Payne & Associates, PLLC
336-283-2937

When couples head for divorce court, it is usually because they no longer relate well. They may have trouble enjoying one another's company or could have lost the trust that is a critical foundation to a lifelong relationship. It is far too easy for divorcing parents to become more focused on their own emotional issues than on the needs of their children.

The parents may dig their heels in and plan to fight over every moment of parenting time and every penny they have saved or invested during the marriage. Sadly, that contentious approach is only going to make things that much harder for you and your family in the future. It will also make it harder to parent with your ex. Mediation or cooperative divorce can help you move forward with less fighting in some cases.

Shared custody is the new normal

While there was a time when the courts preferred to assign custody to one parent and visitation to the other, North Carolina family courts now lean heavily toward shared parental responsibilities.

Co-parenting as equals with similar levels of parental authority and parenting time is very possible in your divorce. Too much anger at earlier stages in the process will make it hard for you to work together as parents.

Focus on keeping things calm and efficient

Depending on your custody arrangements, you and your ex may need to exchange custody several times a week. That can mean a lot of face-to-face interaction and plenty of potential for unnecessary conflict and confrontation.

While you certainly do want to stand up for yourself and make sure that things are fair and safe, you shouldn't put your sense of justice ahead of your children's need for stability and support. If you can keep yourself calm and respectful when communicating with your ex, your kids will notice. They will benefit from the two of you working together as a team instead of against one another as opponents.

A lot of the stress that children experience in a divorce comes from the anger their parents display. If you and your ex are able to remain positive and professional in front of the kids, that will take a lot of the strain off of your children as your family moves forward.

Focus on complying with the terms of your parenting plan

Your parenting plan should include everything from how to split up time with the children to who has decision-making authority about various issues. Every parenting plan is unique to the family for whom it gets created. You and your children will benefit the most if you familiarize yourself with that document and do everything in your power to comply with the terms.

Encourage your ex to also abide by those terms, but try to be flexible. If you are forgiving and willing to compromise when working with your ex about unexpected issues, they will hopefully extend the same courtesy to you.

Even if they don't, you will set a much better example for your children by doing so than by being unnecessarily contentious. It can be hard to set your emotions aside after a divorce, but your children will eventually thank you for putting their needs ahead of your feelings.

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Payne & Associates, PLLC
206 North Spruce Street, Suite 1B
Winston Salem, NC 27101

Phone: 336-283-2937
Fax: 336-217-8784
Winston Salem Law Office Map