Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: now.

- Denis Waitley

Family Law and Estate Planning Blog

How to Have A Good Divorced Relationship

For many couples, divorcing each other is just one more step in a contentious, unhappy relationship.  For others, divorce is a sad experience shared by two people who wish each other well, but who simply came to realization that they were not well-suited. If you and your soon-to-be or now-ex spouse are lucky enough to be in the latter category, there are some things to keep in mind:

Hold your ground. You need to have someone other than your ex as your go-to person for comfort, for blowing off steam, and to whom you can complain. Divorce is, in many ways, like dissolving a business – especially where assets come in. Do not be distracted by how badly you feel or how badly you feel for your ex. You need to find a way to maintain some distance from your ex in order to make sound business decisions.

Work with an experienced divorce lawyer. Many Fairfax divorce attorneys can work as a mediator to help you and your ex sort out issues within the parameters of a working relationship. Your divorce lawyer can also help you draft out a parenting plan that works for both of you and keeps the best interests of your children front-and-center.

Get things in writing. The saying “good fences makes good neighbors” also applies to couples splitting up. If you have a written agreement, it will be that much harder to get into fights about “who promised what” down the road. Even if you have a very flexible parenting plan – especially if you have a very flexile parenting plan – map it all out and agree to it jointly. This also applies to agreeing how to disagree. If there is a change in the parenting agreement, or a dispute arises about alimony payments, shared pet care bills, a shift in holiday vacation times with children, a child’s need for braces, relocation for a new job, etc: how will those issues be resolved? Phone call? Email? Via a mediator? A friendly divorce is still a totally different relationship from the one you had as a married couple. Do not take anything for granted and map it all out. Also, map out what happens when agreements are broken or one party wants to change them.

Go into your divorce with you eyes wide open. No, even wider. When you and your spouse split, it was because you were not right as a couple. That means you both, presumably, are going to find someone else to be with — not just you, but your ex. At least in the short term, keep third parties out of your family dynamic. Date casually, but do not introduce them to your children until the relationship is fairly serious. The same goes for introducing them to your ex.

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