don’t normally spend so much time together find that the excesses of the festival have exacerbated their marital problems. Figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) and published in The Daily Telegraph show that ‘twice as many couples begin divorce proceedings (in January) than at any other time during the year.’
Divorce is rarely a smooth and amicable experience and the process usually takes a heavy emotional and financial toll on both parties. Legal representation is required and the way forward may be complicated. If the divorce is overseas or documents need translating – if one half of the couple converses in a language other than English – then a specialist company capable of notarising these documents need to be engaged; vpnotaries.co.uk is an example of such a business.
The pressures of advertising
TV adverts portray the perfect family sitting down with relatives and friends to enjoy an ideal Christmas lunch. The adverts don’t reveal the months of saving and preparation that most families will endure in advance of the annual festivities. If you have children, the problems associated with buying the right presents before they sell out can prove insurmountable.
If your partner has asked for something specific as a present and you have failed to source that gift, you’ll be dealing with feelings of guilt and your partner might think that you simply don’t care. By Christmas Day itself, the scene is already set for a difficult time, with fractious children, tired parents and the prospect of cooking and entertaining looming large on a difficult horizon.
Pressures on the family budget don’t help
Christmas is expensive. Many families overspend at this time, and don’t take into account that their salaries have to cover ordinary household expenditure. Arguments about money are always difficult because there’s little you can do to recoup the cash you spent on the turkey, the decorations, the sweets, the gifts and the booze. Sadly, many couples spend Christmas resenting each other, blaming the other for the family’s woes. If you stick to a budget for your festive fun, don’t crowd the house with too many people and drink alcohol in moderation, you may end up with your marriage intact for the New Year.
Ever had the break-up blues? You might wonder why on earth we’d make light of that but, when you think about it, it really is one of life’s most pathetic moments. It’s not a memory you want to savour, take photos and stick up on your Facebook page, now is it?
Then again some people put everything on social media. He’s dumped me. I’m crying. I’m listening to sad songs and crying. Oh, the pain! Seriously, no one wants to see that crap. Imagine your next job interview? They do ask for your social media links, these days. You didn’t know that? Well, you do now!
Having seen your last 50 Facebook statuses or hearing it via the gossip vine, friends and family may try to console and comfort you. What’s with that? You are miserable. It’s no secret. You certainly won’t be the best company. Why would anyone in their right mind want to spend time with someone who is miserable?
Bottom line: It makes them uncomfortable. They need you to feel good, so they can feel good. Basic social psychology, folks. You thought it was your selfish stage to mourn and grieve, right? No. It’s your friends and relatives selfish stage. They have the best of intentions, but they are usually blissfully unaware of what they are doing or why.
That won’t last long though. Miserable people repel others. You’ve been whinging, whining and totally obsessed with your broken heart and your ex. Ever time they try to change the subject, because you’ve driven them crazy, you change it right back. They need to get as far away from you as possible. NOW – before they crack!
This is when you’ve learned break-ups are best handled alone. You can begin to grieve without distraction. Instead of hiding tears when your friends suggest watching a comedy and something reminds you of your ex, you can ball your damn eyes out. You can avoid showering, eating right, maybe drink too much, avoid sunlight, ditch work, and generally make a complete and utter mess of yourself. Now, this here is your selfish stage!
Maybe this is what your well meaning friends and relies were trying to save you from. Yeah? No. Be 100 per cent, research assured, it was their needs they were tying to meet, but weren’t they useful while they were doing it? At least you didn’t smell bad.
This period of chaos only ceases when you’ve hit rock bottom and you are faced with two very distinct options. The first is to pick yourself up, right here and now and get on with living.
Then there’s option two. Your job will go if you neglect going to work, that’s a given. Then, you’ll have no money. Makes sense doesn’t it? Homelessness will then become a very real probability. That is, unless you can manage to convince one of those well meaning friends or relies to take you in so you can “lounge surf” until you’re ok.
The only thing is the stress of having no fixed address, no job, no money and, of course, no partner will be considered stressors, in psych terms, and provide ideal conditions to bring on an episode of mental illness. What? You don’t think this happens? You clearly haven’t spoken to any homeless men!
Yes, folks. This is the grim reality of the break up blues. Next time those “helpful” friends and relies come to the rescue; think back to option number two. Welcome them in. Thank all that is good and holy that they are selfish enough to want to come and save you!
Image via pad3.whstatic.com
Richelle Hampton, author of The Divorce Navigator, looks at practical ways you can prepare for divorce both financially and emotionally.
Standing on the precipice of separation and divorce can be daunting to say the least. Emotionally you feel as though you have just stepped onto the world’s largest roller coaster ride of fear and anger.
Anger is the most commonly recognised emotion in the separation process. It is a known fact that much of the pain and grief with separation is caused by escalating anger. The pain and suffering both parties are experiencing as a result of the relationship breakdown often transforms into a traumatic, costly legal battle.
Don’t allow your anger to take control of the situation. It may seem that you are thinking clearly, but anger and rage do not make you smart – the very opposite occurs. Your higher brain functions do not operate when you are angry and you will be at risk of making decisions that will be harmful to you in the long term, extend your separation process, and cost you more financially and emotionally.
Learning to deal with your anger constructively is one of the most important things to be gained from separation.
What is not as obvious when a relationship breaks down is the enormous amount of fear both parties experience, the emotion beneath anger. Just about everyone involved experiences some level of fear because of the uncertainty surrounding their future, of not having the answers or being in control of their lives – the fear of the unknown.
Facing your fears is an important step. Visualise the worst that can happen, make preparations for it, write down all the things you can do to ensure the situation never develops, take a step forward and know that you will be okay. By understanding that you fear a worst-case scenario you are in the position to make plans to avoid the situation.
If you do not learn to confront your fears regarding separation you will find it extremely difficult to make rational decisions and your financial future may be impacted.
The most important step you can take in your separation process is learn to deal with the emotional aspects of this process in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the legal issues involved. There is no place in the legal system for negative emotions.
How you act and react during your separation proceedings has a lot to do with how well you come out of it.
To financially prepare for divorce find out where you and your partner have bank accounts, life insurance policies, share certificates, and important documents.
Obtain statements and balances for bank accounts, plus copies of Wills and trusts. The more information you have, the better. If you do not know much about your family’s income, outgoings, and assets, it is important to find out immediately. Keep copies of financial documents in a safe place such as a safety deposit box or with a close relative or trusted friend.
Ensure you understand your financial information and the financial implication of any decisions you make. Costly mistakes can be avoided by seeking the advice of a financial expert such as an accountant or financial advisor. You will be in a stronger position to make informed decisions regarding your financial future.
Keep your expectations realistic as your finances will be tight. Don’t go into separation thinking you are going to be able to maintain your present lifestyle.
If you have joint bank accounts/loans/mortgages, consider changing the account withdrawal procedures so that you both have to sign as joint signatories to withdraw any funds. You might also consider limiting or cancelling any redraw facilities.
Consider opening a bank account under your own name and with a different bank. Have your salary and any financial gifts or inheritances post-separation transferred to this account.
You need to bring yourself up to speed on the costs of running your household. If you haven’t been the one who looks after the monthly outgoings, look through bank statements – see how much you pay in monthly rent or mortgage; check utilities and other regular outgoings.
Begin to assess (or reassess) the job market and brush up on your marketable skills. Start researching courses that will improve employment opportunities or that will further advance your career and earning capacity.
Being educated and prepared will help reduce the stress and fear of the difficult process ahead.
Taken from The Divorce Navigator: How to save tears, time and money, a must-read guide that contains practical advice, help and tips with budgets and checklists for anyone considering separation, about to separate or in the midst of a divorce.