For some reason, Valentine’s Day brings on lots of articles about divorce. Jonathan Clements (no relation) wrote an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal about his “fairly successful” divorce.
Success, he properly points out, does not mean he took his ex-wife to the cleaners or that he extracted every concession he could from her. To Clements, a successful divorce means that while he and his ex are not best friends, they each benefit from having a civil relationship in which they both get to share in the joys and pains of raising their children.
Clements, armed with the perspective of looking backwards, offers some invaluable divorce tips:
Avoid the legal arms race because it will hurt both of you.
As you negotiate a settlement, every dollar of legal costs incurred likely means 50 cents out of your pocket. Trust me: There are cheaper ways to work through your anger.
Having the ex-spouse around the corner might seem uncomfortably close.
But if you have children, it probably means you will see less of your former spouse. There are no awkward drop-offs and pickups. Instead, the kids just walk back and forth.
Maintain a reservoir of goodwill, because you’ll need it.
It will be your week with the kids, your boss will have other plans — and you may need your ex-spouse to bail you out.
If your ex ends up with a little more money in the divorce or goes on to do well financially, don’t let it eat away at you.
In all likelihood, your children will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
Think of your relationship with your ex-spouse as a business relationship.
Forget the bad blood. Ignore stuff that isn’t your business. Instead, focus on the task at hand, which is raising the children.
Divorce is a process- it is not an end result. At the end of the process, you may want and even need your ex to help nurture, support and even discipline the children.
Bottom line- burning bridges during the divorce may later preclude you from sharing in the joys and responsibilities of being a parent. .