Divorces are not simply legal separations–they’re emotional ones too.
During and after a divorce, you and your (ex)spouse need to create healthy boundaries that help you navigate legal and familial situations.
This is especially important if you have children and will be co-parenting with your ex-spouse in the future. But even if you have no kids with your partner, creating legal, emotional, and financial boundaries will help you get through the divorce process with as little confusion and miscommunication as possible.
Creating Healthy Boundaries During and After Divorce
Usually, a divorce means one person moves out of the previously shared home. However, for various reasons, including financial, this isn’t always possible. In this case, it is especially important to discuss boundaries around living arrangements with your ex-partner. Clearly delineate which areas are shared and which are not, and discuss schedules.
If you have children, you and your spouse should discuss where the children will be living during and after the process.
Finances can be a difficult topic to talk about during a divorce, but it is crucial to ensure that you have access to your money at all times. As soon as you agree to divorce your spouse, creating a checking and savings account that is separate from them. You should also look into applying for new credit cards and closing shared ones.
Children and Co-parenting
During and after a divorce, you and your spouse will probably share parenting responsibilities. Establishing clear boundaries around this is key to making sure that your children are happy and healthy.
You should discuss household rules that children must follow with either parent, but recognize that you cannot control the other person and their parenting choices. Part of setting up boundaries is relinquishing some of this control, so be flexible with your co-parent about parenting styles. The most important thing here is that your children are getting the care they need.
Though a custody agreement will likely be drawn up during your divorce proceedings, you may need to establish an informal agreement while the divorce is happening. Create a clear schedule detailing who will have the kids and when. You may also want to choose a neutral, public location to drop off the kids if your divorce is contentious.
Communicating while married and communicating while divorced are very different, so be prepared to set up new boundaries about communication. Depending on you and your spouse, you may choose to communicate rarely and only about the children. This is up to you, but remember to respect your ex-spouse’s time and schedule by keeping communication quick and formal.
Divorce doesn’t only affect your relationship with your spouse. It will impact friends, family, and future romantic relationships as well. You may have some friends who drift away from you and remain close to your spouse, or you might have some who remain friends with both of you. Whatever the case, establish boundaries with friends and loved ones about things like whether you want news or updates about your spouse.
Divorces are difficult–there’s no way around it. But establishing clear, healthy boundaries is crucial to ensuring that you can move forward with your life after your divorce.
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