Parenting Through Divorce

By: Orlando Divorce Attorney Joy Ragan

It is sometimes hard to see how our divorce is affecting our children because we are hurting so badly ourselves.  It is easy to let our pain blind us to the needs of our children.  Many times, the thing our kids need most is the thing that is the hardest thing for us to do:  Be nice to our spouse.

Know that the “rock” in the children’s lives has always been your marriage. They feel as though they are now going through an earthquake and there is a crack in the foundation of their lives.

The more you lift up the other parent for them, the safer the children feel and the quicker they will adjust. Don’t do it because the other parent “deserves” it. Do it because your children deserve it.

The Judge will respect your ability to continue to praise the other parent. It will be refreshing for the Judge because they don’t see that type of thing nearly as often as they should.

Signs You Struggle Acting in Your Child’s Best Interest

As a divorce attorney, I see people who are often so angry at the other parent that they can’t act in their children’s best interest.  At times there may be some legitimate reasons for some of these but here are  red flags which may signal you are too emotional to act in your children’s best interest:

1.  You don’t pay child support

2. You refuse to allow visitation.

3.  You speak poorly of the other parent to the children

4. You bribe the child to get the child to choose to be with you over the other parent

5.  You tell the children details about the divorce

6. You make visitation difficult, set the other parent up for failure or refuse to work as a team.

7.  You obsess about your idea of what is “fair”.

People mistakenly believe that in a divorce they can “get rid of” their spouse.  When you have children, this is simply not true.  You are given the very difficult task of learning to co-parent when you couldn’t get along and communicate well enough to stay married.  It is an extremely difficult endeavor.

Too often, attorneys make it worse.  They inflame emotion and encourage clients to bring the fight home.  One of the greatest allies you can have in a divorce is an attorney who understands the challenges of co-parenting.

An attorney’s job should be to keep the legal fights in the courtroom so that they parents are free to process the emotions outside of court and learn some tools to cope as unmarried parents.  If  you are divorcing with children, you should interview attorneys on their views and philosophies on co-parenting.  If they can’t give you some good direction in this area or at least point you to the right place, then you haven’t found the right attorney for you.

There is No Room for Pride in Co-Parenting

The second biggest life skill needed for co-parenting through divorce is the ability to swallow your pride for the sake of your children.  I know, I know … it’s not fair.  Fair is a four-letter word in divorce.  Early on in the process, none of it will feel fair.  You are hurt and emotional.  But, even through the pain, you have to provide a united front for the children.

You have to compromise when it’s uncomfortable; apologize when you don’t really mean it; and discuss your children’s needs even when you aren’t overly interested in the other parent’s opinion.  It will be hardest in the beginning when the emotions are highest.  With practice and patience, it will get easier.

You must continue the effort because your children’s well-being is worth it.  A divorce is a great opportunity to teach your children how to resolve conflict in a healthy way.  It is a challenging time that can be an opportunity for growth for the entire family.  Parenting through divorce is about making the hard choices to facilitate that growth.

Bringing Joy to The Marks Law Firm!

Bringing Joy to The Marks Law Firm!

By Attorney Joy Ragan

Attorney Joy Ragan

I am Joy Ragan and it is my great honor to be the newest member of The Marks Law Firm.  I have been a practicing attorney since 2002. Most of my work focuses on Family Law and Criminal Defense.  I have more than 80 trials spanning all areas of law including family civil, civil, felony, life felony and misdemeanor.  I have a deep love for the fast paced atmosphere of the courtroom.  However, I believe most family law cases are best resolved outside of court.  Divorce is a special hybrid of emotional distress and legal intricacy.  In my early years, I became disenfranchised with the way in which too many attorneys practiced.  It seemed they cared less about people and children and more about extending conflict for their own financial gain.  I am very excited to connect with a team focused on a productive practice of law.  The Marks Law Firm is full of extremely talented attorneys, paralegals and staff who truly care about our clients.  They are centered on solving problems, working as a team and achieving the best result possible which also facilitates a functional family unit at the end of the case.  I feel tremendously blessed to have joined such an outstanding team.

In 2010 I separated from my Husband and my whole world crumbled around me.  We have two beautiful boys and I was terrified for their future.  As I sifted through the ruble of my marriage, I re-built my life from the ashes of my former self.  In this regard, I truly understand what our clients are experiencing.  I believe my job as their attorney is to handle their legal case in a way that allows them space to heal emotionally and grow as a person through this process.  I want my clients to have peace that I am handling their legal case efficiently and effectively so that they can spend their time and energy rebuilding their lives.

The foundation of my new life is very much Faith centered. Through God’s grace and love, I am living my happy ever after.    I parlayed my personal experience with divorce and my frustration with the system into my first book Divorce with Joy – A Divorce Attorney’s Guide to Happy Ever After which was published in 2012.  (Find out more at

I fervently believe we were each given experiences to share, so that others may gain wisdom, encouragement, and insight into their own journey.  As I continue on my journey, it is my utmost desire to spread the good word.  We can be happy, not as a destination for the future but as a manner of traveling.  Whatever pain we’re feeling, whether it’s from divorce, loneliness or abuse – no matter the source of our pain – it is not the end of our journey. I join local and national experts and share our journeys at

As you can see, The Marks Law Firm with its philosophy and manner of practice is a perfect fit.  It is nothing short of a match made in Heaven.   I look forward to this new journey with you all.

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