The following tips will help you prepare to talk with your children about your separation and divorce. You care about doing the best you can for your children because you are reading this article. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. No one is. This is a stressful time for all of you. Remember to keep taking slow, deep breaths — you and your children will get through this difficult time.
Agree on a time when you both can be present to talk with your children together. Siblings need the support they can provide each other. Divorce is a major life crisis for all family members. Treat it as such. Ideally, it is best to share the news with your children when they have adequate time to absorb what you will be telling them, for example, when they do not have to go back to school in a day or two after hearing the news.
Plan your presentation to your children in advance. Make some notes about what you plan to say and review them to be familiar with what you intend to say. Anticipate what they may say to you. You can
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”
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.
A recommended article written by Leslee J. Newman, Collaborative Attorney, Mediator, and Family Law Specialist
“A divorce with children who are not yet adults includes decisions regarding child support payment. In every state including California, there is a different formula to calculate child support. If divorcing parents go to court and request a judge to make the child support order, the statewide formula must be used to arrive at the amount of the support to be paid from one parent to the other. Find out how parents selecting an out-of-court process like collaborative divorce can create their own agreeable amount without going to court.”
A recommended article written by Diana L. Martinez, Collaborative Attorney, Mediator, Lecturer & Trainer
“As we enter the holidays, many divorcing couples choose to put their divorce on hold, preferring to focus on more enjoyable aspects of the season. Unfortunately, this can make for a horror movie later on. Before you slow things down, understand the potential nightmare lurking behind delays in your divorce, and how you can create a safer way to give yourself a much needed respite this holiday season.”
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”