Establishing firm boundaries during a divorce will make the whole process easier.
You need to establish separate households, open individual bank accounts and credit cards, clearly specify access to the children, set co-parenting guidelines, agree on communication rules, maintain self-control, deal with your family and friends, admit your part in the divorce, and decide about having sex with your spouse while divorcing.
Generally, one spouse moves out of the house during a divorce. If the couple can’t afford two homes, try using separate bedrooms and different schedules. Eventually each spouse will need separate living arrangements, so one should move out as soon as possible. It’s also helpful to give your spouse notice before entering the family home, even to pick up the children.
New Bank Accounts
Open separate checking and savings accounts once you decide to divorce so you both have access to cash. Apply for a separate credit card and try to agree about support payments during the divorce.
Access to Children
Sharing the children during a divorce can be a touchy issue. It won’t be a problem if you can communicate, but transferring the children can be a problem in high-conflict cases. Use a neutral location for the exchange if necessary.
Each parent has the right to establish his or her own household rules involving the children. It’s best to agree if possible, but you must recognize that the other parent has the right to make his or her own decisions about parenting. Be flexible and allow each parent to handle discipline in their own way.
Respect your spouse and don’t abuse communications. Phone calls should be business-like and kept to a minimum. Don’t phone in the middle of the night to harass your spouse and don’t make demands. Maintain communications boundaries so you don’t end up being manipulated or bothered.
Control your own behavior and emotions at all times. You won’t feel good about yourself if you get upset and have a fight. Take the high-road during the divorce. Your children will feel bad when they see their parents fighting so don’t do it.
Family and Friends
Don’t be surprised if some of your friends drift away or choose to be with your spouse during the divorce. Listen to your attorney and ignore your family when they give conflicting advice. Stay close to your family for support, but don’t expect them to make you happy. They have their own life to lead.
Admit Your Own Problems
Take responsibility for your own part in the failed marriage–don’t blame it all on your spouse. It won’t help to believe it’s all his or her fault, because that’s rarely the case. However, don’t accept blame for things that aren’t your fault.
What About Sex?
Some spouses continue to have sex during the divorce. They often hope sex will bring them closer together and rekindle the old spark of love so they can avoid the divorce. Other couples just like having sex with a familiar partner. That may be a mistake, because having sex with your spouse postpones the grieving process and may make it more difficult for you to start a new life on your own after the divorce is finished.
It’s important to have separate living spaces during a divorce. Often that means one person moves out of the family home, but sometimes separate bedrooms and separate schedules are necessary for financial reasons. Individual bank accounts and credit cards are helpful. Access to the children works best if you are flexible, but maintain a predictable schedule. Children need times when it’s okay to call the other parent. During a divorce, each spouse has the right to establish their own household rules. It helps to agree if you can, but don’t try to control each other–it won’t work. Communicate in a business-like manner and respect each other’s privacy. Maintain your dignity during the divorce and take the high-road at all times. Don’t become emotional or get upset–it will generally make things worse. Your family can be a source of comfort and support, but they may give unwanted advice and criticism. Listen to them, but follow your attorney’s advice. Both spouses have some responsibility for a failed marriage, so don’t blame each other for everything. If you believe sex will being you closer to reconciliation, that’s your decision. But, be aware that having sex with your spouse during a divorce will postpone the grieving process and probably won’t lead to a reconciliation.