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Divorce counseling can be helpful

It is commonplace for couples to seek out counseling from a trained therapist when they are having difficulties with their marriage. The marriage therapist can help couples identify and address trouble areas like communication, conflict resolution and other issues. While this might offer solutions you were hoping for, there is also pre-divorce and post-divorce counseling.

Some may wonder if it is a waste of time to go counseling for a marriage that has broken down, but divorce counseling has different goals than marriage counseling. Mainly, it prepares couples for divorce and life after their marriage.

A child's perception of divorce is different

Spouses who choose to file for divorce must address many details before it is finalized. There will likely be some back and forth as the two sides protect their best interests and parental rights. At the same time, the children’s well-being should be the top priority. Part of ensuring that well-being is determining what is most important to the children during and after the divorce.

Well-intentioned parents may wish to share details about the divorce, so the children understand. However, this information should be age-appropriate and avoid the details (sordid or otherwise) of what ended the relationship. Conversely, parents can get caught up in the tangled web of the divorce and try to protect children from these complex issues. This can leave them feeling isolated and can lead them to anger, confusion, sadness, and grief.

Co-parenting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Some state Supreme Courts have already issued statements regarding the operation of the courts in light of the coronavirus. Colorado is one of them, but the only family law issue the court touched on was to say that hearings on motions to restrict parenting time and parental abduction prevention will still be heard. Courts will also hear temporary and permanent protection orders matters. Hearings may take place by telephone.

This pandemic has impacted all our lives. So it is not surprising that divorced parents are concerned about safety, and some are wondering whether it is safe for the children to leave the house or see a parent who recently traveled or was potentially exposed to someone with the virus.

More women are out-earning their husbands

It is increasingly common for women to earn equal pay or be the breadwinner in the family. This should come as no surprise since women have attended college at a higher rate than men in recent years, and they now make up over half the U.S. workforce. According to the Pew Research Center, this near parity arrived within a few generations -- only 3.8% of women earned more than their husbands in 1960. But it is not quite equal yet here in the U.S. - we rank 53 out of a total 153 in equal pay.

Mixed feelings about this

Marital misconduct in Colorado

Colorado is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. This means that there need not be a specific reason or action that causes the marriage to be unsustainable. With this in mind, the courts typically do not look at fault for the marriage’s failure in dividing up marital assets. However, Colorado does allow for marital misconduct to be a factor if there is unfair spending or misuse of those shared assets.

What is economic misconduct?

Setting boundaries when co-parenting

Family experts and the courts agree that co-parenting is the best approach to raising children if the parents file for divorce. Ideally, this will involve effortless planning, seamless transitions between homes, and parents who are on the same page when it comes to goals for raising the children and rules for doing it. The reality, however, is that it will take effort, but it is possible.

It will be necessary to reset the family dynamic in the post-divorce reality. Some family experts believe the best place to start this process is by setting some clear boundaries that will actually be a benefit for all involved. Clear strategies can go a long way towards reducing confusion and stress for both kids and parents.

Breaking the news of your divorce is complex

Making the final decision to file for divorce is difficult, but the hardest part of all may be telling the children. While it will likely take time and patience for them to understand, we expect friends, adult family members and work colleagues to understand and offer empathy when they hear the news.

Unfortunately, they don't always meet expectations. Some will be confused by the news and respond with something that makes little sense. Others will perfectly sum up the circumstances of the split with kind words along the lines of “I’m sorry to hear that, let me know if I can do anything to help.”

Advice for dealing with a lying ex-spouse

Parents may tell white lies for various reasons. It can be continuing the fallacy of Santa Claus, the tooth fairy or Easter bunny. It may be a well-intentioned attempt to shield a teen from unnecessary emotional turmoil. Ideally, these fibs are harmless or protective.

A more harmful example would be an ex-spouse who tells untrue facts about a co-parent to their children or other family members. Typically, there are two versions of the story with the truth somewhere in-between, but the Ethicist column in the New York Times takes the inquiry from a frustrated co-parent at face value.

Theatrics are rarely effective in court

A Kansas man recently made national news when he filed a motion for trial by combat. His goal was to meet his soon to be ex-wife or her lawyer “on the field of battle where he will rend their souls from their corporal bodies.” David Ostrom came upon this unlikely solution after claiming that his wife, Bridget Ostrom, and her lawyer had legally destroyed him.

Ostrom was unhappy with the custody agreement and an obligation to pay property taxes owed. He also requested 12 weeks so he could have a Katana sword and a Wakizashi sword forged for the duel. While he is a fan of Game of Thrones, which may have inspired his request, Ostrom has no experience wielding a sword of any kind.

Tips for coping with a high-conflict divorce

Divorce can be one of the most difficult challenges that any of us ever face. This is especially true if the spouse intentionally or unintentionally makes matters worse with their actions. Perhaps this behavior was the cause of the marriage’s demise, or maybe it's new. Either way, marriage experts and therapists agree that it’s crucial to take steps to protect yourself and your well-being during this unnecessarily difficult process.

7 issues to consider

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