I enjoyed this article in the Washington Post by Lisa Bonos. Is it possible to get divorced and not hate your ex? A divorce necessarily comes after a lot of emotion and turmoil in the relationship. Sorting through that emotion and processing to the other side of the hatred river takes emotional maturity and “adulting” (as the new millennial lingo goes).  The bottom line is that you have to love your kids more than you hate your ex. The article suggests six principles to keep in mind:

  1. Divorce can still involve compassion. Remember that you are both still people with feelings and hurts. Focus on the person, not the ego or anger. The person you married is not the same as the person you are divorcing. People change.
  2. Do not expect emotional closure. There are questions in life that have no answers. The issues underlying the divorce may fall in that category. A divorce is a transition, not an arrival. Treat divorce like a business deal, not an emotional deal.
  3. Settle the kid stuff then work on finances. Resolve the kid issues as quickly as possible to avoid using the kids as leverage in the money decisions.
  4. Avoid going to court. Settling is a lot less costly in both money and emotion. Going to court costs money in attorneys fees, but there is also a time factor and an emotional cost. Use mediation or other alternatives to litigation to stay out of the courtroom.
  5. Don’t talk badly about the other parent around the children. The children are in the middle and didn’t ask to be put there. Both parents are still going to be the parents. Don’t even call the other parent the “ex” around them – that’s negative. She’s still their mother and he’s still their father – not the kids’ “ex-parent”.
  6. Don’t let others influence your opinion. Be wary of seeking the counsel of your family and friends. While they are well-meaning, their job as family and friends is to be your cheerleader. In making the hard decisions about your divorce, you don’t need a cheerleader who will advocate your cause at all cost. You need a level head and logic. You will still have to co-parent with your spouse long after the divorce, no matter what your family and friends think. In fact, your former spouse will still be your child’s family, and therefore, by extension, your family, long into the future. Your best friend, sister, or mother will hate your ex way more than you do, that’s their job, but it is not your’s.
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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.