It takes strength to leave an unhappy marriage. People sometimes think of divorce as a failure of sorts, but the reality is that it’s much easier to stay in a dysfunctional relationship and maintain the status quo than it is to leave one and start again.
That being said, there are some mistakes that you don’t want to make on your new-found path to freedom — especially if you have children, including:
1. Airing all their “dirty laundry” in public
It’s one thing to tell your best friend, your therapist and your parents about your spouse’s cheating and other marital failures — but it’s quite another to blast all your private issues all over the neighborhood or on Facebook. Your spouse may not be your spouse much longer — but he or she is still going to be your children’s other parent forever.
The short-term vindication you may get from vilifying your spouse (no matter how justified) isn’t worth the damage you could do to his or her reputation — and your children’s feelings. Imagine for example, how your children may feel if the whole neighborhood suddenly becomes aware that their mother is a gambler, or their father is a drunk and a womanizer? If you kept something private before your divorce for the sake of your family, think twice before you choose to reveal it now.
2. Disparaging their spouse to the children
Before you tell your children what a terrible person their other parent really is, stop and ask yourself why you’re doing it. Are you aiming to protect your children from something or do you just want your children to “pick a side” in the divorce?
Most of the time, it’s better to avoid saying anything negative about your spouse to the children. Otherwise, you could be accused of trying to alienate the children’s affection toward their other parent — which could cost you in a custody battle. At a minimum, you could be accused of failing to foster a healthy relationship between your children and your spouse. If you’re trying to make a case for custody, the court expects you to be proactive about helping your children maintain strong connections with their other parent.
Do you need help navigating the unfamiliar waters you’re in now that you’re unmoored from a bad marriage? Our office can help. Talk to an attorney today about your divorce.