It is a known fact that a number—by many statistics, nearly half—of marriages end in divorce.
While change is challenging for everyone, especially when children are involved, the stakes are even higher.
You and your spouse are divorcing each other, not the children.
Your kids will thrive when they have two loving, involved parents in their lives.
So what happens when you have great plans at the start of the divorce negotiations, but sometime after that, things change?
One parent isn’t following the parenting time arrangement; perhaps one wants to move out of the area for a job or new partner. What are your options when things fall apart?
Plan Ahead for Possibilities
Granted, you don’t have a crystal ball in which you can identify all of the issues that might crop up in the years after your divorce while you’re co-parenting your children. But you can add certain language in your divorce agreement to manage situations that have historically been an issue for other couples.
Some of those big issues include splitting holidays and birthdays, where parents live, and parenting time.
Remember that a divorce decree is meant to change and grow as your relationship as parents changes and your children grow, so there needs to be room for flexibility.
In an area as spread out as the Valley of the Sun, parents will often include a clause that they need to live within a certain distance from each other or the children’s schools.
Then if one chooses to move away, that parent is responsible for more transportation as a result. And distance can affect parenting time as well.
But you can work this all out well ahead of time if you’re prepared.
Talk It Out
Let’s agree that the majority of relationships breakdown due to poor communication. And getting divorced doesn’t make that communication issue get any better.
Hopefully, as the anger and animosity dissipate after the divorce finalized, you’ll better able to discuss changes in your and your children’s lives.
When issues arise post-divorce, your best first step is to talk to your ex. Yes, it might not be easy, but you may be surprised at his or her willingness to work things out.
Keep in mind that you’re both focused on the same thing: your children.
If there’s just no talking to your ex, your next step is mediation.
Just because you’re having problems and it feels like court is the best choice, it often isn’t.
Remember that going to court to deal with these issues is a matter of last resort. Besides being costly (financially and time), it can quickly reopen old wounds and bring back the trauma of the divorce in the first place.
When you connect with a mediator, you’re in a position to address the issues that have arisen after the divorce and can take a solutions focused approach to moving things forward again.
Issues that arise after the divorce are best thought of as a hiccup, not an insurmountable challenge.
It usually takes just one session to determine if you and your ex will be able to agree on an outcome or if you’ll need to accelerate to a more legal venue.
Go to Court
This is always the last choice—and for good reason.
No one wants to go to court and air dirty laundry. Plus, it just adds fuel to the fire when you have to take your ex to court to work out specifics.
And to add insult to injury, the judge may decide something that neither one of you wants.
This should be an option only if you and your ex cannot find any way to bridge the problems between you – unlikely if you’re both willing to at least give it a shot.
Collaborative Conversations Work!
Just as collaborative divorces work to dissolve unions, the same process can be used post-decree.
Each person in a family is important to the solution of challenges, whether that person is a parent or child.
In a collaborative conversation, you’ll work together as a team and be reminded of what your focus is.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.