Madra David @madradavid: How to handle a nasty breakup and what about the children?
I would reverse the order of your question and make it into two questions.
“What about the children?”
They are the only thing that’s important. Every decision, every word spoken, every action taken, has to do with the children. Maybe the other side doesn’t realize it. But you do. Before, during, and after each interaction with your ex, think about the children and how this effects them.
Your children don’t want to be the children of divorce. They hate it. They want you to be back with your ex even if all you guys do is argue and hit each other. They don’t care. They just want a big happy family and they are too young to understand that might not happen with your ex.
So always listen to your kids when you have them. Always let them know you love them. With my kids, when I see them, I do “office hours” so each kid has a chance to talk to me about whatever they want. They can for HOURS! So be careful you don’t get sucked into hours of talk about their friends on the playground. But listening to their nonsense is sometimes the best way for them to know that they are still “safe”. And that’s the most important thing.
(how dare he cheat on my favorite!)
Now: “What to do about a Nasty Breakup”.
“Nasty” takes two people. So here’s the key. You should never really speak about anything other than the kids, or specific financial matters. You should also come up with a fair settlement that is totally fair whether you like it or not. Avoid lawyers. If lawyers are needed because it’s so nasty then let the lawyers do all the talking. But YOU come up with an above-and-beyond fair settlement.
Never talk to your ex. Then it won’t be nasty. If there’s talking and then there’s yelling then say, “I guess we should talk later.” And get off the phone fast. Nothing good will come of it. Don’t argue. Don’t fight. Don’t try to convince anyone you are RIGHT. As hard as it is (because you are in a habit of arguing with your ex whether you realize it or not) just get off the phone or schedule a time when you can talk later.
Every breakup is different, but these simple guidelines will help.