All of the emotions that we see during the course of the breakdown of a marriage and the divorce process boil down to fear. I do not say that from my own expertise but from what I have heard over and over again from my colleagues in the mental health profession.
The first victim of any marriage that is going south is communication. As communication breaks down, people cannot solve problems together anymore. So, what they do is out of frustration and they start taking unilateral action. However, because we are in a relationship, what you do affects me. This is when the fear sets in. You lose control and you do not know what’s going to happen next and you don’t understand why your spouse is doing this to you.
This is when the fears arise and what it leads to is a tit for tat situation. It leads doing something that will make me feel like I am back in control of the situation. This back and forth starts to happen and it evolves. All of this happens before the client comes to us in the family law arena. This … Read More “Dealing with the Fear in a Divorce”
Separation and divorce are crises for families. The COVID-19 pandemic adds another layer of crisis on co-parents and their children, who are already stressed. The virus is endangering lives world-wide. In record numbers, people are losing their jobs, their income, and their familial and social connections.
Those who still have their jobs are balancing working virtually from home, taking care of their non-school age children, helping their other children with online schooling, and worrying about the health and safety of their family, extended families, and friends.
If you and your co-parent have had a productive co-parenting relationship before the pandemic, you may be able to see an opportunity to work together and support each other and your children more than you have before. Bruce Fredenburg, one of my colleagues, says that the children are the real wealth of the family. With this in mind, you can become a more united team to preserve that wealth and ensure your children’s emotional and physical well-being.
A healthy co-parenting relationship is vital to your children’s physical and emotional health.
By Leslee Newman, Family Law Attorney, CDSOC Member
The pandemic of COVID-19 has swept us up and dramatically changed the way we live in just a matter of weeks. Our existence has become restricted, regulated, and different than we’ve ever known. We have all become isolated in our own homes. The freedom to come and go as we wish has been greatly altered. We cannot go to restaurants, to our offices and work sites, and to many public places. We cannot enter places of religious worship, attend lectures, professional meetings, go to the theater, to concerts, to movies, or even personally meet with friends. And our children cannot go to school. How traumatically sad for those students in the Class of 2020, graduating from high school and college.
With children now at home full-time, who cares for them, who teaches them, who keeps them busy, and prepares their meals? We are all prisoners of the Covid pandemic, isolating ourselves to avoid this terrible, and often deadly disease, especially for mature and older adults.
By Patrice Courteau, MA, LMFT and Paula J. Swensen, Esq.
The ending of a marriage can be a minefield of emotions and reactions. A “no drama” divorce helps to shift a mindset from pain and unrealistic expectations to one of managing emotions, learning better communication skills, and gathering information in order to reduce anxiety of divorcing spouses.
In our experience of working together in a co-mediation process, the goal is to reduce the drama by reducing fear, managing both spouse’s expectations, and setting a course for the couple to be able to successfully navigate. We cannot overstate the value to clients of using well-trained collaborative professionals to help them manage the fear and emotion in order to achieve their best family-centered outcome.
While the legal professional is educating on the legal process and the issues presented, the mental health professional (divorce coach or child specialist) is gathering information from the spouses regarding their urgent issues and concerns, including any communication challenges.
Those of us of a certain age remember the immortal words of a successful football coach after whom the Super Bowl trophy was long ago named.
Vince Lombardi famously opined, “Winning isn’t everything… it’s the only thing.” That’s a pithy and fitting philosophy for a coach to use to inspire his or her team to attain greater and greater success on the football field, but we collaborative divorce professionals know that it is not so useful when it is applied in the context of a divorcing couple.
It goes without saying that everybody wants to win. No one wants to lose, regardless of the undertaking or the endeavor in which one is engaged. We know intuitively from a very young age that winning is “good,” and that losing is “bad”. We all want our team to win, and we become frustrated and sometimes angry, when our team loses. We all know from following sports that when there is a winner, there is also a corresponding loser.
By Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT, Child Specialist and Divorce Coach
“Children are like wet cement. Everything that falls on them leaves an impression.” ~ Dr. Haim Ginott, World Renowned Child Psychologist
Often married adults include as one of their New Year’s resolutions that they are going to “start a new life” by filing for divorce. For this reason, there is an increase in divorce filings in January. This is why January is National Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month.
When parents file for divorce, how does it affect their children? It depends.
For decades, the research about children and divorce has indicated that children report that the news of their parents impending divorce and how their parents divorced made a lasting impression on them, even into their adulthood. Most parents want to prevent emotional and psychological damage to their children during and after divorce, but they do not know how to do so.
We recommend the following article titled “Seven Reasons to do a Collaborative Divorce” by John Denny, Collaborative Divorce and Mediation Attorney. John expresses some very important views on the subject of Collaborative Divorce in the Orange County Area.
“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.” ~Marian Wright Edelman, Founder, Children’s Defense Fund
Research about the effects of divorce on children indicates that:
Each year, over 1 million American children experience the divorce of their parents.1
Ongoing parental conflict increases kids’ risk of psychological and social problems.2
Improving the relationships between parents and their children helps children cope better in the months and years following the divorce.3
Children are the innocent victims of divorce. Divorce ranks second only to the death of a loved one as life’s most stressful experiences.4 Litigation, which by definition is adversarial, can compound that stress exponentially due to the hostility it can engender and the exorbitant costs that parents can incur. “Combat divorce,” a common term for litigation, requires that each parent have the biggest battleship armed with the biggest guns, which take aim at the battleship of the other parent. Let’s remember that, no matter what else changes, each of these soon to be “ex-spouses” forever remains their child(ren)’s other parent. During the process of litigation, that obvious fact can become obscured in the … Read More “How to Help Your Children During Separation and Divorce”
by Jann Glasser, LCSW, LMFT, Divorce Coach, Co-Parenting Specialist
1. Recognize and Deal with Signs of Distress in Your Children.
Altered sleep or eating habits
Declining scholastic performance
Frequent, sudden or broad mood changes
Acting out with anger, aggression, or defiance
Withdrawal from family and friends
Lethargy or disinterest
Infantile or other regressive behavior
Excessive catering to parents, which may signal a child’s self-blame for the divorce
If you observe such behavior, contact a mental health professional. Also consider consulting with a divorce coach who can help improve communication with your children, and your ability to care for them during your divorce.
2. Step AWAY from the Buttons!
Spouses in dysfunctional marriages know well how to expose each other’s vulnerabilities and provoke each other’s anger. Use that knowledge to avoid pushing your spouse’s buttons, because anything that increases parental conflict increases the prospects for harm to your kids.
Also, use what you know about your quarrelsome co-parent to avoid confrontations. During any encounters with your spouse be careful not to convey disrespect in front of the children either by words or by body language.
3. Confirm Substantive Conversations with Your Co-Parent.
In speaking with a parent contemplating divorce, I always speak with the understanding that it is most likely the parents who best understand their children and what is best for themselves and the family. I assume parents are best situated to shepherd their children through life’s toughest challenges, including divorce, if…
Divorce is one of those times. It’s a tough time for the whole family, parents and children – of all ages. A crisis like they’ve never faced before, challenging their very identity as parents, children, family and each of their places/roles/futures in and as a family. But I also know, empowered to do so, parents will do their best to meet these challenges in consideration of the best interests of their children.
For these and many other reasons, I always assure parents I am confident, with the best advice and counsel available, they will make the best decisions regarding their children.
Uniquely qualified to advise and to equip parents with the information and insights which, when combined with their own, will empower them to best serve the best interests of their children, here are some of the ways which I have witnessed the … Read More “The Power and Empowerment – Child Specialist”