A certified divorce specialist shares five things she wants all parents to know about ending a relationship, co-parenting, and moving on.

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An illustration of a mom holding her daughter.
Credit: Emma Darvick.

As a co-parenting mom, coach, and certified divorce specialist, I have made it my passion to help other moms navigate the uncharted waters of divorce with more confidence, a better strategy, and a fresh perspective. What I've learned, though, is that so many divorcing moms have many ingrained false beliefs and expectations about divorce that just shouldn't take up any space in their already busy brains.

There is so much to worry about and focus on as you start the divorce process with children to care for. Here's what I wish all parents knew about divorce, the process, and life after the ink is dry.

You are not a bad mom for getting divorced.

Whether you chose this path as a means to untie yourself from something unhealthy, unsafe, or just plain unfulfilling, or you were left with no other choice, you are not a bad mom for getting divorced. Divorce, in time, opens up a whole world of opportunities and possibilities, allowing you to fully explore a life that makes you happiest. Happy moms equal happy children, always.

Divorce is not a process that should be rushed.

Yes, the divorce process is an intimidating one and another email from your ex's attorney might make you scream, but listen to me carefully—there are NO awards given for fastest divorce. In fact, if you rush this process, you'll most likely be making emotionally-charged decisions instead of logical ones, which will no doubt have you wishing you took some time to breathe and educate yourself instead of racing to the divorce finish line. Once divorce decisions are finalized, they are often very difficult to modify. Take your time. Allow yourself a few days to breathe and think each time a new request is made by opposing counsel, and know that you're making these decisions for the long haul, not just for how you feel in this moment.

Your ex doesn't change just because your marriage is over.

If only I had a dollar for every time I heard a client say, "Ugh, I can't wait until we're officially divorce so I don't have to deal with his nonsense anymore!" If you are raising kids with the person you are divorcing, you should know that they're not going to be better or much different once d-day comes and goes. In many cases, it becomes increasingly more frustrating to deal with your ex as you begin co-parenting, because tensions and emotions are still high. There will be more nonsense. There will be many, many times when you're reminded why you're so much better off without this person, and then, there will be acceptance. You will accept that this person can't be changed, but you can sure change how you deal with them.

You are not damaged goods because of your divorce.

This is a very flawed and toxic mindset and one that I hope you do not buy into. Divorce doesn't damage you; it changes you. It humbles you. It teaches you the parts of yourself that need work. It sheds light on your strength and proves just how capable you really are. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

Your kids will be OK.

I am not going to lie to you and tell you that divorce and co-parenting won't affect your children at some point in time, it will. The reality is a change as big as divorce affects everyone. But, as long as you continue being the same, great mom that you are and commit to being that parent consistently, your children won't lose their secure attachment to you. If anything, with the right guidance, your children will learn a hell of a lot about adaptability, and become the most resilient little versions of themselves.

Michelle Dempsey-Multack is a mother, writer, speaker, marketing expert, and fierce girl-gang enthusiast. A native New Yorker, Michelle now resides in Miami with her daughter, Bella, her husband Spencer, a beautiful step-daughter, and a very needy cat. Purchase her new book Moms Moving On: Real Life Advice for Conquering Divorce, Co-Parenting through Conflict and Becoming Your Best Self and for information on working with her one-on-one, visit her here.

Michelle Dempsey-Multack's book
Michelle Dempsey-Multack's book
| Credit: Courtesy of Michelle Dempsey-Multack