What Every Parent Should Know Before Filing for Divorce

Loving your kids & knowing their safe is priceless

Welcome to my final installment in this series of posts, What Every Parent Should Know Before Filing for Divorce. You can review my prior posts by clicking https://thereslifeafterdivorce.com/blog. Today’s installment is simply – What Ever The Issue Was That Brought You To Divorce, Won’t Be Fixed By The Divorce. It truly is that simple. A divorce only changes the legal status of the parents (refer to my #2 blog post – Divorce is a Legal Fiction for background), the divorce does not change the spouse. The divorce will not change how controlling your ex is, it won’t change how irresponsible your ex is, it won’t change how mean or even violent your ex is, and it certainly won’t make an alcoholic or drug addict sober. Every Parent Should Know (and Accept) this reality Before Filing for Divorce. I once had a potential new divorce client consult with me a few years ago. Her divorce had been final for less than a year. Recently during a time-sharing visit with the couple’s children, one of them walked into the room when their father was having sex with his new girlfriend. My potential new divorce client was furious and completely appalled by her ex-husband’s “antics” and she wanted an immediate parenting plan modification.

Understandably, this client was upset. Understandably, she was concerned about the lasting effects on the child’s psyche of having walked in on an x-rated adult activity. Of course, he wasn’t married to this woman, and therefore, this client was appropriately concerned with the moral implications of having to discuss the child’s father’s sex act outside of marriage. All of that being true and very real. But, the reality was that I felt helpless to take her case on that basis alone. Here’s why.

I asked her about the marriage and what drove the couple to divorce. Her ex-husband had had several affairs with several different women over the years. She ended the marriage after catching him in the act in their bedroom. Like a lot of divorcing parents, she assumed that the court would grant her “full custody.” She was wrong. Her ex-husband was awarded equal time-sharing. I’ll explain why in a future post. So, now she had to accept the fact that the children would be exposed to this philandering husband’s sexual appetite now without her there to protect the children. That reality hit her like a ton of bricks. She actually, through her tears and red face said, “my children were better off had I never filed for divorce.” I felt terrible for her. Now, those children’s lives, post-divorce, for half their lives were forever going to be spent competing with their father’s girlfriend du jour and his poor judgment. The ex-husband having followed the court-ordered parenting plan to a “T,” was not at risk of losing time-sharing simply for this one incident, which with any luck would be isolated.

I tell this story to illustrate the following – your spouse’s behavior won’t change during or after divorce and your children may now be with your ex half the time without you being able to protect them. As a divorce attorney, I’m not suggesting to stay unhappily married. To the contrary, every human deserves to live free and pursue happiness. What I am suggesting is to consider the reason why you want a divorce and consider that you may lose the ability to control your children’s environment for half of their lives. If filing for divorce still seems like the only viable way to achieving your goals, then file. But, if you can endure an unhappy marriage until the children are old enough to self-protect or are 18, then you should consider such. Please hear me: I’m not suggesting that anyone stay in an abusive, degrading, controlling, detrimental, and downright miserable situation. If you find yourself in an abusive marriage (physical, emotional, mental), then you have an obligation to protect your children first, get to safety, and leave the marriage. But for situations less than the above, I’m suggesting you consider the reasons you’re leaving before you file to ensure it’s the right direction to take.

Thank you for your time and reading my blogs. For legal representation for a divorce or family law case in the State of Florida visit www.sharpdyelaw.com. For divorce coaching, please contact me through this site.

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Divorce is much more than a legal matter to you and your family. We understand this intimately and would be honored to provide you with direction, emotional support, and an unbiased opinion to help you come up with a game plan.

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