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What not to do when your spouse has cheated

Finding out that your spouse is cheating or has cheated on you can be one of the most devastating experiences of a person's life. It's perfectly understandable to respond in a less-than-rational manner. However, doing so can only make the situation worse. The website DivorcedMoms offers some tips on what not to do, despite all instincts to the contrary.

First, don't be destructive. You may feel like setting fire to your spouse's favorite things. However, this could have financial consequences later. Needless to say, don't physically hurt your spouse or the other woman/man. You could end up in jail. Even if you don't, any action you take could be used against you in future divorce and custody hearings.

Resist the urge to call everyone you know and tell them what a low-down, no-good louse you married or, worse, post it on Facebook. Reserve that information for a few close friends and family members. This also means resisting the urge to post that embarrassing video of your spouse dancing drunk and naked. Remember that everything you say and do can come back to bite you if you end up divorcing and fighting for custody of your kids.

Speaking of the kids, don't tell them about this if you don't have to. The information isn't going to do them any good. If you go through with a divorce, you'll hear a lot about what's in the best interests of the children when custody arrangements are determined. Start considering that now.

Don't let the infidelity devastate you. Someone else's behavior (even your spouse's) doesn't define who you are. It likely has little, if anything, to do with you, even if your spouse tries to blame you for driving him/her into someone else's arms.

Some marriages survive infidelity, while others don't. Either way, if you need help dealing with your feelings in a way that's healthy for you and your children, a good therapist may be helpful.

If you can't see yourself staying in the marriage or if your spouse has truly fallen in love with someone else, get some legal guidance as well. The more you talk to people who can be objective about the situation and offer constructive advice, the better decisions you'll likely make during a difficult time.

Source: Huffington Post, "10 Things You Should Never Do After Discovering A Spouse's Affair," Aug. 24, 2015

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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