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Can you really keep things civil during a divorce?

Paul Banas
Author Paul Banas
Submitted 30-04-2012

Unfortunately, divorce is an all-too-common reality for many modern families. Many marriages end in separation or divorce, leaving many fathers wondering what lies ahead in the uncertain future. While marriages fail for all sorts of reasons – some messier than others – it's important that you don't allow your strained relationship with your soon-to-be-ex to trickle down to your children. Despite what happens, you will always be their father, so you need to conduct yourself accordingly. Here are some tips for maintaining a civil dialogue so as not to make matters worse for your kids.

Only discuss details when appropriate
Whether or not you and your partner are on relatively good terms, there will inevitably be arguments and conflicts surrounding your divorce process. While working out details like alimony, child custody and splitting up shared property are necessary steps, keep those heated conversations away from your little ones. Consider establishing a rule that when your children are around, any messy divorce talk should be postponed.

Give each other some space
If you're still living with your ex, it may be difficult to see her on a daily basis without entering into some kind of conflict – whether it's an explosive argument or trading passive aggressive comments. To keep tensions low, consider giving each other some space for a while as the divorce runs its course. You can stay in a nearby hotel for a night or two or just set up camp in a separate part of the house.

Involve your children
Of course, divorce is too big a subject to be completely hidden from your kids. Eventually, you'll have to break the bad news to them, and you should be prepared to have a lengthy conversation helping them understand the "whys" and "hows" of the situation. You and your spouse should use this opportunity to remind your children how much you love them, that you will always love them and eventually things will begin to get better.

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