In many ways, it can be extremely counter-intuitive to think about divorce being good for anyone. Sure, in certain situations involving abuse or neglect in the relationship, a divorce can absolutely Be necessary for the sense that you may need to protect yourself from an abusive or neglectful spouse. Fortunately, these are circumstances that are fairly uncommon compared to the vast majority of divorces. Most divorces do not deal with nearly as contentious or violent circumstances as those described as involving domestic abuse or violence.
When we think about divorce, we typically think about it from the perspective of the two people getting the divorce. You can search our blog post archives and find hundreds of posts that talk about divorce from the perspective of you and your spouse. The marriage relationship takes a great deal of effort to build over a long period of time, and therefore, the effort to and that marriage should not be made without quite a bit of forethought and planning. Even during the divorce is necessary for you to understand your role in the process and how to keep your spouse accountable through the end of your case and into your post-divorce life.
However, many other people stand to be impacted by your divorce, as well. Those people typically live in your household or are any remediate family. The most significantly impacted group of people by divorce, other than the husband and wife themselves, are the children of the marriage. If you and your spouse are considering divorce and are parents, then today's blog post is written with both of you in mind. I want to share some thoughts on how your divorce may be beneficial for your children despite the hardships that come with it during the case itself.
I am not going to talk to you about how a divorce can be good while the case is ongoing. I think it is difficult to argue that the divorce case itself is a good thing and beneficial for your family. For starters, your routine is going to be thrown off quite a bit just because you and your spouse will be sharing custody of your children during a divorce. While you are moving out or your spouse moving out of the home may feel therapeutic and beneficial in the short term, you will come to realize that by doing so, you will necessarily put yourselves on either a formalized or informal custody arrangement. This custody arrangement will require you and your spouse to work together more than ever when it comes to parenting your children and managing your time.
This is one of the great ironies of a family law case: you begin the case thinking that you are separating yourself from your spouse. In the long run, however, you come to realize that you are more reliant on them than ever on parenting issues and raising your children. This can be a bitter pill to swallow and can be very frustrating, especially in the circumstances where you and your Co-parent do not have a good relationship. If anything, the divorce case will force you and your spouse to develop parenting strategies that you can share in hopes of being able to raise and parent your children in your post-divorce lives effectively.
The best I can tell you is that a divorce case can be used effectively as a transition time for your family. Again, that transition may prove difficult for your family, but it will benefit you over the long haul in many cases. Helping your children adjust to living in two different households and sharing time with their parents separately are key points to this transition. You will come to find out that your children are likely more flexible and better able to adjust to dramatic changes than you may even be. Considering how many parents feel at the beginning of the case in terms of putting your children through difficulties like this, hopefully finding how flexible your children can be will make you feel better about the whole process.
Helping your children develop healthy relationships with both parents
Your failing marriage may affect your children because they have poor relationships with one if not both of you. Consider how difficult it can be for you to give your children the time they need when your days are spent worrying about your marriage and taking whatever measures you can to save it. Even if you can offer your children as much time as they need, it is unlikely that you are mentally present in a 100% capacity. I know from personal experience that when I worry about something, it can creep into parts of my life that have nothing to do with my point of concern. I can only imagine how a suffering marriage would impact my ability to parent my children.
For you, you may have noticed that your attention to detail and ability to give your all in the realm of parenting has been compromised due to your concerns in your marriage period; this would be completely normal. For you and your children to develop a strong relationship with one another, you need to be both physically and mentally present. Couple this with the possibility that your spouse has not been present in the home or has taken leave due to a planned separation from you, and you have a recipe for a far from perfect circumstance when it comes to parenting your children.
How is it then that introducing a huge change in your children's lives can actually benefit them? Are there concerns that the benefit to your children will be so far into the future as to negate the overall benefit? Couldn't you argue that a divorce is like investing that you will only see dividends from 30 or 40 years into the future? I would argue that the benefits of divorce can be much more immediate in the sense that you will be a better parent to your child as time goes on as your divorce case proceeds towards its natural end.
Once your divorce case begins, you need to note the things that are most important to you in your life. High on that list will be your children building a relationship with your kids once your divorce is begun. Like it or not, the nature of your relationship with your children will change when your divorce gets going. So much of your identity has been formed by having built relationships with your children alone with your spouse. Now that you and your spouse are getting a divorce, he will need to develop a parenting identity independent of them. That should begin immediately after your divorce begins.
For instance, you should be clear with your children about what divorce means and their role in the process. That does not mean that you have to give them every detail of your marriage or talk in-depth about your relationship's problems. But what you should do is help them better understand what a divorce is, what the basic steps are, and for how long you all can be expected to engage in this process.
From there, you can get into determining how you will approach the divorce as far as working with your spouse to present a united front to your children. Imagine if you had never been able to build a relationship with your kids on a meaningful level because of problems in your marriage. I have talked to many parents over the years who have been denied access to their children simply because their spouses prevented them from being in the home for various reasons. These parents were basically prevented from building relationships with their children because of their spouses.
Now, if you find yourself in a position like this, you will be able to have the benefit of court-mandated periods of possession with your children. Now, keep in mind that the judge will not enforce these periods of possession every week. It is up to you how you will take advantage of the periods of possession that you earn in the case. However, this is a much better position for you to be in than having to rely solely upon the kindness of your spouse to allow you to see your children. Not even the failure to pay child support in the future can prevent your spouse from letting you see your children.
Clarity of mind, knowledge of the state of your relationship with your spouse, knowledge of the future state of your relationship overall, and things of this nature will all lead to you being able to have a better relationship with you are children; what's your divorce has begun couple that with the improvement in circumstances the farther you are removed from your divorce, and this is a key reason why divorce may be beneficial for your relationship with your children.
Your children will be able to learn about you and your spouse on a whole new level.
But for your divorce, your children may never have gained the opportunity to see how you and your spouse handle adversity and other difficult circumstances in your life. Keep in mind that a divorce can and often does bring about the worst in people. I am thinking about the stress of divorce causing people to become ill-tempered, angry, defensive, or overly frustrated with their circumstances. In contrast, we would think that these emotions would be limited solely to the divorce case, which would not be realistic. It is likely that if you experience emotions associated with your divorce, you will also allow them to spill over into your relationship with your children.
However, at this point, I would ask you to think about whether or not you will be able to show the discipline and self-control necessary to display positive characteristics to your children about your divorce. Do you have what it takes to model good behavior throughout the case for your kids? Keep in mind that while you think you may be doing this divorce for yourself, in actuality, you are doing it for your children most of all. If you want your children to reap any benefit from the divorce, why not start while the case is ongoing and show your kids how to act through difficult circumstances.
Keeping your chin up despite adversity is not easy. I'm not going to tell you that something magical happens once a divorce begins that allows you and your spouse to become completely Noble people and ignore the tendencies we all have towards bad behavior associated with our marriage is 1 going through a divorce. It would be easy, for example, to see divorce and to allow it to act as an excuse in your life for saying nasty things about your spouse and to be ill-tempered with your children. You certainly would not be the first person to experience these sorts of problems in the wake of a divorce.
I am telling you that you can choose to go the opposite direction by modifying your behavior and showing restraint and how you approach the case when it comes to how you act in front of your children. One of the most helpful pieces of advice that I have ever received regarding parenting is that more is caught than taught. Meaning: your children pick up on subtle behaviors, but you exhibit more so than they do the spoken word or lessons that we try to give them. Sitting down and having regular coaching sessions with your children is not a bad idea. Still, the way we treat others and speak about others in casual moments can even more dramatically impact how your kids act towards one another.
Saying something nasty toward your spouse or doing something within the divorce to attempt to hurt him or she can cause you to feel good at the moment. You may feel like this divorce has wronged you and that you will do whatever it takes to make them feel pain from an emotional perspective during the case. Again, you certainly would not be the first person to take up this line set and to act this way in a divorce. However, I can tell you that if you are after exacting some degree of harm upon your spouse through the divorce process, the good feeling you get from doing so will be fleeting. Very rarely do actions intended to hurt someone on a short-term basis end up paying dividends for you in the long run.
What will end up paying dividends for you, in the long run, is being able to show your kids how to act when the chips are down, and happiness isn't always around the next corner. I'm not saying that divorce is never-ending or that you will never be happy again. On the contrary, divorces tend to go quicker than most people think, at least in terms of their actual length. What is not a given is that you and your spouse people be able to treat each other well and show a certain degree of respect during the case despite the obstacles in front of you.
I cannot tell you how beneficial it will be for your children to be able to see you and your spouse display basic levels of civility and respect during the case and into your post-divorce lives. This is especially true for your young children. We may think that our younger children are incapable of understanding the issues of a divorce, and they may very well be. However, they are certainly capable of understanding how their mom and dad treat one another in the people in their lives. Please do not underestimate the impact of your behavior on your younger children and how even your older children can stand to learn a lot in their own lives based on the respect you showed your spouse.
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. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and the services that we provide to our clients daily.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Spring, TX, are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and Waller County.