The No Contact Rule When You’re Married With Children

Dealing with the aftermath of marital complications or separation is a challenging and emotionally charged experience, especially when children are involved.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the sensitive topic of maintaining no contact or, better, “Strategic Contact” when you’re married and have kids together but your spouse wants to leave you or divorce.

“Strategic Contact” is a modified form of the “No Contact Rule” strategy for creating space and fostering healing during difficult times, and it can be a crucial element in your efforts to save your marriage.

1. Prioritize Quality and Quantity of Time With Your Children

One of the most critical aspects of managing marital complications, especially when you share children, is ensuring that both spouses continue to have meaningful and consistent interactions with their kids.

Avoid using your children as pawns in marital power struggles. Instead, establish clear schedules to ensure that both parents have equitable access to their children.

This not only provides stability and routine for the children but also ensures they continue to receive love and support from both parents.

During this emotionally charged time, put your children’s well-being first. Collaborate with your spouse to create a shared plan that outlines visitation schedules, holidays, and special occasions.

This collaborative approach can help reduce conflict and provide a more stable environment for your children during the challenging time, also making it more likely for your spouse to consider working on the marriage.

It’s a very attractive experience to witness someone being good to your children. Be good to your spouse’s children (they are yours as well, but you get the idea).

2. Effective Communication Is Key

Effective communication is often underestimated, but it’s essential in any relationship, especially when your marriage is facing complications.

Even though your marriage is going through difficulties, ties remain, especially concerning children, shared property, or businesses.

Polite, mature, and clear communication between you and your spouse is essential.

When important decisions need to be made regarding your children’s education, extracurricular activities, or major life events, involve both spouses in the decision-making process.

Don’t exclude your spouse from these crucial decisions.

Similarly, discussions about shared properties, financial responsibilities, or business dealings should be approached with transparency and fairness.

It’s essential that both you and your spouse feel that the process is fair and just.

Keep discussions focused, avoid delving into emotional or past relational issues, and prioritize finding practical solutions that benefit everyone involved.

3. Consider Legal Counsel

While seeking legal counsel may not be the most pleasant part of this process, it can sometimes be the most effective way to ensure that all parties are treated fairly and that there is a clear understanding of responsibilities.

It’s crucial not to let your spouse walk all over you legally speaking, especially concerning issues like time with your children during the separation.

Hiring a lawyer can be particularly useful when it comes to drafting custody agreements, dividing shared assets, and providing guidance on shared business ventures.

This isn’t about promoting hostility but protecting individual interests, especially when emotions run high and clear judgment may be clouded.

A lawyer can mediate discussions between you and your spouse, ensuring that agreements are legally binding and that the best interests of your children are at the forefront of any decisions made.

This can provide both parties with a sense of security and clarity during a challenging time.

It can also prevent you from setting up legal precedence where it is seen as “normal” by the court for you to be away from your children.

That could harm you in terms of custody if a divorce does happen.

4. Avoid Negative Talk About Your Spouse

Remember that children are incredibly impressionable, and during a separation, the last thing they need is to be caught in the crossfire of parental animosity.

It’s crucial to avoid speaking negatively about your separated spouse in front of the children.

Negative comments can have lasting emotional consequences, leading to confusion, anxiety, and resentment.

Furthermore, it’s vital to teach your children to respect both parents, regardless of any personal conflicts between the adults.

This creates an environment where children feel safe, loved, and emotionally secure, reducing the emotional trauma they might experience during a separation or divorce.

What’s more, negative words could also get back to your spouse and lower the chances of him/her wanting to work on restoring the marriage.

5. Plan Events Both Parents Can Attend

Even during a separation, there will be significant moments in your child’s life, such as school events, sports activities, or graduation ceremonies.

Collaborate with your spouse to ensure that these events are planned in a way that allows both parents to participate without friction if possible.

This demonstrates unity in co-parenting and ensures that your children receive the support and love of both parents during critical moments in their lives.

It sends a powerful message that, despite the current issues your marriage faces, both parents remain dedicated to their children’s happiness and well-being and to loving the other even during this time of fall out, by ensuring they can be involved with their children.

This also allows the straying spouse to experience being part of the family.

That experience can show them what they would be losing if they do go throgh with a divorce.

Such realization can be a strong motivator for them to choose to come back.

6. Seek Emotional Support and Self-Care

The process of facing marital complications and separation can take a toll on your emotional well-being.

It’s essential to seek emotional support from friends, family members, or a marriage coach.

Talking about your feelings and concerns with a trusted confidant can help you navigate the emotional challenges that arise during this time.

Additionally, prioritize self-care to maintain your physical and mental health (as well as your attractiveness).

Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as exercise, hobbies, or reading.

Taking care of yourself will not only benefit your own well-being but also enable you to be a better parent to your children.

7. Be Flexible and Adaptable

Flexibility and adaptability are crucial when co-parenting during a separation.

Life circumstances can change, and it’s essential to be open to adjustments in your co-parenting plan when necessary.

Collaborate with your spouse to find solutions that accommodate the evolving needs of your children.

8. Focus on Your Children’s Well-Being

Above all else, keep your children’s well-being at the forefront of your decisions and actions.

Be fair to your spouse even if your lawyer suggests otherwise.

Your children are going through a potentially significant life change, and it’s important to provide them with stability, love, and a sense of security.

Encourage open communication with your children, allowing them to express their feelings and concerns.

9. Rebuilding Trust and Reconnection

While the focus of “Strategic Contact” is on maintaining a positive co-parenting relationship, it’s also an opportunity to rebuild trust and reconnect with your spouse.

During this period, both of you may have time to reflect on your relationship and the reasons behind the complications.

Consider Coach Lee’s Relationship Reignite Workshop. The goal is to save your marriage, and seeking professional guidance can be a significant step in that direction.

10. Stay Committed to Your Marriage

Throughout this process, maintain a strong commitment to your marriage.

Remember the reasons why you got married in the first place and the love you shared with your spouse.

While it’s important to focus on your children’s well-being and your personal growth, don’t lose sight of your desire to save your marriage.

Continue to express your love and affection toward your spouse when appropriate (be sure to watch the video above including Coach Lee’s FREE mini-course on saving a marriage).

Small gestures of kindness and appreciation can go a long way in rekindling the connection between you two.

Show that you are willing to put in the effort to make the marriage work without pushing.

Remember that the ultimate goal is not only to co-parent effectively but also to have a fulfilling and loving marriage. Use this period of separation and “Strategic Contact” to align your priorities with your desires for your marriage and family.


Navigating “Strategic Contact” when you’re married with children is undoubtedly challenging, but with the right mindset and approach, it can lead to positive outcomes for everyone involved.

Prioritizing your children’s well-being, maintaining effective communication, and avoiding negative interactions are key elements in creating a stable and loving environment that fosters the healthy development of your children.

Remember that co-parenting during a separation requires patience, empathy, and a commitment to putting your children’s needs first.

By following these guidelines, you can lay the foundation for effective co-parenting while still allowing space for your personal healing and the healing of your marriage.

Get my FREE mini-course on saving a marriage!


Coach Lee

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Coach Lee

Coach Lee helps people save marriages from divorce. No matter the situation, there is hope with the appropriate response. Rely on Lee's 22 years of experience in working with couples in troubled relationships.

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