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Five tips for dealing with your ex after a divorce

Having a relationship with your ex-spouse after a divorce depends upon the circumstances in your life. For some of you, the extent of your relationship with your ex-spouse would be satisfying any requirements under the terms of your final decree of divorce. Making sure that bills are paid or property settlements are achieved is a key part of this sort of relationship. However, beyond these basic financial matters, there does not need to be much of a relationship between the two of you. Certainly, if everyone does what they’re supposed to do under the terms of their divorce to agree you and your spouse do not need to interact with each other very much.

However, when you and your ex-spouse have children together this changes things entirely. Raising minor children as a team puts both of you in a position where it is necessary to work together on important matters. This means coordinating the pickup and drop off of your children. The payment of child support is also a frequently discussed and debated topic among parents after a divorce. In short, there are several areas where you and your ex-spouse will need to get along with one another to benefit your child to the greatest degree possible.

Today’s blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan will detail how you and your ex-spouse can manage your relationship after a contentious divorce. Any questions you have about the material in this blog post can be directed to the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. We hold free-of-charge consultations six days a week where we can answer your questions and discuss matters specific to your life.

Setting appropriate boundaries with your ex-spouse

One of the most important techniques for dealing with your ex-spouse after a divorce is to set up appropriate boundaries with him or her. Understandably, you are at a point where you do not want to do deal with him or her again. However, as we just mentioned you must be able to handle your relationship with this person especially if you have children. Co-parenting is critical to the success of your children and is necessary when it comes to handling matters related to your family

Boundaries are an often overlooked area of parenting life. We set appropriate boundaries with our children all the time. Where they can go. What they can do. How they can talk to people. These are just a few of the boundaries that we attempt to set with our children. However, an overlooked area of boundary setting relates to our relationship with our co-parent. How do you plan on relating to this person? What are your goals for the relationship? Do you plan on carrying past animosities from your marriage into your post-divorce life? These are the questions you need to answer sooner rather than later. 

Many families see boundaries not as necessities but as mere suggestions. At the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we couldn’t disagree more with this. In our experiences being able to serve families in divorce cases, their lives are so much better when appropriate boundaries are set up. Not allowing another person to infringe upon your physical space and your rights means that there is less likelihood of animosity and frustration. With any luck, appropriate boundaries allow the two of you to better parent your children, as well. 

What are boundaries and when are they needed?

Boundaries, from a relational or emotional perspective, refer to a situation where you do not allow a person to do, say, or act in a way that is harmful to you. Many times after a divorce, two ex-spouses like you and your ex-spouse need to recalibrate your relationship and determine how to act towards one another. Sometimes this is a seamless transition. In other circumstances, it is not so easy. 

A key here is to determine how strong of a communicator you and your co-parent are. When the two of you can communicate well and express yourselves then co-parenting and boundary-setting comes naturally. However, struggling with communication is a sign that boundary setting is more difficult. Throw in the emotions associated with raising a child after a divorce and you have a potential for some testy exchanges. You also have the possibility for the overstepping of boundaries in the process. 

Remember that when it comes to setting boundaries there is no “right” way to do it. There are tips like being clear, respectful, and understanding with your co-parent. However, your relationship with your co-parent is different than anyone else’s with theirs. The perspective shared in this blog post can help you. However, it is up to you and your co-parent to figure out how to manage the relationship to the best of your abilities. 

Explores strategies for open and respectful communication

Not surprisingly, when boundary setting is the number one tip for successful post-divorce relationship building, communication is right behind it at number two. It is no surprise to say that if you and your ex-spouse are trying to manage your post-divorce lives together that communication was never a strong suit in your marriage. Even though you were not able to identify this early enough to save your marriage it is possible to apply these rules to your post-divorce relationship.

From our perspective, letting your guard down just slightly is necessary when it comes to being able to communicate well. Constantly having your guard up and expecting the worst from the other person is a recipe for disaster. However, when you allow yourself to listen with respect and be patient success is possible. This will take practice. Begin by taking some time to yourself to understand your shortcomings and those of your co-parent. Once you have thought through the struggles that you have with communication you are more likely to give your ex-spouse the benefit of the doubt.

One of the lessons that I think many parents in your shoes can take to heart is that it is better to assume an inadvertent mistake rather than purposeful malice on the part of your ex-spouse. Constantly assuming the worst of your ex-spouse will not lead to anything but heartache and difficulty. When you take the time to see things from their position and then give a little grace to that person it goes a long way towards ensuring success in that post-divorce relationship.

How does your co-parent like to be communicated with?

Take the time to talk to your co-parent about how he or she likes to be communicated with. Sometimes going the extra mile to meet him or her in person rather than to communicate exclusively through text message can make a tremendous difference. Going a little out of your way to meet your co-parent face to face can have dramatically positive effects on the entire relationship. This allows your coparent to extend the same courtesy to you.

It all starts with a single effort to understand your coherent better. Do not wait around and expect your co-parent to take the initiative. You are just as capable of doing so. When the time is right, and you feel up to it reach out to your co-parent. Communicate any thoughts you have on the state of your relationship and discuss your intent to better the lives of your children. Even the most cynical and upset person is likely to work with you when you communicate like this.

Prioritizing the well-being of your children

Think back to your divorce case. Do you remember the term “best interests” of your child being used time and time again? It is a major part of a family law case. The well-being of your children has to do with looking at what is in your child’s best interests now and in the future. This well-being assessment is universal in terms of its acceptance. Courts across the United States utilize this standard when assessing how to decide various issues related to family law. 

One of the trickiest parts of a child custody case relates to separating your best interests from your child’s. For many parents, it is a tough pill to swallow that your own best interests are not necessarily served by looking out for your child’s best interests. Meaning- your best interests and your child’s best interests do not always align. What you want may not be the best for your children. 

For some of you parents out there this is a complete game changer. We as parents always assume that our instincts guide us towards what is best for our kids. However, in some cases, your instincts may guide you towards what is best for you as opposed to what is best for your children. This is something that takes a bit of patience and humility to understand. 

Be open with your co-parent about your objectives in a case

Talk with your co-parent about your goals and objectives when it comes to your children. You do not have to detail your entire position on parenting to him or her. However, simply making him or her aware of your beliefs on this subject is enough to make even the most cynical co-parent come around to seeing the issue more fairly. Make sure that your co-parent knows you are looking out for your child’s best interests rather than anything else. 

Again, parents come out of a divorce with a somewhat cynical viewpoint on this subject. Why try to do what is right when my ex-spouse won’t see it that way? In brief, parents cannot be expected to do the right thing until one person chooses to do so. Choosing to do the right thing now provides an opportunity to do the right thing later on. Constantly punting this issue serves nobody at all. Your child does not stand to benefit from this attitude, surely. 

Guidance from a professional

In my own life, it is difficult from time to time to acknowledge that I need help. Call it pride, call it masculinity, or whatever you would like. When I need help with something it is difficult to ask for it sometimes. Even with my wife I still have trouble submitting to the law of necessity. When I need help I usually ask for it. However, sometimes things get in the way of this and I have issues with asking for help when I need it. 

Compare this to your situation coming out of a divorce. You’ve just had your entire personal life put on display for many people to see. These are your successes on display, either. These are your failures put out there for anyone interested to look at. Even the people who support you in your life can look at them and judge you. Not to mention a person in a black robe whose job it is to judge you. 

In all, you are tired of having people look at your life judgmentally. To now ask a therapist or counselor for help would be to admit further defeat, right? This is not the case, however. When you need help it is not a bad thing to admit that and to look for someone who has experience helping people. You can put all the effort you want into a situation. However, lacking the skills or experience to obtain change is not uncommon. 

Seeking counseling or therapy

This type of help does not need to be face-to-face or even formal. The internet is full of resources where you can seek out help from a professional you never have to meet with. This help is based on online resources, guides, and other areas of information. It is not hard to find an expert opinion on matters related to co-parenting. You may find out that there is too much information to look through. That is a different sort of problem.

When you are looking through problems in your co-parenting life there are reasons to be optimistic. The availability of help that exists for Texas families is a positive. Your willingness to reach out and look for that help is another way for you to find yourself in a post-divorce world. 

Prioritize self-care

This last point is one that so many parents overlook in a divorce and post-divorce world. So much of your attention is scattered about in a post-divorce universe. Whether that means being in search of meaning for your own life or stability for your children. Many parents express a great deal of doubt when it comes to matters related to their lives after a divorce. If you are a parent like this then take heart. There is some advice which can greatly assist you. 

Taking time to search for help for yourself is necessary in a stressful time like this. This doesn’t mean just any kind of care, however. This means being intentional about looking for care that is geared toward your most basic needs. Find out the type of care that is most fulfilling for you and then seek that out. This could be that you need help with your mental health. In that case, it may be exercise or other positive physical activity that you should focus your attention on.

It may just be that your physical health is at an all-time low. Did the divorce take you away from your usual regimen of exercise and eating right? Did long nights preparing for a divorce trial throw you off of your normal eating schedule for The months following? If so then the self-care you need may be as simple as meal planning and keeping the sweets to a minimum.

Don’t look at yourself too much, however

admittedly, today’s blog post is geared towards parents of young children. If you have a minor child at home then your focus should be on your child. This even means setting your own needs to the side and doing what is always in the best interest of your children. Your best ticket towards self-care may be to gear that care around the best interests of your children. You would be amazed at how quickly the best interests of your child can be looked after with some basic care throughout the week.

In any event, there are ways for you to successfully manage your relationship with your ex-spouse. Each of these pieces of advice today requires you to be intentional. Having a plan means taking time aside from your other activities to think through these issues. Thank you for spending part of your day today with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan    

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free-of-charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. Interested in learning more about how your family is impacted by the material in this blog post? Contact us today.

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