Divorce Do's and don'tsDon’t key your ex-spouse car; you will end up with a protective order and more complications and possibly put your parenting time at risk with irrational behavior. 

Don’t put your child in the middle of the divorce. Your children are innocent victims.

Don’t withhold parenting time because child support isn’t paid; there is no correlation between the two.

Don’t criticize your ex-spouse in front of the children. Have confidence in your relationship and experiences with your children.

Don’t use your children as a therapist.  They are not sophisticated enough to handle the stress. Talk to friends or get a therapist through this difficult time.

Don’t represent yourself. Get an attorney; he will help you understand the current laws and your rights. Be sure to get an attorney that is experienced in family law. You will save money having an experienced lawyer.

Don’t depend upon your memory. Keep two journals. One that documents exchanges with your ex and another to write your feelings and emotions.  The first journal can be used in court to document parental alienation or other threatening experiences between you and your ex-spouse.

Don’t pay your child support or reimbursements late. Always pay on time. The court will consider your consistency and responsibility. Don’t give the other side an opportunity to complain.

Don’t start new habits in your life to appease the pain. Don’t start drinking or drugs at this time in your life. Do pick up new hobbies and friendships to help you through this difficult time. A charge with a DUI or drug possession will make you vulnerable and may interfere with your parenting rights.

Don’t bring a lot of new partners or companions into the lives of your children. Date when you do not have your children.  Be very careful before deciding to introduce your children to individuals you are dating. Don’t have new companions spend the night when your children are there. This is stressful on the kids and we have seen clients that have jeopardized their parenting time by bringing a unscrupulous companion around.

Don’t pick up or drop off your children late. Always be on time and keep your promises to them. Be consistent with your visitation and relationship with your children.

Don’t use the children as messengers between you and your ex-spouse. This will make them nervous and stressed which is inappropriate to give them your burdens.

Don’t make your children feel like a guest in your home. Help them to feel that your home is their home. Obtain beds, beddings, pillows, clothes, toys and necessities for them to feel comfortable.

Don’t make your children feel guilty about adult problems. Realize that your children have their own lives. Support them in their interests and friendships.

Don’t rehash things from the past with your ex-spouse. Learn from the mistakes and move on.  Focus on what is best for your children.

Don’t manipulate your ex-spouse, try to be a new partner in raising your children.

Don’t overreact to your emotions. Try to give yourself time before making decisions or responding to requests.Analyze what would be the best approach to solve a problem. Never use threats or ultimatums to get your way. Never use physical force or domestic violence to get your way. You will end up with a protective order. Always be in control.

Don’t try to manage all of your emotions by yourself Talk to your attorney about your legal options. Talk to a therapist. If needs be get on medication to help you through this difficult transition. Your moods and anger will reflect and stress your children.  As you take care of yourself, you take care of your children.