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How to Establish Boundaries After Divorce

Establishing Boundaries After Divorce

Establishing boundaries after divorce is one of the most important steps to take. Boundaries need to be established for your children, for your parenting partner, for your family, for your former in-laws and for yourself.

Boundaries will not only help the new divorced family unit to remain functional, but they will also help you to reduce the stress that your family experiences and help keep everyone working together amicably.

The purpose of this article is to provide you with information about what boundaries need to be set, how to set them, how to enforce them and what to do when the rules seem to fly out the window. Feel free to post your comments, personal stories and questions below in the comment box.

Setting Boundaries with Your Ex Spouse

The first boundaries that you need to establish are the ones between you and your former spouse. These boundaries will define how and when communication is to be transmitted, what rules each partner needs to follow when making plans with your children and how each parenting partner is to treat each other. You can also establish rules and boundaries for how new spouses will work into the parenting partnership and what roles they will play.

Tip: An example of this type of boundary is:

"Any information that relates to the children's education needs to be shared with the other parent."

Setting Boundaries with Your Kids

The second set of boundaries that you need to establish is made up of the boundaries between you and your children. These boundaries need to establish a common set of rules that will govern their lives regardless of whose house they are at. For example, you can impose a curfew of 11:00 p.m. on the weekend that is in effect both at your house and at your ex-spouse's house. Other boundaries that you will need to establish will related to responsibilities each child has and the respect that they show you, your ex-spouse and any new spouses that come along.

Setting Boundaries for Yourself...

Just like you need to set boundaries for your ex-spouse and your kids, when you get a divorce you need to set boundaries for yourself as well. The boundaries that you set for yourself are going to focus on things that impact your ability to be a good parent and to remain sane. For example, you need to set a boundary for how much you interfere with the time that your kids spend with their other parent. While it may be painful and very difficult to do, you need to let your kids enjoy their time with their parent. In fact you need to encourage them to maintain their bound with their other parent. The only time you would need to interfere is if you thought that they were not being cared for properly.

List of Common Boundaries for Divorced Couples

There are many types of boundaries that you can set, as the previous text module indicate. The boundaries create the rules by which your relationships are guided by in your divorced family structure. Here is a list of sample boundaries that you need to set when you get divorced:

Communication Boundaries

  1. Schedules for when communications are appropriate, i.e. between 9 a.m and 10 p.m.
  2. Limits on how often you can communicate with kids when they are with their other parent.
  3. Tone of communications and rules for communicating, i.e. no swearing, no derogatory remarks and keep things respectful.

Personal Boundaries

  1. How often you need to communicate with parenting partner to keep them in the loop.
  2. Rules for standing up for yourself when you are being mistreated by ex-spouse or other people.
  3. Boundaries that will prevent you from becoming overbearing or intrusive when it comes to your parenting partner's rights to be a parent.

Family Boundaries

  1. Rules for the family, regardless of whose house the kids are in.
  2. Standard set of punishments and rewards.
  3. Conflict resolution strategies that can be used to defuse tempers.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


KidsNDivorce (author) on November 07, 2012:

Under each of the above headings, the specific boundaries are explained. You and your former spouse need to determine what those boundaries are.

KidsNDivorce (author) on November 07, 2012:

What specifically helped you?

viveresperando from A Place Where Nothing Is Real on November 07, 2012:

Found this hub interesting and informative.

KidsNDivorce (author) on August 19, 2011:

Thrix'scharm: What goes on between your finance and his former spouse is between them and it is important that you do not get involved.

That is a boundary for you to set for yourself. It will save you loads of grief and keep your relationship intact. If you don't get involved then your finance will eventually find his own way of dealing with it that works for him.

When you get involved he does not have the space to figure out what really needs to be done so that he does not have to "jump".


ThirdX'scharm on August 18, 2011:

Is it ok for my fiancé to jump every time his ex wife calls with a problem the children are having? Especially if it is something she could handle on her own?

Seattle SEO on June 11, 2010:

It's very important to set up boundaries and follow some of the steps here. When I was younger, I saw as my "step"cousins left their dad and step-mom (my aunt) to go live with their real mom as they got into their older teen years, just because they felt like they had more freedom there, when really, they had things so much better before. I was happy to see one of them realize that and come back though.

KidsNDivorce (author) on December 24, 2009:

DivorceNKids, I believe you cannot "wipe the slate clean" because the energy patterns still exist. It goes beyond cognitive reality. What you can do is gradually establish a different kind of relationship and after a while that becomes the norm.

DivorceNKids on December 24, 2009:

I have found what works best is trying to wipe the slate clean and to start fresh with a new relationship with family members. Obviously there is a history that maybe painful, but by starting fresh you give your family the opportunity to develop healthier relationships with each other.

KidsNDivorce (author) on December 10, 2009:

DivorceNKids, yes divorce is very complicated, especially if you look at the fact that a whole energy system has been broken apart and new ones must form. This is basic quantum physics, which most people do not acknowledge or understand.

DivorceNKids on December 10, 2009:

It is normal for a divorce to be difficult. While modern society has touted divorce as a quick fix for a relationship that isn't working, it is a complex process that requires the dissolution of both legal unions and emotional ones.

KidsNDivorce (author) on November 12, 2009:

Thank you. I wrote this ebook and put up this Hub page because I went thru a divorce after 27 yrs of marriage. And even tho my kids were in their 20's it effected them as if they were young kids. Glad I could help.

Seattle SEO on November 11, 2009:

Kudos to KidsInDivorce for this post. Thank you for sharing this information to us who are having a hard time with our divorce.

Divorce Tips on October 28, 2009:

Boundaries are basically rules that you need to keep your relationships running smoothly.

KidsNDivorce (author) on September 19, 2009:

To help clarify what some boundaries that need to be set are, I added a new list of common boundaries for divorced families. I hope this helps to answer your questions.

KidsNDivorce (author) on September 19, 2009:

Everyone has different boundaries that are important to them. We can only give you some examples. Here is one that I used with my granddaughter when she was 5 years old:

She hit me because I would not do what she wanted. So I said to her, "Lisa, does Nana hit you when she doesn't like what you say or do?"

Response: "No."

Questions: "Well how do you think I feel when you hit me?"

Response: " You feel sad."

Boundary Statement: "Lisa, because it makes me feel sad when someone I love hits me, I don't allow that to be done to me. Do you understand?"

Response: "Yes."

Question: "So what do you understand that I am telling you?"

Response: "That I am not allowed to hit you."

Reinforcement statement: "Thank you for listening agreeing to not hit me again. Can I give you a hug and kiss"? (with a smile on my face.

Response: "Yes"

Movin' On: "Well, now that we understand each other, what is something fun that you would like to do?"

chris on September 07, 2009:

this didn't even say wht any of the boundaries are!

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