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Denver Divorce Law Blog

The pros and cons of seeking marriage counseling

We frequently observe that no two marriages are exactly alike. As a result, there is no one “right” way to determine whether or not a marriage should come to an end. Many couples seek guidance on this issue from marriage counselors. If you are considering counseling, you certainly may benefit from it. However, it is important to think carefully about the counseling process before you commit to this investment in your marriage.

Marriage counseling can help spouses to articulate their problems. In many cases, this process can aid couples in working through them. Sometimes the marriage counseling process is completed when a couple feels confident in their union again. Other times, couples conclude that they should separate or divorce. If a clear resolution is reached and participants feel confident that they are making the healthiest decision for them, counseling can be tremendously beneficial.

A few reminders co-parents can benefit from

Co-parenting can be a crazy adventure. It can be a frustrating experience or an enriching one on any given day. Because any co-parenting relationship can produce a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, it is generally helpful for co-parents to frequently remind themselves of what their values and priorities are. It can become much easier to focus on the task of advancing a child’s best interests if such reminders are frequent and easy to digest.

For example, it can be helpful to keep a picture of your child near the phone and near the computer. That way, if communication with your co-parent starts to get heated, you can focus on your child’s picture and remember the true goal of your communication. Is inflaming the tension between you and your co-parent serving the best interests of your child, whose endearing face is right in front of you? If not, that reminder can help you to calm down and re-focus the conversation.

Are you divorcing a narcissist?

The label “narcissist” tends to be thrown around quite a bit in American culture. This term has become a popular way to describe someone who is selfish or self-involved. It is important to understand that true narcissism is actually a personality disorder. People living with this personality disorder may have a difficult time maintaining healthy relationships. Individuals who are loved ones of narcissists may be exposed to emotionally abusive behaviors by the narcissist. Therefore, when one is divorcing a true narcissist, it is important to have an empathetic attorney and a strong support system.

Narcissists tend to be very loving and extremely charming at the beginning of relationships. They are prone to invest in grand gestures that can touch the hearts of basically anyone. However, as a relationship progresses, narcissists tend to behave as if they are incapable of wrongdoing, that the other person’s needs and wants do not matter and that conversations are completely one-sided. It can therefore be uniquely challenging to seek a fair divorce settlement when one is divorcing a narcissist.

Divorce planning: don’t forget potential income tax issues

One of the issues divorcing couples don’t often consider until problems arise is that they may be jointly and severally liable for each other’s income tax debts under federal law. This means that one can become liable for an ex-spouse’s tax liabilities even after divorce, even if it was established in the divorce proceedings that spouses are liable for their own tax debts or that only one spouse is liable.

The problem is similar to what ex-spouses can face with respect to credit card or mortgage debt—creditors do not care what agreements may have been made in divorce, but only who they may legally pursue for payment of the debt. The IRS is no different, and the agency can and will seek the payment of tax debts from ex-spouses, regardless of who specifically owes the money.

The truth about divorce-related grief

Many of our readers are likely familiar with the traditional five stages of grief or loss. These stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The idea that these various states are “stages” is somewhat deceiving. Usually, when a living creature goes through various stages of development, the process is linear. One stage completes, another begins and the cycle progresses one stage after another. The truth about divorce-related grief, and many other kinds of grief for that matter, is that these stages are almost never linear.

Instead, one generally progresses through a stage or two and then reverts back to an earlier stage or skips ahead to another. One can cycle through the various stages of grief in seemingly randomized order many, many times. Sometimes a stage of grief can linger for days, weeks, months or even years, while another stage of grief may come and go in a matter of minutes or hours. Sometimes various stages of grief can occur simultaneously.

Benefits of befriending your co-parent's spouse

We have previously written about how important it is for co-parents to have a positive, healthy relationship with one another. When co-parents fail to “get along” the tension in their relationship can negatively impact everyone affected by it. Similarly, it is important to have a positive and healthy relationship with your co-parent’s spouse whenever possible. Just as a negative relationship with your co-parent can negatively affect you and your children, a negative relationship with your children’s step-parent can also result in negative impacts.

It is important to note that a healthy, positive relationship with your co-parent’s spouse is possible even if you do not particularly like him or her. It may help to think of your relationship as a business relationship. If your “business” is ensuring that your child’s best interests are met and your co-parent’s spouse is a valuable part of your business team, you will need to work together in healthy and positive ways in order to achieve your goals.

The benefits of certain self-care behaviors post-divorce

Several years ago, the memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” became a best-seller and was then turned into a blockbuster movie. It is not difficult to see why the message behind this memoir resonates with so many individuals. The memoir’s author suffers through a heartbreaking divorce. She then decides to travel for an extended period of time eating in Italy, praying in India and seeking balance (and ultimately learning to love again) in Indonesia. The idea that one must change and evolve after suffering heartbreak is not a new idea. However, the concept of emotional renewal is not always on the minds of individuals navigating the ups and downs of life post-divorce.

Life after divorce tends to be hectic. It may seem like there is not enough time, money or energy in your life at any given moment. Interestingly, it is precisely because the process of divorce and the hectic aftermath of the process are so depleting that it is so important to take excellent care of yourself.

Why divorce is not necessarily 'throwing away' a marriage

When learning of your divorce, some loved ones may argue that you are throwing away your marriage. Most loved ones would use this phrase in a well-meaning way to express concern that you may regret your decision to separate. However, it is important to understand that divorce means ending a marriage and does not necessarily indicate that either you or your spouse is throwing your union away.

Every significant relationship that you participate in over the course of your lifetime provides you with opportunities. Your marriage has almost certainly taught you more about yourself, about your spouse, about your values and about your limits. Your marriage will continue to provide you with valuable life experience even as you leave your union behind.

Parents: Be cautious while dating before your divorce is final

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your divorce, you may be eager to begin dating or you may have little interest in dating at this time. If you do have interest in dating and your divorce has yet to be legally finalized, it is important that you exercise caution in regards to certain dating behaviors.

If you choose to date before your divorce is finalized, you may benefit from avoiding dating sites. Because your spouse’s attorney and the court can access these sites, any posts you make could be twisted and used against you. Similarly, you may benefit from discussing your dating life and posting any pictures of yourself on dates to social media sites.

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