Children & Divorce
From the Child's Point of View
Many books and articles have been written regarding the effects high conflict divorces have on children. The effects of divorce on children's minds, hearts and souls range from mild to severe, from seemingly small to observably significant, and from short-term to long-term. Even adult children of divorce have said that their lives would have been different if their parents’ divorce had not been so bitter When children are given an opportunity to express their feelings, the results are very insightful.
Collaborative Custody & Parenting
My twenty years of experience with assisting people in resolving disputes indicates that no other dispute-resolution model presently available to divorcing families can come close to collaborative law in its ability to manage conflict. Historically, what we attorneys have learned to offer our divorcing clients is the structured conflict of court-based proceedings. We know that most cases settle, yet by the time that happens most of the damage of litigation has occurred: inflammatory court papers have been filed that all become part of the public record, positions have polarized, large sums of money have been spent, and the "children have been at best forgotten, or at worst drawn in to the center of the battle zone."
These consequences are devastating for families and children and, I believe unnecessary. The issues involving our children, i.e., appropriate custody plans or parenting time arrangements are personal to every family. The kindest and most experienced judge does not necessarily have some special capacity to resolve these most difficult and complex of all family problems. It is the parents that know their children best, or need to start, and it is they who should be encouraged to come up with a custody and parenting plan that best fits their family. We need to get rid of the "I win" and "You Lose" mindsets because in this type of conflict it is the children who are the real losers.
The collaborative process itself can begin to encourage better communication between couples who now have to learn to co-parent more than ever. The emotions are so high in these types of conflicts that many people benefit from having a mental health professional who is an expert in child issues sit down with them as a neutral advisor and assist them in working out a parenting plan. I tell people you are only limited by your own imagination, because there is no cookie cutter parenting plan that works for every family. Divorce is a trauma for children; however, it does not have to be a trauma from which there is no recovery, i.e., one that impacts them throughout their life in their own relationships. That depends upon you, the parents, and how you proceed with your divorce!
"You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created."
- Albert Einstein