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Separation

Shared Care Tips For Separated Parents

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

How to Prepare Financially and Emotionally for Divorce

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.