Keeping promises is important in many aspects of life. It is important in the workplace, as employers want to keep workers on whom they can depend. It is also crucial in personal relationships, as we do not want friends or partners who lie and do not keep their promises.
In fact, maybe your marriage ended because you could never rely on your spouse. They would say whatever they thought you wanted to hear, but when it came down to it, their words were just empty promises. You eventually came to the conclusion that you cannot trust them.
Now you are divorcing, but that does not mean the broken promises will end. If you have kids together, your ex will continue to be in your life. That means that there is some possibility that the broken promises will continue. Maybe your ex will not be able to take the kids one weekend. Perhaps they will make up some excuse as to why they cannot pay child support.
Now that the marriage is over, there may be even less motivation to abide by an agreement. There may be feelings of resentment or revenge involved, so the parent may do whatever they want.
However, doing what you want is not exactly a great thing. For one, if you are not abiding by your court agreement, then you are actually committing a crime. You could be held in contempt of court. Another thing to consider is that not keeping agreements leads to parental conflict, which can increase stress for children and make it harder for them to adjust to the divorce.
Trust is important for all kids, whether they are minors or adults. As parents, you will continue to see each other throughout your lives, whether it is for a graduation, school event, wedding, or party. When parents do not keep their promises, it negatively affects the children because the other parent gets frustrated with the lack of respect. The kids see their parents arguing and it creates more stress and tension.
When trust has eroded, keeping agreements is the best way to rebuild trust. It is important to figure out why the person does not want to keep their promises. In many cases, it is out of spite and revenge. They are angry about the divorce and want to hurt their ex. They may find their ex to be controlling and as a result, they may react in a passive aggressive manner by not following through with their promises. They do not care about their ex’s feelings, even though their behavior is hurting their child, as well.
In some cases, people will just go with the flow to avoid conflict. So, they may agree to the decision to avoid conflict, but all that does is make matters worse. When co-parenting, trust is important. If you commit to doing something, you better do it. Think carefully before you agree to something. If you cannot do it or do not agree to do it, then speak up. Do not be afraid to say that you need to think about it. Be honest about what you can and cannot commit to doing.
When Agreements Are Broken
If you break an agreement:
- Acknowledge it. Tell your ex right away about what you did or did not do. Be honest and avoid excuses.
- Repair the situation immediately. While you cannot turn back time, you can apologize for the mistake, talk about it, and think of ways to fix the situation. However, this does not work if you have a habit of not keeping agreements. If the situation is constant, the other parent will soon feel like they cannot trust you.
- Determine why you broke the agreement. Why did not you keep your word? A lot of times, it has to do with emotions. Divorces are painful and sometimes to avoid all the pain and negative emotions, people focus on other things that make them happy. In doing so, they may forget about agreements they had. Think about why you broke your agreement and how you will fix that so it does not happen again.
If your ex breaks an agreement:
- Calm down. Flying off the handle into a rage is not going to help the situation. Calm down and think about the best way to resolve the issue without getting angry.
- Send an email. When communicating with your ex about this type of matter, email tends to work best. It allows a person time to think about a situation rather than a text or phone call, in which an immediate reply is expected. Be upfront and direct. Let the person know you are disappointed in their behavior and want to work on a solution.
- Review your parenting plan. If the plan is not working for the other parent, maybe it needs to be revised. You and your ex should go over it together and think of anything that needs to be updated so that you both are on the same page.
Seek Legal Help
If your ex is not keeping agreements after a divorce, it could have legal consequences. For example, if the other parent is not paying child support or is not abiding by the custody agreement, then the court needs to step in and dole out appropriate punishment.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can advise you if your ex is not abiding by the divorce decree. We will help you understand your legal options so you can fix the situation. To schedule a consultation with our office, fill out the online form or call (954) 398-5712.