Charting A New Direction After A Divorce Or Custody Battle

Maps are wonderful tools. No matter where you are, you can see which direction to take to get to where you want to be. Whether it is a specific destination or more of a region, your map will get you there. They say life is a journey. That must mean that everyone’s going somewhere. After a tumultuous ordeal, like a divorce or a custody battle, it’s very tempting to turn on the proverbial autopilot and just coast. But when you look up months (or years) down the road, you see that you are way off course. Not to worry. All you need is a map.

A mission statement can be that map. You can take a look at how your daily life compares to your mission. Sometimes you’re on your way. On other days, you may see a need to change direction. Today you may have a GPS device that tells you your course needs re-routing. In creating your mission statement, include whoever is in your household. If you have even joint custody of your kids, include them in its development. Giving them partial ownership of the family mission statement will increase their likelihood to adhere to it.

Get out a poster board and tell everyone in the family that you are writing a family mission statement. You will describe your goals, your values, and your priorities. Make it fun. Ask questions like what words kinds of words do you want describe your family? How do you want conflicts to be resolved? What could a family member do to help when you are sad? How could they show you that they care? When you’ve exhausted every question you can think of (or you’ve run out of room on the poster board), compile the data into a clear, concise mission statement. Here is an example:

The Smiths are committed to creating a family life that is warm, loving, and fun. We recognize that we have similar goals, but very different needs. We strive to help each other achieve our dreams – offering the assistance that is needed. In handling disagreements, we make sure each person feels understood before giving our opinion. We look for solutions that will be mutually beneficial and we achieve closure before moving to another discussion. We love our home and we take equal responsibility for its maintenance. We help each other reach our goals, but we also make time for recreational activities to enjoy together.

Through answering your questions, your mission statement will be as unique as your family. When you’re finished, proudly hang it somewhere in the house where it can serve as a constant reminder of where you are ehading.


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Our team includes attorneys licensed to practice in multiple states including April D. Jones in California, Patrick G. Barkman in Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado (United States Court of Appeals 10th and 5th Circuit).