10 Things Parents Should Avoid In A Divorce

Sep 12, 2016

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were more than 2.1 million marriages in 2014 and more than 800,000 divorces.
Credit Nokdie / Flickr - CC

At the beginning of most marriages, divorce is likely the last thing on the bride and groom's minds. Unfortunately, with divorce rates hovering around 40 percent, a separation is something a lot of couples will have to navigate at one point or another.

To help make that transition as amicable as possible, licensed psychologist Wes Crenshaw and divorce lawyer Ron Nelson shared ten tips with KCUR's Up To Date host, Steve Kraske.

10. Don't delay the divorce

If things are really bad between parents, it's best to part ways while kids are still young (and more adaptable), and before relations become too acrimonious.

9. Don't blow things out of proportion

In the heat of the moment, it's easy to connect everything to the divorce but some problems would have happened anyway. Kids can be pretty resilient, and not everything bad is an emergency.

8. Don't go without a schedule

To avoid potential fights over every little detail, it's best to start out with a schedule, even if it needs some modification down the road.

7. Don't neglect your children's best interests

Just because an agreement about child support or parenting time is fair to the parents, does not mean it is what's best for the kids.

6. Don't radically restructure the parenting system

There's plenty of adjustment going on already, so try to avoid the temptation to throw everything out the window. Unsustainable changes now won't make up for mistakes in the past.

5. Don't move on too quickly

Children need time to grieve a divorce and stabilize after the transition, so be sure to build-in that time for them.

4. Don't vilify the other parent

Heaping blame on the other parent is not a good way to gain favor with the children or the courts. It is a good way to project insecurity and confuse the kids.

3. Don't change the parent/child dynamic

It's natural to feel rejected during a divorce, but lonely parents need to avoid treating their kids like a support system.

2. Don't punish the other parent

Hiring a "pit bull" attorney to exact revenge sets a bad example, and encourages confrontation instead of collaboration during the divorce.

1. Don't forget that interaction with kids and the other parent is life-long

Getting caught up in the moment is easy to do but, no matter how impassioned things are now, your relationship with your partner won't end just because the marriage did. Think and plan for the future.

Luke X. Martin is a freelance contributor for KCUR 89.3 and an associate producer for 'Up To Date.' He can be reached at luke@kcur.org.