Post-divorce Advice on Maintaining a Strong Relationship With Your Children, Part II

In our last blog post, the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC provided tips to help divorced parents build stronger bonds with their children. If you’re going through a divorce, just finalized one, or considering it, these posts offer valuable insights. Although each family is unique, the advice offered here is universally beneficial for families grappling with the challenges of divorce.

Make the Most of Your Time with Your Children

Many parents who visit our office before initiating divorce proceedings express a desire for “full custody” or something similar. What they often mean is that they want their children to primarily reside with them. It’s natural to want as much time as possible with your children when considering your divorce goals. Unfortunately, in most divorce cases, only one parent can be designated as the “primary conservator” of the children. This transition can be challenging for many parents, moving from unrestricted access to their children to scheduled visitation as specified in the divorce decree.

Regardless of where you stand in terms of visitation or possession rights, it’s essential to maximize the time you spend with your children. It’s evident that building or strengthening any relationship requires spending quality time together. Your children need stability, and your actions can either bolster or diminish this stability. Law Office of Bryan Fagan advises against canceling or failing to show up for scheduled visits with your children not only upsets your ex-spouse but also exposes you to potential legal consequences for violating court orders. On a relational level, your children will sense that they are not your top priority when you prioritize other activities over them.

Prioritize Your Children Over Your Feelings Toward Your Ex-Spouse

Whether you initiated the divorce or were the reluctant spouse seeking to salvage the marriage, once the divorce decree is finalized, the past issues with your spouse become largely irrelevant. While it may sound harsh, it’s a reality. Dwelling on past grievances or attempting to seek revenge for perceived wrongs committed during or before the divorce is unhealthy. The person who could potentially address those issues is no longer your partner or part of your daily life.

Your children do not want to be involved in or hear about any efforts by either parent to seek vengeance or retribution. Attempting to undermine the other parent’s authority by asserting your superiority can lead to resentment or disengagement from your children. Engaging in petty actions, like arriving late for visitation drop-offs, failing to contribute to agreed-upon extracurricular expenses, or neglecting to communicate about significant matters in your children’s lives, may seem like ways to retaliate against your ex-spouse. However, these actions primarily harm your children, who may internalize the negative behavior or even feel responsible for it. It’s best to avoid putting your children in such situations. Resist viewing your ex-spouse as an enemy and your shared parenting as a battleground.

Avoid Forcing Your Children to Choose Between Parents

The beauty of divorce arrangements is that both you and your ex-spouse have ample opportunities to build strong relationships with your children. Even with less time than desired, even a Standard Possession Order allows for substantial quality time with your children.