Divorce is complicated and full of emotions, but it does not have to cause constant arguments between parents. As a marriage dissolves, many parents are left wondering how they can form a friendly partnership for the sake of their children. One counseling psychologist developed four categories for divorced parents in the mid-1990s. He calls them Fiery Foes, Angry Associates, Cooperative Colleagues, and Perfect Pals. A fifth category has also been added, called Dissolved Duos, for parents who have no contact with one another.
These categories are relatively self-explanatory, but they range from divorced parents who are friends to those who absolutely cannot get along. Children do not need their parents to be best friends, but they do need both parents to be able to function as a unit on matters involving their well-being. Attending family counseling or mediation sessions can help parents learn to work together again.
Most parents want to have a friendly divorce for their children, but they are not sure how to accomplish that. One way to start down that path is to identify which of the five categories matches the current relationship. Then, the parents should ask themselves some questions. How much time do they need to spend together? How often will they need to be in a shared space? How often do they express feelings of negativity about the other parent in front of their children? If they can minimize the negativity and the time spent together, they are more likely to be friendlier when their paths cross.
The act of filing for divorce can also be emotionally trying. Many people rely on divorce attorneys to relieve some of the stress. Divorce attorneys can provide legal advice and offer their assistance with custody and visitation agreements, property division, alimony and many other post-divorce modifications.