When I got separated, the only people I knew that had divorced did so prior to having children. All of my other friends with children were in happy, contented marriages. My friends were so supportive, but couldn’t offer any advice when it came to managing the other parent, what to do or how to handle my situation.
While the childless-divorces were undoubtedly hard and sometimes ugly, the fortunate part was that they only had to concentrate on themselves and their assets. Primarily, a financial divorce had to be negotiated. These people were, more often than not, able to have a cleaner, clear cut settlement. In most cases, the pre-nuptial agreements were still current. These people were able to live apart and after separating/divorcing financially, didn’t have to see the other person unless they wanted to.
Adding the blessing of children to a marriage, the different routines and pressures that come with little people, a new home and/or changing assets, generally resulted in a void (out-of-date) pre-nup and more complex divorce. This group of people have to negotiate their way through the Family Law system highly emotional as well as prioritising the wellbeing and best interests of children … a recipe for a very murky divorce.
Divorcing with children means the financial divorce is now coupled with a parenting divorce, and the parents are “tied” to each other for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, one party will find the pressures too much and “give in” or “give up” which can result in a faster agreement for parenting and finances. More often than not, it ends up bitter, nasty, lengthy and expensive through the court system.
While a divorce changes a child’s perception of what is a family, the faster that parenting and financial matters can be resolved, the better it is for the children and the faster the children can adjust to the new family routine. Your focus is in part to ensure stability for the children, but you must remember to invest time and energy in to yourself. By ensuring you are cared for, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, you will be in a better space, more emotionally available and a more aware parent for your children.