One of the biggest challenges of divorce is redefining roles and establishing boundaries after the divorce is final. Couples without children may choose to happily go their own way, never to see each other again. On the other hand, for couples with children or a common set of friends, never seeing each other again is an unlikely result. As such, it is critical to redefine roles and set boundaries going forward. Below are some examples where boundary adjustments may be necessary.
You are Now Co-Parents, Not Partners
As co-parents you have a job to do together. However, this job is limited to encouraging happy and healthy kids to get through adolescence and into adulthood – ideally while knowing they have the complete love and support of both of their parents. If you are able, you should both attend school functions. You should be flexible with parenting time when the circumstances merit flexibility. However, as co-parents your communications should be limited to the children and their best interests. Leave finances, new romance, talk of vacations planned, or promotions hoped for out of the discussion.
Their Extended Family is Not Your Extended Family
You may remain in contact with your former spouse’s extended family, particularly if your kids are involved with them. However, understand and expect that the other parent’s extended family’s loyalty will be with your former spouse, not you. If you choose to maintain a friendship beyond your child’s relationship with certain extended family members, make certain your friendship is based on shared interests beyond your former spouse, who should be an “off limits” topic.
Your Home is Now YOUR Home
Because married couples have such an intimate relationship and because often one member of the marriage keeps the family home, setting boundaries is essential. If you kept the family home, create a new space by adding a fresh coat of paint or rearranging the furniture. Make clear your expectation that your former spouse knows they are now a guest in your home. A guest wouldn’t feed the dog, eat out of the fridge, or enter the master bedroom without permission. Your former spouse should honor these new boundaries.
Your Money is YOUR Money
Finances are often a source of strife in marriages, and are so particularly during a divorce. When one party is paying child support or alimony or both, or when a party is receiving child support or alimony or both, it may seem as though there is a power differential. This is not true. Florida law provides for the payment and receipt of child support and alimony in divorce. Each party’s finances are their own business and should not be considered an appropriate topic of conversation post-divorce.
Mind Your Own Business
Post-divorce, if there are no children, you have no right to know what your former spouse is doing, where they are staying, or who they are spending their time with. It’s best to stay out of their business, and let your former spouse know you expect the same from them. You will both be happier in the long run.
If you are considering divorce, contact Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. At Eric C. Cheshire, P.A., we offer clients the benefit of years of experience handling family law cases. From amicable divorces using a collaborative law approach, to litigation of important issues that cannot be resolved, Eric C. Cheshire brings his knowledge and expertise to the table to work towards getting you the best possible resolution. Call the office today to set up a consultation at 561-295-3693.