If possible, do this within 30 days. Many of these seminars can be found through your local community center, civic organizations or city government Web site.
2. Ask yourself if the divorce is necessary.
If you have already filed for divorce, you may feel that you have no options. But many people give up on marriages too easily. If your situation does not involve family violence, abuse or some other physical or emotional danger, a competent trained counselor might help you and your spouse work on your differences.
3. Don't make your child take sides.
Avoid verbally attacking your spouse within the child's hearing range. Don't "work" your child to force or influence him to choose you for a custodial parent. If the other parent insists on involving your child in the fight, resist the urge to do the same.
4. Stay close to your child.
Spend as much time as possible with your child and enjoy your time together. If you have more than one child, be sure to spend some special time with each one separately.
5. Maintain your child's routine.
This is not a time to make too many additional changes in your child's life. If you can, keep the child in the home and school to which he or she is accustomed. If a move is necessary, make sure the child keeps in contact with the children and adults to whom he or she is attached.
6. Don't have your child around a new romantic partner while you are still married to the child's other parent.
There are several reasons for this. It may complicate your divorce. It may make the other spouse angry. But most importantly, it may hurt and confuse your child. It is better not to force this new relationship on your child until the divorce is final, and even then, you should still move slowly in involving your child in your dating life.
7. Be reasonable in your dealings with the other parent and the court.
Ask yourself what kind of parental behavior is likely to affect your child's welfare and how. Remember that reasonable does not mean you have to agree with your spouse on everything. Be aware, however, that unreasonable litigants and lawyers who follow the directions of unreasonable clients are pet peeves for many judges.
8. Avoid conflict over possession periods.
The most common reasons parents are unable to comply with possession orders include:
Failure to have the child ready or to return the child on time
Failure to understand the order or decree
Failure to give the other parent important information
Failure to send or return a child's belongings
Make sure you understand and comply with all of the stipulations of your order.
9. Avoid conflict over child support issues.
It can be very damaging for a child to know that the money for his or her support is causing problems, or that the parent is more concerned about the money than about the child. Your child should never be a messenger from one parent to another about child support issues. Your child should be kept completely away from any child support problems.
10. Have faith in yourself as a parent.
The process of divorce can cause the strongest parent to harbor self-doubts and confusion. All parents have made and will make mistakes with their children. Continue to convey your strength as well as your love to your child.