Divorce 101: Coping with Your Ex
When you’re going through a divorce, even making it through the day might feel like a small victory. Once you’re on the other side of that divorce, you’re ready to take your first tentative steps on your own. The fact remains, however, that if you have children or a shared social circle, you now have an ex-spouse whom you’ll very likely have to deal with on at least a semi-regular basis. Unfortunately, exes don’t come with instruction manuals, so it’s a good idea to have a game plane for how best to proceed. In general, tread lightly, but be prepared to protect your best interests when necessary.
Keep Face-to-Face Communications to a Minimum
Every divorce is unique, and while some couples divorce amicably and carry on with a lively friendship post-divorce, this is the rare exception rather than the rule. If your divorce is less of a fairytale and more like real-life, proceed with caution. If you share children, you’re going to need to confab with your ex, so set some personal ground rules.
As time goes by, you and your ex will likely find that communicating with each other will become more and more comfortable, but until you find this happy place, your interactions are likely to be fraught with emotion. In the early days, which sometimes seem to go on indefinitely, it’s usually a good idea to limit your communications to those that are strictly necessary and to conduct them through the least personal channels possible. If an email or text will suffice, stick to that. When it’s more time sensitive or complicated, make the call. Limiting face-to-face interactions to picking up and dropping off the kids can save you a lot of heartache in the long run.
When It Comes to Your Kids, Proceed with Caution
In general, it’s best not to include your children in your chain of communication with your ex. First of all, you don’t want your children to feel like they’re being used as a protective barrier between the two of you – or to feel like they should harbor allegiances (one way or the other).
Sometimes, however, it’s useful – and it makes sense – for your children to negotiate with your ex on their own behalves. There’s a lot of gray area on this one. Families are messy, and children are resilient. There are no hard and fast rules here. But if you have something you need to discuss with your ex, don’t finagle it through your children; go directly to the source.
Post-Divorce Emotional Support
If there’s ever a time that you’re going to need emotional support, it’s after a divorce. Look to your family members and trusted friends whom you know you can count on. That’s what friends and family are for; there are also divorce support groups that can be especially beneficial. Remember, too, that your Houston divorce attorney is there to answer your logistical questions and doesn’t expect you to become a divorce expert overnight.
What you don’t want to do is look to your ex for the emotional support you need. While it’s natural to feel the tug of the familiar – after all you were a team throughout your marriage – it’s rarely a good idea to succumb to that inclination. Foster a community in which you and the other members support each other, and you’ll find yourself back on the road to emotional strength and stability.
Get the Support You Need so You Can Be There for Your Kids
It’s vital that you get the support you need so you can be there for your children. As difficult as divorce is on you, it’s even more harrowing – and confusing – for your kids. If you aren’t taking care of your own emotional needs, you’ll be less capable of supporting your kids during these trying times. And cut yourself some slack, no one is looking for perfection here – do the best you can for both yourself and your kids.
Finally, it goes without saying that you should never turn to your children for emotional support. When times get tough, call a friend or family member.
Court-Awarded Financial Support
If the court has awarded you child support or spousal support, that is money that is due you – it is not a gift and it in no way leaves you obligated to your ex (the payor). If your ex intimates that the payments he or she makes to you according to your divorce settlement give him or her leverage, your ex is mistaken. Don’t be bullied or intimidated into abdicating your rights and responsibilities as spelled out in your divorce settlement. If your court-ordered payments aren’t forthcoming, it’s time to contact your Houston family law attorney. Don’t wait for things to fix themselves; they rarely do. Be proactive, and allow your experienced divorce attorney to outline your options.
Maintaining Friendships with Your Ex’s Family Members
You’ve no doubt heard the saying that blood is thicker than water, and divorce is a prime example. No matter how close you and your ex’s family are, it’s usually a good idea to give them some breathing space after the divorce. If nothing else, they don’t want to give the appearance of not fully supporting their own son/daughter/brother/sister. Give them the time and space they need to heal, and you very well may find your way back to a satisfying and rewarding relationship with your ex’s family – especially when children are involved.
Divorce Isn’t a Walk in the Park; You Need a Dedicated Houston Divorce Attorney
If you will have to interact with your ex in the future, you should be sure to protect your rights during your divorce. A divorce settlement or decree that is equitable goes a long way in minimizing future conflict. The dedicated legal team at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C., in Houston, focuses exclusively on divorce and family law, and we’re here for you every step of the way. For a free initial consultation, please contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.