Very few couples make it through the entire divorce process without at least a few points of contention.
Divorce, by its very nature, is adversarial and tends to breed conflict. Amicable divorces are rare. Although no-fault divorce is now the norm and it is no longer always necessary to prove marital fault, there still are plenty of opportunities for emotions to erupt.
The process of negotiating child custody arrangements, child support agreements, property division, and alimony/spousal support often is tense and involves a lot of back and forth at a time when each party is already in a precarious emotional state.
However, even if you are dealing with an especially difficult ex, it is wise to maintain your composure no matter how the divorce proceedings progress.
Here are three reasons divorced dads should always take the high road:
It’s best for your kids
First and foremost, you always need to keep the best interest of your children in mind.
Seeing their parents split is traumatic, but research shows that the negative outcomes children of divorce are at risk of has more to do with the amount of conflict they are exposed to during the divorce rather than the event of divorce itself.
Working with your ex to come up with an effective co-parenting arrangement that keeps both of you involved and engaged in your children’s lives is one of the best things you can do for them. This takes flexibility and compromise from both parties.
If your ex refuses to cooperate, you might employ a parallel parenting model, which is a co-parenting arrangement designed for high-conflict relationships.
You might have been wronged by your ex, but you should not let those hard feelings boil over to the point that they affect your children.
It’s best for you
The problem with lashing out at your ex, even if she has seriously wronged you, is that it is not going to make you feel any better. Whatever happened between the two of you while you are married is now in the past, and you need to be putting your best foot forward. That can’t happen as long as you are being drug into arguments and disagreements.
Rather than ruminating on past events or worrying about what lies ahead, focus on cultivating a mindfulness practice that keeps you centered in the present. This is the most effective way to find peace in the wake of divorce and can help you along your road to divorce recovery.
It’s best for your case
When feelings get hurt during divorce, it can be tempting to do whatever it takes to get back at your ex during the divorce proceedings.
That might mean trying to paint them as a bad parent so you get a better custody arrangement or lying or hiding assets so you come out ahead in the division of property. Tempting as this might be, it is a terrible idea. If the judge finds out you are lying, you are sure to pay for it in the final divorce agreement.
Rather than fixating on revenge, focus on what you can do to improve your standing going into divorce negotiations. Work on being the best father possible so the judge sees the value you bring to their lives. Establish clear channels of communication with your attorney so they can work to get you the best settlement possible.
When it comes to divorce, honesty is always the best policy.