You won’t find the term, “Post-divorce Family” in any law book, and you won’t hear most Judges discuss it. But, it is probably the most important concept in family law, and it will help you and your children if you follow some guidelines.
When people divorce, they try to make provisions for the children but never think that the family they thought they were leaving continues as a viable unit. It’s unfortunate that we don’t recognize this concept because here’s the deal: Even though you are divorced, live in separate houses, get remarried, and have additional children, you still have your original family…and that family unit needs to be acknowledged, loved and nurtured. Strange, isn’t it? You thought you were getting away from all that, but, in reality, you’re not.
So, how to handle it?
Start with a plan that you make before or during the divorce. Put your anger and grief in a compartment that is separate from the other parent and children. Sit down with the family and decide where you’re going and what you want for your children and what you want for the other parent.
A good place to begin is to draft a mission statement—just like a business. After all, this is the business of your family, and you want each person (even if you’re very angry) to succeed. Mostly, you want to set an example for your children so they can become strong, healthy adults.
The Mission Statement will define the expectations of each family member. If you want to read more about this concept, go to Creating Parenting Plans that Work or pick up a copy of my book. It will explain it in greater detail and will get your post-divorce family off to a good start.