Post-Divorce Family Unit: Navigating the New Normal

The divorce process has a profound impact on families. The traditional concept of a “family unit” often includes the image of a married couple with children, but this changes after a divorce. It’s important to remember that this model is not the only way a family is defined. In the aftermath of a divorce, you get to redefine what a family unit means to you and your loved ones.

The “Nuclear Family” is No Longer the Norm

One important aspect of redefining the family unit is understanding that it is not limited to a traditional nuclear family. The nuclear family typically consists of two adults, usually married, and their children- but recent Census data shows that only 18% of US households are now structured in this way.

A family takes many forms, and it can include people other than parents and children. Grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, step-parents, and step-siblings, among others are all considered part of the family unit.  These family members often provide love, support, and a sense of belonging that can be vital during the difficult times that come with divorce.

Single-parent families and blended families are generally just as healthy as a nuclear family unit. Remember that the love and bond between parent and child is not dependent on the presence of a partner, and children still thrive in these types of families. Single-parent households still provide children with a strong sense of security, and blended families often provide children with the opportunity to form new relationships and bonds with step-parents and step-siblings.

Navigating Co-Parenting

Another aspect of redefining the family unit is learning to navigate co-parenting. Co-parenting can be challenging, especially after a divorce, but doing so is important for the sake of the children. Here are some tips to help navigate co-parenting within this new family unit:

  1. Communicate effectively: Clear and open communication with your ex is crucial for successful co-parenting. Set up regular check-ins or meetings to discuss important decisions and address any concerns. You can also use a co-parenting app like OurFamilyWizard to facilitate better communication.
  2. Put the needs of the children first: Remember that the children’s well-being should be the top priority in all decisions made during the co-parenting process.
  3. Be flexible: Flexibility is key in co-parenting. Be open to adjusting schedules or making changes when necessary for the sake of the children.
  4. Establish a schedule: Setting up a regular schedule for when the children will spend time with each parent can help provide them with a sense of stability and security. It also allows each parent to structure their work and social life around when they have the children.
  5. Create a support system: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family, as well as professionals like therapists or counselors, to help navigate the challenges of co-parenting. A divorce support group can also be a great help with the healing process.
  6. Work towards cooperation: Co-parenting requires teamwork, and its success depends on both parents working towards cooperation, rather than competition.
  7. Avoid blaming or negative talk in front of the children: This can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety for the children, which is not healthy.
  8. Seek help when in need: Co-parenting has its difficulties, and it’s okay to seek help if it becomes overwhelming. Consider finding support through a therapist or counselor who can offer guidance and support. As mentioned before, a divorce support group is also a great place to find community and compassion as you navigate this new chapter in your life. Our community offers several online support groups each month. If you aren’t already a member of our community, you can join here. Through January 31, 2023, save 50% off an annual community membership with code FREEDOM23.

Defining Your Post-Divorce Identity

The healing process after a divorce is different for everyone, and it takes time. Divorce presents an opportunity to redefine one’s own personal identity. After being in a relationship, especially a long-term one, it can be hard to remember what it feels like to be independent. Divorce can be an opportunity to rediscover oneself and explore new interests, hobbies and goals.

Redefining the family unit after a divorce might be a difficult and emotional process. Yet is also an opportunity to create a new and meaningful definition of what a family means to you and your loved ones. Remember to be kind and compassionate with yourself and others, and keep in mind that a family can take many forms and includes many different people. With time, patience, and support, a new, stronger family unit can be built.

Have more questions about post-divorce and co-parenting? Take a look at these blogs:

More Resources:

Are you are ready to join our online Communitywe would love to have you! We have several experts in there waiting to help. Plus other divorcees you can connect and share stories with. Remember that you are not alone, even though it might feel like it at times. There are always people ready to support you- simply reach out your hand (or finger if you’re scrolling online!)

We get your struggles… We welcome you to visit our Support hub where we have created an informative and nurturing space using various modalities for you to get educated, emotionally supported and find your way. Our complimentary support groups like Coffee Talk and SOS: Support on Saturdays can be found here, along with many other helpful tools and resources.

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Essential Resources

If you’re facing legal/custody battles, a mental health crisis, an urgent medical issue, serious emotional problems, including suicidal thoughts, please seek help from the appropriate professionals near you.

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis line: 1-800-356-5395
Crisis text line: Text “help” to 741741
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) Resources Marital Life Inventory
Divorce Lifecycle Document
Divorce Process Overview


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