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Entries in Divorce (3)


Life Transitions: Divorce, Mortgages and Buying a Home

Brad Avergon of Envision Bank on the impacts of divorce and mortgages


Episode 34 - Heather O'Connor on Divorce Realities

Family law attorney Heather O’Connor on some of the harsh realities of divorce


Divorce Living Arrangements

“I want a divorce, I want to be free.”

Those words, spoken by my (now ex) wife over dinner at a nearby establishment, started a process challenging me as a man and a father.

At that time in Massachusetts, most mothers got to have sole custody of the children.  I couldn’t stomach the thought of being a Disneyland Dad, seeing my kids for dinner once or twice during the week, and then every other weekend. 

My mind raced….are you serious?  Why?  What about the kids?  What about the house?  What about the debt?  What about….

Kids don’t get a vote in their parents’ divorce.  It is thrust on them, decided by someone else, and having an immediate impact on them.

“Here’s the ‘wife of my life’ declaring war,” went through my mind.  At a time when communication was key, communications was immediately strained and tense.

To our credit, we agreed whatever our “baggage” was, we would minimize the impact on the kids.  They would obviously have impacts, and many of them.

We agreed to approach this in a manner we thought would help the kids.  We would get a single room somewhere, and we would move in and out of the house.

Rather than immediately getting separate residences, and having the kids shuttled around or worse, we agreed the kids would stay put and we would move in and out.

So, every Sunday at 5PM the official switch took place.

Please don’t think for a minute this is a perfect solution for everyone.  It worked for us because we agreed to minimize the impact on the children.

It was hard on each of us, and certainly hard on the kids.  Yet they slept in their own bed each night, and their pets (guinea pig, Chinese water dragon, and dog) didn’t have to move either.  Schools were never an issue as the children’s residence didn’t change.  Wardrobes remained the same.

We had to try hard to not have the kids be the communications conduit for us (“tell your mom….”) 

Some norms had to be set….the house had to be reasonably clean, lawn mowed, laundry caught up…in other words we couldn’t drop all the chores on the other parent.

Was it perfect?  Absolutely not.  It challenging for each parent (whether we were in the house or not.)

It worked for us solely because we agreed to minimize the impact on the kids during a time of high impact.

Since so many people immediately move out, an alternative approach just might be useful.

From time to time I’ll share some fatherhood insights on divorce, as sadly parenting through divorce is something we all need to talk about.  Please feel free to share your experiences.