The Seven Deadly Sins Of Divorce
Whether you are happily married now, or hoping to be one day, there is one topic you would probably rather not think about: divorce. Yet, most of us know at least one wedded couple who has split up. Then, there is that ominous fifty percent statistic, which otlen scares us into believing that a marriage’s survival is as subject to chance as whether a coin will flip heads or tails.
In tact, this fifty-fitly buzz-phrase may not even be accurate, Time magazine reports, noting how difficult it is to even track divorce stats. Time cites a University ofPennsylvania study’s conclusion that the age at which a person marries can be a better predictor of the relationship’s suecess. The study found that eighty-one pereent of college graduates who wed during the eighty’s at the age of twenty-six or older, were still married twenty years later. The number deereased to sixty-five percent for eoliege grads who married before the age of twenty-six.
But no matter the risk, it never hurts to be prepared if you do find yourself in the midst of a legal split. Navigating the situation unbiasedly ean be difficult, as your emotions effect the ability to make critical decisions.
In light of this, we enlisted lieensed marriage and family therapist Shannon Fox and divorce attorney Celeste Liversidge, authors ofthe new book Last One Down The Aisle Wins, to share their expert opinion on what they consider to be the seven worst deeds a divorcing couple can commit.
1. Forcing Your Kids To Take Sides
The last thing a parent wants to do during a divorce is to cause more pain for the children. Unfortunately, more often then not, the way a parent acts during the divorce makes things much worse for the kids than necessary. Sure, it’s a painful time and you are angry. Otlen times you want to punish your ex, but using your kids as pawns in the process will cause irreparable damage to the children. Do not force them to take sides or prove their love for you by defying their other parent. No matter how hard, the best thing you ean do for your kids during a divoree is to remind them that both of their parents love them and will always have a relationship with them.
2. Using Your Attorney As A Therapist
Your attorney may be a wiz when it comes to the law, a compassionate human being and a good listener, but he or she is not a trained mental health professional. Do not forget that all the time you spend complaining to your lawyer about how controlling your ex was during the marriage or how you knew walking down the aisle that it was a bad idea, you are on the clock. That’s a pretty prieey sounding board.
3. Spending $10,000 To Get $1,000
Time and time again, we’ve seen couples make the mistake of fighting to the bitter end about who gets the flat screen, the DVD collection or the frequent flyer miles. But guess what? By the time you pay your lawyers to duke it out, who do you think ends up the winner? That’s right, the lawyers. Don’t be short sighted: Chances are that you are really not fighting about the “thing” anyway, you are just trying to win. Making your lawyers rich off of your refusal to back down is definitely a losing proposition.
4. Taking A Laissez Faire Approach To Your Case
While you don’t want to be that client who calls your attorney every day to inquire about the status of your case, it is not recommended that you just “lie low” during your divorce. Too often divorce cases seem to go on forever, which translates into prolonged emotional turmoil, as well as thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. While it’s true that the court system tends to move slowly, you can do yourself a huge favor by staying on top of your case and holding your attorney accountable for his or her hourly billing and time-line for finishing the case. Rather than lengthy check-in calls or costly visits to the law office, request a weekly e-mail update from your attorney.
5. Refusing To Mediate
We understand that the thought of waving the white flag and sitting down at a conterenee table with your ex in an effort to hash things out civilly may make your skin crawl, but you’d be remiss if you didn’t at least give it a shot. You may not be able to settle all the issues in your case without hearing from the judge, but even knocking out a few issues through mediation can really save you some time and money. Most people who go through mediation report greater satisfaction in the process than traditional divorce proceedings. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that you and your soon-to-be-ex actually agree on some things.
6. Demonizing Your Ex
Not only is it in bad taste to share all the gory details of your spouse’s extramarital sexual escapades with the children, it is hannful to them. When you thrash a child’s mom or dad, you are thrashing a part of them. This is their one and only mom or dad. Whereas you can divorce yourself from the relationship you chose, the children can not. This is their mom or dad for the rest of their lives. Trust us: If your ex is a bad person, your children will discover it on their own. Just remember, they did not marry your spouse, therefore their relationship should remain unencumbered by your relational baggage.
7. Jumping Into A Rebound Relationship
Divorce is one of the most stressful and isolating experiences you could ever go through. It makes sense that you would desire the comfort, emotional connection and fun distraction that a new romantic relationship can offer. Refrain. Refrain because you are nowhere near ready to give another person what they deserve in a relationship. Refrain because your children will be further traumatized by bringing a “new parent” into their lives when they are reeling from the loss of their family stability. Refrain because you will never learn from the mistakes you made in your marriage if you do not take the time to figure out your responsibility in the failure in the relationship. Use this time to rebuild your sense of self and redefine yourself apart from your ex.