5 Tips for Parents When Divorce Is Inevitable

The thought of throwing in the towel and ending a troubled marriage can deliver mixed feelings. On one hand, it can be relieving to know that you can stop the debate of whether or not your marriage is salvageable. On the other hand it is also the beginning of a period of extreme stress.

When you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have children together, it only further adds to the potential for high levels of stress. But, there are a few steps you can take to minimize tensions for everyone involved.

Here are some helpful words from five well-respected practicing family lawyers on what you should do when you have children and you know divorce is inevitable.

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Teamwork until the end

Jessica Markham of the Markham Law Firm in Bethesda, MD recommends that parents try to reach a divorce settlement agreement.

You should, she says, "… try to always remember that you're on the same team. This means to promote consistency and solidarity and put up a united front to your children, even when it's tough for you. Do everything you can to avoid being adversarial."

Divorce is complex

Matthew L. Kreitzer, a family lawyer in Winchester, VA wants parents to understand why they should hire a lawyer, explaining that divorce is a complicated process.

"Divorce is not DIY. You are often dealing with complex issues of finances that even many divorce lawyers may have problems dealing with. Divorce touches on other issues such as debt collection, estate planning and real estate."

He also adds that, "If you are going through a contested divorce, keep records of everything. Text messages, e-mails, letters. These will be vital to your lawyer."

Don't rock the boat

Children don't often understand why their parents are splitting up. The sudden and extreme changes can be a lot to handle.

Jeffrey J. Kash of Kash Fedrigon Belanger in Stroudsburg, PA hopes that parents can do their best to, "…make parenting decisions apart like you would if you remained together. For example, if Junior always stays with his grandparents for 4th of July, then that should remain in place. Disrupt the children's routines as little as possible."

Do your prep work

While the best case scenario for all involved would be a very easy and amicable split, that's not always the case.

Thomas J. Simeone of Simeone & Miller, LLP in Washington DC recommends, "A parent beginning the divorce process should use the access they have to their spouses assets while they are married to get a complete list of their spouses assets and sources of income. During the divorce, the parties and court will divide assets and set child and spousal support based on each spouse's income and assets."

"However," he continues, "once a case starts and the parties become adverse, it can be difficult and expensive (in terms of legal fees) to track down all of your spouse's investments, accounts and sources of income. So, before things get adverse and while you have access to the family's finances, learn all you can about your spouse's financial resources. This will make it easier, less expensive and more likely that you and your children will get fair and appropriate support."

Be realistic about your time

Loving Law Ltd. founder Shaolaine Loving wants parents to remember raising children takes a lot of time and effort.

"Be realistic about what is actually best for your children and what kind of custody/visitation schedule you are able to maintain. If you're looking to strip or reduce the other parent's time, then you better have a good justification to show that the other parent is either unfit to have more time or that it's not in your children's best interests. Being uncooperative or obviously vindictive can backfire on a parent."

Use technology to encourage cooperation

One of the common themes from above is that parents should do everything they can to work together. Creating a parenting plan to show what you believe is best for your child is a good first step toward developing a co-parenting relationship.

The Custody X Change app walks you through each step of creating a plan together or independently. If parents prefer to make separate proposals, they can link accounts to share potential plans and schedules.

The result will be an organized plan that meets the court's standards and shows your vision for handling parenting post-divorce.

Custody X Change helps parents stay in synch when making parenting decisions.

Visualize your schedule. Get a written parenting plan. Calculate your parenting time.

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Bring calm to co‑parenting. Agree on a schedule and plan. Be prepared with everything documented.

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