Surprisingly, divorce or separation can be easier than you think if you’re willing to learn from other people’s mistakes.

As you embark on this journey, consider the following questions:

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How many parents do you think have no regrets about how they approached their divorce? 

If given the opportunity, how many people would have done things differently? 

Do most people look back on their divorce and think they should have spent more money on lawyers, been angrier with their ex, or engaged in more conflict? 

Why do people so often ignore the lessons from others’ mistakes and make decisions that negatively impact their future? Simple. When a parent operates from a position of anger or resentment, predictably, they disregard the indelible impact their decisions have on their children. No loving parent wants to inflict pain on their children, but they often unintentionally do just that.

The satisfaction a parent may experience through short-sighted decisions is no more than instant gratification — choosing that immediate sensation over the long-term consequences. Instead, consider a long view of what you want your life to look like.

Three, five, or ten years from now, do you want a life filled with:

  • Conflict and animosity
  • High-stress
  • Regrets

Or, do you want to have a life in which:

  • You can — if not be friends with your ex — at least be civil and cooperative
  • Your actions and behaviors provide positive modeling for your children
  • Your children are well-adjusted, happy and free of resentment because you acted in alignment with their interests and needs
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About Mark Baer & Jeremy Kossen

Mark BaerMark Baer is a lawyer, mediator and conflict resolution consultant. He has decades of experience in family law and has crafted a reputation within the industry for his psychologically-minded and child-centered approach.

Mark is also a well-known writer and columnist for a number of publications on the interplay between psychology and conflict resolution within the field of family law, as well as familial and interpersonal relationships in general. He has had a regular “Psychology and Family Law” column in the San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association’s award-winning bimonthly newsletter since 2008. A member of Psychology Today’s expert community, Mark also has a blog column titled “Empathy and Relationships: Fostering Genuine Open-Mindedness.” He is also a HuffPost Blogger and a number of those blog articles have been referenced in books, law review articles, by evidence-based public policy think tanks, and elsewhere. Mark has written extensively for a number of other publications, as well. His material has been used and shared by law school professors, and by some of the highest ranked dispute resolution organizations in the country, such as the Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law and the Harvard Negotiation & Mediation Clinical Program at Harvard Law School.

He has also presented on several occasions at the California Psychological Association Convention, the American Bar Association Section of Family Law CLE Conference, and the Southern California Mediation Association Conference, among other such organizations.