Whether or not to stay friends with your ex after your divorce is not as simple as a yes or no. There are many factors to consider and whether you have children together is just one of them.
If you don’t have children together, then whether to stay friends boils down to whether or not you both want to be friends and whether it’s healthy for both of you.
Why did you get divorced? If you got divorced because you figured out that you like each other but you don’t love each other, then being friends is probably a great solution. If you got a divorce because of abuse, then it’s not likely in anyone’s best interest to remain friends. Is that really a friendship? In fact, the desire to remain friends with your abuser is something best worked out with the gentle guidance of a therapist. If you are the abuser, attempting to maintain a relationship with the person you abused could cause additional legal ramifications for you down the road.
When divorce includes children, you have a co-parent, not just an ex-spouse. Your children didn’t divorce your spouse, you did. They will continue to have a relationship with their other parent. How you two choose to proceed affects not just your lives but their lives.
Consider every choice you make as a lesson for your children. They are watching their parents to learn how to move through the world with relationships. They are observing both of you and how you two behave will shape how they behave in the future.
What’s best for your children is for them to experience as little disruption as possible with their lives. There will be baseball games, school plays, graduations, holidays, weddings… there are so many events in a child’s life that they want to share with their parents. To have to choose or have their parents choose in or out of each event can be confusing and heartbreaking.
It’s best if you and your ex can maintain a civil enough relationship that your child can have you both at all their events. They deserve to enjoy their events without being subjected to any negativity you each might be feeling. If you and your ex are friends with each other, that’s a bonus. Your children will benefit from the joy of having you both at all their functions and know that everyone is happy.
If you and your ex are friends, you can share holidays together and spend time with your child together in more casual ways like over dinner or going to movies together. All of these types of interactions help minimize the disruption to your child’s life.
Of course, there are benefits to each of you, as well. Just because it turns out that you aren’t compatible for marriage, doesn’t mean that you hate each other. Some people just aren’t a good fit as life partners. The personality traits that initially attracted you to each other are still there and you can still enjoy each other’s company and forge a new relationship based on friendship.
Divorce doesn’t have to be ugly. Some couples even share an attorney and opt for a more collaborative approach to divorce. If you and your ex anticipate being able to agree on most things, choosing an attorney who can compassionately guide you through the complicated legal process of divorce while helping you maintain your friendship is a good choice.
Boyd Law has the expertise and compassion to help you respectfully work through your differences to reach a divorce settlement that protects your interest and your friendship.