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Coping with the fears of single parenting after divorce

Fear of future difficulties can crop up during the intensity and often unpleasant heat of a divorce action. Soon-to-be ex-spouses ask themselves how hard it will be to manage co-parenting, finances and a host of other single-life issues after divorce.

Divorce can mean a lot more than moving into separate residences and splitting up assets. Custodial parents sometimes worry that a career will be endangered by taking on the primary caregiver role. The concern is not that ex-spouses want to avoid additional parenting duties but how to fit them all around and in between job expectations.

Divorced parents whose New York careers include mandatory overtime or business travel may become anxious or stressed about child care arrangements when they are expected to be away from their children. Feelings can include loneliness and conflicting guilt over parenting and work duties.

Adjusting to single parenthood is often harder for people who live a good distance away from supportive family members. Sometimes the only person who can assist in child care responsibilities is a former spouse. While parenting cooperation between ex-spouses is encouraged, many former partners find asking a non-custodial parent for regular child care assistance creates an uncomfortable and unwanted dependency.

Ex-spouses who faced doubts about performing jobs and parenting simultaneously and satisfactorily admitted they lacked confidence. It often takes outside supporters - friends, family or possibly counselors - to make newly-divorced individuals realize that successful single parenting is possible. Parents must learn to take over duties that were once shared by two people and manage time wisely. Employers, when asked, can assist divorced parents by reducing business travel schedules and creating more flex time. Often friends are willing to act as substitute caregivers when family is distant or unavailable.

Parenting after divorce may not be as smooth or predictable as co-parenting during marriage, but people who made the transition to independence suggest that staying grounded in the present helps to stop agonizing over imagined problems.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Divorced Mother Deals With Business Travel Guilt," Debbi Dickinson, Sept. 24, 2012

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