A divorce doesn’t have to mean you are at odds with one another. Sharon suggests going on a vacation with your ex! That’s not a typo. Think about it: Historically, this is probably when you were at your best together. This is a “safe” person, not a stranger you met online, and it shows the kids that you can move past this divorce and treat each other with respect and kindness.
The take away here is that just because the divorce is bad doesn’t mean you have to behave badly. Look for ways to extend an olive branch during and post-divorce. Dinner with the kids, switching weekends with the kids, or anything that keeps the relationship positive. Going back to court just costs more time & money and no one wins.
Even though the divorce is final, the relationship with your ex is not. If anything, you may be coordinating and communicating now more than ever. Many divorced couples even go back to court to renegotiate a change to the parenting plan or the finances. So, it’s in everyone’s best interest to keep things calm and kind.
Keeping it cordial starts day 1 of the divorce, when you start the process and one of you serve the other. You can do this nicely and show respect for each other by coordinating when and how one party gets served. An ambush can set the tone for a nasty divorce for years to follow.
During divorce negotiations, one thing a good attorney can do is set expectations correctly. He/she should tell you that we are going to “reach” for this, but this is a more reasonable outcome. As with any settlement you’re going to have to decide what’s worth fighting over and what you are willing to concede. Help the other party feel that they’ve “won” in the negotiations for the good of the relationship.
One thing Sharon suggests is to vacation with your ex. I know…really? Well, a vacation is a time to set stress aside and you’ve had a history with this person. Vacations were likely some of the best times you had together. It also shows the kids that you can function in a relationship with each other. If you don’t want to travel with your ex, at least look for opportunities to extend the olive brand. Maybe it’s by including each other in family gatherings, or special events.
Through the process of our own divorces, Barb Hazelton and Jo Briggs learned more than they ever needed or wanted to know. Through their friendship, shared experiences, and connections through navigating their own divorces, they created this video series. They've been where you are and they hope Single Process can make it easier for you by connecting you to their resources.