Is it possible to remain friends post-divorce?
Birmingham, Mich. – April 25, 2018 – The bond of marriage has been legally broken through divorce and now choices must be made on how to interact with your ex-spouse, especially if children are involved. Jessica Woll, managing partner of Woll & Woll, P.C., a Michigan-based divorce and family law firm specializing in child-centric divorce℠ matters and complex family law issues, offers 6 tips to help divorced parents navigate co-parenting, especially when they have trouble getting along:
- Step Away for 24-hours: Whatever needs to be said, barring an emergency, can be said when cooler heads prevail.
- Get Off the Hamster Wheel: Think of when you approached a parenting time issue that resulted in a smooth outcome. What did you do differently? See if that approach will work again.
- Give 3 Positive Traits about Your Ex as a Parent: What do you appreciate? What makes him or her a good parent? With that in mind, share three constructive traits before kindly addressing any parenting matters at hand.
- Approach Your Ex as an Ally: Make your ex a “collaborator,” rather than “the enemy.” Together share some positive traits about your child before calmly explaining the problem and ask your co-parent for suggested resolutions. Do not interrupt. Listen. Truly take the time to hear his or her thoughts. When things are calm, ask your ex, in turn, to consider your proposed solutions. Then compromise, when possible.
- Pick Your Battles: Remain calm and learn to cope with the smaller issues that won’t cause any trouble in the long-run. The energy saved can then be directed to issues that truly have a lasting impact on your child.
- Behaving Badly? Apologize: Own up to your faults and take responsibility for times when you were wrong or lost your temper. Showing humility will pave the way for more peaceful and trusting co-parenting.
“When couples have a mutual understanding and respect for each other about parenting styles, it makes it easier for them to co-parent,” said Woll. “Just because a husband and wife can no longer make their marriage work does not mean they are bad parents. The sooner ex-spouses can come to terms with this, the more likely they will be able to remain friends after a divorce.”
On a related note, heading off resentment is one thing, but can couples remain friends after divorce? Woll said that it entirely depends on the couple.
Many formerly married couples go their separate ways and only interact when they absolutely must, for their children, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. “People often have the misconception that since the marriage didn’t work out, a former spouse cannot be a part of one’s life,” Woll said.
Ex-couples can find a way to amicably relate through their shared interests, family traditions and even vacations, especially when according to Woll. While ex-spouses may no longer have romantic feelings for one another, they can still have a platonic relationship.
“A relationship is more than just a romantic bond; it also includes a friendship and shared interests,” said Woll. “Just because a couple has divorced does not mean their common activities dissolve. Many couples continue to see each other through mutual interests, friends and events, in addition to their children, so these commonalities are helpful in trying to remain friendly, even after divorce,” Woll said.
If the couple always took family vacations to go skiing every winter or to the lake every summer, those traditions can continue and be a great way for their children to enjoy being together as a family. “If that basis of friendship remains, there are no rules that say you can’t still interact as a family, even without marriage,” said Woll.
About Woll & Woll, P.C.
Committed to excellence in child-centric divorce℠ matters and complex family law issues since 1994, Woll & Woll specializes in divorce and family law, including legal separation, post-judgment of divorce matters, removal of domicile actions, stepparent adoption, custody, child support, paternity and other family issues. Learn more at http://www.wollandwollpc.com.