by Lisa Bower, from life123.com
Divorce doesn't have to mean hate mail, sleepless nights and other dark-cloud territory. You can approach your divorce with respect, compassion and, yes, love as long as you stay mature and keep a level head.
With a little effort, you might even stay friends with your ex, which is especially important if the two of you have children. The end of marriage does not mean the children should lose either parent. A friendly divorce will help their development and help them heal from the shift in their family.
Talk About the Future
Though your life together has ended, your ex will still affect your future. Consider sitting down to talk to your ex about what each of you wants from the future. Ask yourselves some of the following questions. Do you want to be friends? Is it okay if you each stay in contact with the other person's family? How will visitation work if you have kids? How will you handle new relationships and telling the other person? If you discuss hard issues before they happen, you can pave the way for an amicable divorce.
Tie Up Loose Financial Ends
Nothing says messy divorce like unpaid bills and undivided assets. Make sure the two of you come to a civil agreement about mutual property, return individual items and work out how to pay for joint purchases. Financial business can sink the boat quicker than anything else, and, if these things are worked out as quickly as possible, you will have a better chance of keeping the divorce friendly.
Learn to Be Single
A divorce can be difficult, and you may have forgotten how to be alone. Part of minimizing anger toward your former spouse is to find happiness in your personal life. Remove visible mementos of your marriage from your home. You don't have to throw them away, but you can put them in a box that is out of eyesight. Establish routines that are entirely your own. For example, don't take a walk by the park if this was a nightly routine for you and your ex. Go jogging or try an exercise class instead.
Open the Lines of Communication
The end of a marriage will hurt, and your first instinct might be to cut your ex out of your life or say hurtful things. However, if you avoid this path, you might be able to stay friends with your ex. This person was once a big part of your life, and, chances are, you know them better than anyone else. If you are respectful toward your ex, your split may be less messy.
When it comes to communicating with your ex, do not use your children as messengers. They should never feel like a ping pong ball. Deal directly with your ex, and this will not only keep your ex informed of the children and their lives, but it will also ease the divorce's strain on the children.
Both during and after a divorce, try your best to keep decisions between you and your ex. You don't want to have to enlist a mediator to decide who will get the house or dog. If you can make both small and large decisions without the help of others, you'll have the start to good communication with your ex.
If You Have Children Together
Raising children, even after a divorce, should be a joint effort if both parties agree to it. Your ex will need to be informed of your kids' progress and needs. Establish a routine for communicating about your children, and make sure that each parent has regular contact with their kids.
The age-old saying is true: If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Be sure that you do not criticize or talk negatively about your ex to your children. You do not want to make your kids feel as though they have to choose between parents, and you do not want to turn your kids against the other parent.
Even if you and your ex are no longer married, you still want to make decisions about how to raise your children together and will want to back one another up. For instance, if you have decided that the kids can't have their ears pierced or eat in bed, these rules should still be followed after the divorce. If you make a new rule for your children, be sure to tell the other parent so they can agree, and then they can follow through with it and enforce the rule.
Be open as possible when it comes to raising your children. Additionally, if you and your ex are consistent with the children and present a unified front despite divorce, this will make your children feel supported.
You may be angry with your ex, but don't keep your kids away because of this anger. Children deserve to have both of their parents in their lives.