How can divorced families be healthy families?

To many, the word “divorce” brings up images of loud arguments, messy separations, and kids with guilt-induced anxiety. If you just hired a divorce attorney, your story does not have to include this frustrating cliché. As you work toward building your new, happy lifestyle, follow these essential steps to make sure that your foundation is strong. With the proper dedication and effort, you can come out the other side with a healthy family dynamic still intact.

Steps to Building a Healthy Post-Divorce Family

  1. Set Your Angry Feelings Aside

In the initial phase of the divorce, the temptation to let your personal feelings rule is strong. Especially if you’ve frequently been fighting with your spouse, it can be easy to fall back into that rut and scream your way through the divorce process. 

However, if there is any hope of creating a peaceful environment for your family when the divorce is final, you have to start working on it beforehand. 

Make a pact with your ex to purposefully set aside feelings during any negotiations. Resisting the urge to yell and accuse will automatically help create peaceful terms that you’re both happy with, and pave the way for functional future interactions.

  1. Be a Team

Once you agree to behave peaceably to each other, you can take the next important step: being a team for your kids. Speaking to your children about your divorce is one of the most challenging steps you’ll have to go through. However, your children may handle the process better if they see that you’re united. 

When the time comes, sit down together to speak with your children and answer all the inevitable questions they’ll have about your divorce. Make it clear that the decision is between the two of you and that your children are still loved and protected. 

Most importantly, be sure never to cut down your ex in front of your children. While tempting, these snide remarks affect your children through feelings of stress and isolation. It can even cause them to “fear” how you’ll react about the time they spend with their other parent, which is the opposite of a healthy family dynamic. 

  1. Prioritize Your Children’s Well-Being

Too often, parents make divorce only about them. Part of setting your feelings aside is consciously choosing to prioritize your children through the process. 

During each part of the divorce process, ask yourself, “How will this affect my kids?” Take their schedules and feelings into consideration when determining child custody agreements, additional visiting opportunities, and how moving with one parent could affect their school district. 

It’s also vital that the transition between homes is as smooth as possible. Keep essential and comfort items available at both houses, so your kids don’t have to pack a suitcase every week. This small step will foster feelings of security that your children need now more than ever. 

  1. Be Open about Agreement Terms

Although your priority should be your kids, make sure that you don’t let a manipulative spouse walk all over you, either. If you’re uncomfortable with any part of the agreement, it’s okay to (peacefully) say so. 

Agreeably discussing the initial divorce terms will make it easier to readdress those terms if either of you finds that something isn’t working. Calm and open communication paired with honesty is an excellent foundation for developing the healthy co-parenting relationship your kids need. 

Closing Thoughts

Divorce does not mean that your family has to fall apart. A good divorce and family lawyer can help you peacefully work out the right terms for your family’s situation and develop a tranquil environment for you and your children.

But ultimately, a healthy post-divorce family starts with you and your spouse choosing to create a safe and loving environment for your kids, starting today.

If you’re looking for an experienced divorce lawyer or  family law attorney to help you navigate the divorce process in California or Colorado, Duncan Family Law is always ready to give you a hand. Our office can be reached at (855) 369-9993. You may schedule a free divorce consultation to meet with an attorney by telephone, Zoom, FaceTime, or other remote means during this time.