Category Archives: Children’s Mental Health

Thinking about Divorce? This Is What You Need to Know

Perhaps you have already tried counseling. Sadly nothing has worked. One or both of you have decided on divorce.

If you decide to divorce the most important next decision you will make for your family is what process to choose.

Divorce has two tracks and they operate simultaneously. There is the Business Track and the Emotional Track. If the Emotional Track is not handled well it can easily knock the Business Track off course, create enormous damage to your family, including your children, as well as cost you more money and time.

The Business Track generally involves attorneys and financial specialists. The Emotional Track benefits from the expertise of a well trained and experienced Divorce Coach.

In most places, there are four ways to get divorced. Unfortunately, many people only know about two options.

  • Get an aggressive attorney and fight it out
  • Try to do it yourself.

These two choices above carry significant risks.

  • Trying to maneuver your way through a complex legal system without professional guidance can be costly.
  • Family Law can be confusing and it is easy to make mistakes.
  • Hiring lawyers to fight it out can become a war. There will be winners and losers in
Read More “Thinking about Divorce? This Is What You Need to Know”

The Role of Minor’s Counsel in Litigation and in Collaborative Divorce

In high conflict litigated cases, a Judge will often appoint Minor’s Counsel in order to assist them in determining orders that are in the best interests of the child or children of the marriage. Minor’s Counsel is an attorney who represents the children. They are not a therapist or a custody evaluator, however they will gather evidence to present arguments to the Court as to what orders are best for their client or clients [the children]. Minor’s counsel is able to access the confidential records for the child such as medical records, educational records or any records from therapists that have been treating the child.

When I have been in the role of Minor’s Counsel, I try to meet with the child in a neutral setting such as a park or a setting that will be comfortable for them. If I know that they like animals, I may bring one of my dogs with me to the first meeting. My goal in the first meeting is to provide the child with a safe space so that they can talk to me. In most litigated cases, the child has been exposed to the conflict of the parents for a long time. … Read More “The Role of Minor’s Counsel in Litigation and in Collaborative Divorce”

Dealing with the Fear in a Divorce

Fear in Divorce

By Bart Carey | Originally posted on https://familypeacemaker.com/fear-dealing-with-divorce/

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”

Co-parenting during the Pandemic Brings Danger and Opportunity

Co-parenting During Pandemic

By Carol Hughes | Originally posted on www.collaborativedivorcecalifornia.com

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.

If you and your co-parent have a strained relationship, this time of crisis can exacerbate the … Read More “Co-parenting during the Pandemic Brings Danger and Opportunity”

Does COVID-19 Cause Divorce?

Does COVID-19 Cause Divorce?

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.

And as we sacrifice and struggle to remain healthy, most of us are restricted from our work places, or worse, furloughed, laid off from work, or even … Read More “Does COVID-19 Cause Divorce?”

No Drama Divorce… How to Manage Fear and Expectations in a Co-Mediated Divorce Process Using Collaboratively-Trained Professionals

No Drama Divorce

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.

Throughout this process, it is essential for the clients to be heard, and to feel that they have an equal voice in reaching a resolution.  Often during this process, clients learn a new way to communicate with one another.  … Read More “No Drama Divorce… How to Manage Fear and Expectations in a Co-Mediated Divorce Process Using Collaboratively-Trained Professionals”

“I Just Need to Win”… How Collaborative Professionals Can Help Shift the Paradigm

I Just Need a Win

By Paula J. Swensen, Esq.

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.

This concept of “winning” is ingrained in our being from an early age, and it has now saturated our culture.  We want winners, not losers when we … Read More ““I Just Need to Win”… How Collaborative Professionals Can Help Shift the Paradigm”

January is National Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month

January is National Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month

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.

Divorce is the number one stressor for adults, second only to the death of a loved one.  So, it is not surprising that divorcing parents find it difficult to be their best selves for the sake of their children.  In fact, research has found that due to … Read More “January is National Child-Centered Divorce Awareness Month”

Seven Reasons to do a Collaborative Divorce

Gavel on Law Book

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.

You can read the entire article at:   https://collaborativedivorcecalifornia.com/seven-reasons-to-do-a-collaborative-divorce/

How to Help Your Children During Separation and Divorce

How to Help Your Children During Separation and Divorce

By Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT

“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”