5 Common Thoughts After Marriage Separation & Divorce

Everyone has their own way of coping with divorce. This includes telling ourselves certain things that can inhibit our healing and prevent us from moving on.

Here are 5 common thoughts that newly separated or divorced people have, and why they shouldn’t:

1. “I hate not having my kids around all of the time. I feel guilty.”

In reality, everyone can benefit from free time, whether it be to get errands done, or just to have a break to relieve stress. You shouldn’t feel guilty about having time away from your kids – it can actually make you a better parent. Use this time to spend alone, with friends, working out, enjoying hobbies, and the like.  Most parents can only wish they had more time to themselves!

2.  “I’m never going to meet anyone else. I hate dating.”

Way too often (married or not), people stay with their partner out of fear that they will not meet anyone else.  This is one of the worst reasons to stay with someone.  There is always a chance to meet someone else that you can be happy with, but that will never happen if you stay in your bad relationship.  When it comes to dating, you have to be positive and patient. Not everyone you meet will be a great match for you, but the most important thing is that you are putting yourself out there and trying!  The more dates you go on, the sooner you will find someone you click with.

3. “My ex ruined my life.”

They did not ruin your life because you still have your whole life ahead of you – one that will be full of new experiences, people, and fun times.  This was one chapter of your life, and you still have the whole book to explore. Be grateful of all of the good times that you had with your ex and for everything you learned from the relationship.  It’s important to take responsibility for your part in the relationship and do what you need to do to become a happier person NOW.  That could include counselling, dating new people, travelling, meeting new people, and so on. Dwelling on the past will not help you heal.

4. “My kids will know how badly they treated me!”

Be the bigger person and refrain from talking poorly about your ex to your children.  Divorce is extremely hard for kids to experience and the last thing they need is to feel like they are caught in the middle or have to dislike your ex to make you happy.  In the long run, you will feel better that you took this approach.

5. “Everyone knows the divorce was not my fault.”

There are always two sides to every story, and it’s simply best not to care what other people think or to try to sway their opinion.  It will actually reflect worse on you if you are constantly putting your ex down.  Sure, it is one thing to vent to friends, but keep it to a minimum. Remember, the less negativity you put out there, the more people will want to be around you…and you need your friends for support!

Do you know of someone considering separation or divorce? Do you need to talk to a divorce lawyer? Call Rahul.  He helps clients in Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey, and area.



















Tips for Stepparenting in Blended Families After Divorce

If you are divorced with kids, chances are good that you will find yourself in a blended family situation one day.  When at least one person in the relationship brings biological children into a new relationship, it can become stressful for all parties.  Not to mention the troubles that may arise when a stepparent tries to discipline their step child. It is important not to blend your families with unrealistic expectations.  It definitely takes time for everyone to adjust, and understandably so.

In a first marriage, the focus is all on you and your partner. In a second marriage, it is more about the kids.  If you try to force a “new family”, chances are, it will not work out well.  Kids of divorce can definitely take more time warming up to you than you may have hoped.  There is also the possibility of them acting out more because they are still hurt from the divorce and it can be very difficult for children to see one of their parents with someone new.  They may perceive it as someone trying to take their mother or father’s place and may also feel that if they show that they like the stepparent, that they may hurt the feelings of their mother or father.

Here are some tips for effective stepparenting:

(1) Support the biological parent

Step-relationships need time to develop.  This is not something that can happen overnight. Let the biological parent make the decisions when it comes to their child.  Leave the disciplinary role to them and just be their support system.  This will alleviate stress on both the child and your partner.  Instead, look for ways you can bond with the child such as being interested in their hobbies.  Treat this new relationship as you would a new friendship.  Find things to do together that you both enjoy.  These are the types of things that will help grow and strengthen your relationship. As the saying goes, you get more bees with honey than vinegar!

(2) Refrain from trying to be “better than” their biological mother or father

People often think they just need to find ways to one-up the child’s biological parent to get them to like them – such as buying them nice gifts or siding with the child when they are upset.  It is extremely important to never speak badly about the child’s mom or dad.  This can be difficult if your partner is at war with their ex, but children are very impressionable and will remember what you said.  Their loyalty remains with their biological parents after all.  You have to respect that connection.  You may be in a relationship with their mother or father, but that doesn’t give the right to act like their mother or father.  Just focus on being present in the child’s life vs. being overbearing or trying to be “the hero” and fix things from the hurt of the divorce.

(3) Let your partner spend quality time alone with their child

If you are always around, the child may feel like they can’t be themselves, or talk about things they really want to talk about because they may not feel comfortable enough if you are present.  They want to feel like they still have their parent … and not only when their new stepmother or stepfather is around.  This can also lead to resentment. You don’t want the child to feel like they have been displaced by someone else.  Ideally, you would encourage your spouse to do activities with their child alone on the weekends etc. They will appreciate you for being understanding and supportive vs. feel like they are being pulled in two different directions.

(4) Be loving regardless of how you truly feel about your stepkids

Every situation is different, depending on what happened to cause the divorce, how old the kids are, what type of relationship their have with their biological mother and father, etc.  Understand how hard it can be to allow a stepparent into their life…and how hard it can be to adjust to this situation.  They may come across as being disrespectful towards you and you may think that they don’t like you, but in many cases, they just don’t like the situation and that is their way of acting out.  If you react to them in a negative way, it will only create a larger barrier between you.  If you show them that you are loving no matter what, chances are much better that they will eventually come around and like you.  Remember, these are kids…as adults, it is key to set a good example and take the high road when it comes to disagreements or uncomfortable situations.  Put yourself in their shoes and be sympathetic to what they are going through.

You can develop wonderful relationships with your stepkids – it is possible and something you should strive for. You are married to their mother / father after all.  Wouldn’t life be so much better if you put the effort towards fostering healthy relationships with each other? The key is to be patient, mature, understanding, positive, and committed to making it work.

Need to talk to a divorce lawyer? Call Rahul at Clean Divorce.  He helps clients in Vancouver, New Westminster, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Richmond, Surrey, and area.



Questions Kids Ask Parents About Separation or Divorce

The word “divorce” can be one of scariest words that a child will ever hear. Even if it is obvious to the child that the situation at home is not going well, kids never really want to think of a future without their mother and father living in the same house. It evokes feelings of stress, sadness, and confusion.

To make this process as positive as possible, you need to establish open communication.  This is key because it opens the door for kids to express their feelings and ask questions. If they know that you welcome their questions and feedback, it will definitely alleviate their stress and worry, as compared to having to keep everything to themselves and wonder what the future holds. Also, ensure that they understand that it is normal for them to have an emotional response to the divorce.

Kids should also be encouraged to voice their concerns to people close to them that they can trust, aside from parents, which may include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings. It is also a good idea to make sure that they know that they are not the only ones going through this. You likely have other relatives or family friends who have gone through separation or divorce, which you could use as examples that may help them relate.

When you and your spouse decide to separate or divorce, you should expect your child to ask these types of questions:

  • Why are you getting divorced?
  • Was this my fault?
  • Do I still have a family?
  • Will my parents both love me after the divorce?
  • How often will I see my mom/dad?
  • Who will I (and my siblings) live with?
  • Are we going to move?
  • Will I always feel this bad?
  • How long is the divorce going to take?
  • Are you going to get remarried?

The more confidence you have in your answers, the more at ease your child will feel. This is why it is very important to be prepared with what you are going to say prior to telling them about the separation or divorce. The goal is to avoid as much uncertainty as possible.

After your initial discussion, ensure that you check in with your child ongoing to see how they are feeling, if they have any questions, and to ensure that their school work is not suffering from the stress of the situation. Also, remember that divorce is between the adults, not the children. You should never speak ill of the other parent in front of the children. It almost always leads to the children feeling the stress of the situation and taking the blame for it.

It is crucial to make your child feel as though their thoughts and feelings are important and that their voice counts!

An excellent Canadian publication “What happens next?” provides useful information for children about what to expect from their parents’ separation or divorce.

In Collaborative Divorce, the goal is to reduce the negative effects of your separation or divorce on your children as much as possible. Call Rahul for a FREE 20-minute consultation to discuss why this would be a smart choice for the well-being of your family.



5 Tips for Telling Kids You Are Separating or Getting a Divorce

Separation or Divorce is not easy.  What can make it even more difficult is when children are involved.  It is very common for parents to struggle as to how they are going to explain their separation / divorce to their kids.

Here are 5 tips for telling your kids that you are separating / getting a divorce:

(1.) Do not say anything until you are 100% sure you are separating. This may seem obvious, but when people get in the heat of the moment, it is easy to say things prematurely.  It can be very scary and stressful for kids to even hear the word “divorce”, and for those reasons, you don’t want to plant this seed of possibility in their minds.  Once that happens, they will be aware that divorce has crossed your mind and could have ongoing fear that it could be a possibility in the future. When you have decided that you are definitely separating, it is crucial to not say anything to your children until you and your partner have both agreed that you will tell the children.  Avoid putting your partner in the position where they could be caught off guard.

(2.) Maintain a unified front.
Discuss in detail with your partner how you are going to communicate the separation or divorce to your kids, including why you are separating, and what they can expect from the divorce.  It will ease their anxiety if they are getting the same message from both of you.  This does not necessarily mean that you agree on everything, but try your best to stay on the same page. It would also a great idea for both parents to express that the other parent will always be their parent and love them, but that you just don’t get along as a couple.

(3.) Stay away from the blame game.
This can place severe pressure on your kids to feel like they have to take sides.  Just as you wouldn’t want your partner to speak badly of you or tell your kids about your faults that may have lead up to this decision, you shouldn’t do that to them either.  It is very unhealthy for kids to feel like someone is to blame, and this can lead to a breakdown in parent-child relationships that could potentially last a lifetime.  The key is to stay neutral in your language when discussing your partner with your kids.

(4.) Ensure your children know they did not cause this. For their own well-being, kids need to be told directly that they have nothing to do with your decision to divorce.  If you avoid being clear about this, they could carry around the weight of wondering if they are to blame or if they did something wrong to cause this.  Explaining to kids that you grew apart, but that no one is to blame for this would be a good approach to take.  After all, you and your spouse know why you are divorcing.  Your children don’t need to be kept in the loop about every detail.  The less they know, the less they have to worry about.

(5.) Be clear on school and living arrangements
. Questions about school and where they are going to live are guaranteed to come up. The more specific you are about this, the more you can alleviate their stress.  However, it is key to stick to what you tell them and avoid making promises that you are not sure you will be able to keep just to appease them in the short term.

By following these tips, you can help make the painful process of divorce more emotionally comforting for your children.

In Collaborative Divorce, the goal is to reduce the negative effects of your separation or divorce on your children as much as possible. Call Rahul for a FREE 20-minute consultation to discuss why Collaborative Divorce would be a smart choice for your family.