“Divorce is a different experience for children and adults because the children lose something that is fundamental to their development – the family structure. The family comprises the scaffolding upon which children mount successive developmental stages, from infancy into adolescence.” — “Second Chances: Men Women and Children a Decade After Divorce”
How many times have you taken your child through a divorce? Helped your child navigate an emotional and transitory life experience that is difficult and opaque for you? Successfully rebuilt the family structure in ways that support your child? And all at a time when you and your spouse are not on the same page.
When it comes to helping your child through a divorce, consider turning to a child specialist to get the best advice and counsel based on the advantages of their specialized education, training and experience.
Here are nine reasons why you should have a child specialist assist you through your divorce process:
It’s not therapy. No one is going to mess with your child. The child specialist’s role is to listen to you and
Why do so many people behave so poorly when they separate and divorce? You know what I mean. As people choose to separate and divorce, as we get caught up in emotions and conflict, we say and do things that, in our everyday lives we’d never do or say.
Worse, this behavior is often condoned, counseled and/or supported by well-meaning family friends and even professionals. We fight for control or justification by speaking to and treating our children’s mother or father in ways we’d never condone under any other circumstance. We’d certainly never teach our children such behavior is acceptable, except they actually are learning from observing what we do.
This reality became personal for me when after a number of years as a litigator, I experienced my own divorce. I learned that divorce is not a legal process. It is a life experience.
Divorce is just as much a life transition as marriage. Divorce is not about the division of property; it is about the division of lives.
Closure rarely comes with the decree of dissolution issued by the court. Closure can come more easily through Collaborative Divorce, where a team of Collaborative professionals helps you to facilitate peacemaking in a private, respectful process out of court instead of waging war in a courtroom.
Depending upon the needs of the transitioning couple, various professionals are selected to be part of the team assisting spouses in a healthy positive transition from their lives together into two separate households. One of these professionals is the Divorce Coach, a licensed mental health professional who is a specialist with clinical experience in human behavior and family systems. We help families learn new skills in conducting themselves in times of stress during the Collaborative Divorce process.
Our role as Divorce Coaches during a Collaborative Divorce is assist people through the transition process, to provide a soft landing spot for clients to deal with the range of emotions that are inherent in any marital breakup. Coaches can help you to determine what is truly … Read More “The Role of a Collaborative Divorce Coach”
by Brian Don Levy, Esq., Collaborative Attorney & Mediator
The case history: John first came to see me looking for an attorney to represent him in his divorce case in family court. This is the most important choice he will have to make in the entire divorce process: choosing the process for his divorce case.
As a firm believer in the Collaborative Divorce Process, we discussed why John should consider the Collaborative Divorce process, which is part of every initial divorce consultation – when I meet with clients – I discuss divorce process options.
John then disclosed he had already been in mediation with some of my legal colleagues. John’s wife, Mary, withdrew from the process. He was distrustful of the process and not inclined to give it another try.
In spite of John and Mary’s failure, I still believed the Collaborative Process would serve them well. Nearly a year later, the divorce case was successfully concluded through the Collaborative Process.
Note: To avoid the clumsiness of using “child/children,” “children” is intentionally used throughout this article
It is clear you care about doing the best you can for your children through the separation and divorce process, because you are reading this article. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. No one is. Remember to keep taking slow, deep breaths. You and your children will get through this difficult time.
Consider the following tips to help you prepare to talk with your minor children.
Agree on a time when you and your spouse can talk with your children together. Siblings need the support system they can provide each other. Divorce is a major life crisis for all family members and should be treated as such. Ideally, it is best to share the news with your children when they will have adequate time to absorb what you will be telling them; for instance, when they do not have to go back to school in a day or two after hearing the news.
One of the most difficult steps in the divorce process is talking about your decision with your adult children. It may feel like admitting a failure, or letting them down.
Divorce is a major life crisis for all family members and should be treated as such, even when your children are no longer “kids.” Children who are adults when their parents divorced consistently report years later the news of their parents’ divorce “rocked the very foundation” of their world.
You are making a good start and doing the best you can. You are reading this blog post. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. No one is perfect. Breathe deeply; you and your children can get through this difficult time together. These tips will help guide you through this process.
Schedule a time when you can speak with your children together and preferably in person. Siblings benefit from the support system they can provide each other. When you are scheduling the time to talk, tell them you have something important to discuss with them. Assure them no one is sick or dying. If they ask you what you want to talk about, tell them
Clients often wonder how working with a team of professionals will benefit them when moving forward with the Collaborative Process for their divorce. Even experienced practitioners sometimes fail to understand how all professionals on an interdisciplinary team can assist and support clients, even high-conflict clients, to become “Agreement Ready.”
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Carol Hughes, family law lawyer Diana L. Martinez, and financial specialist Cathleen Collinsworth offer recent findings from neuroscience showing how working in teams can assist clients resolve even their most difficult conflicts at the upcoming Collaborative Practice California (CP Cal) “Celebration XI” Conference in Redwood City, California April 29 – May 1.
Dr. Hughes says the training is designed for all practitioners who want to continue evolving their ability to assist clients with the powerful tools provided through the Collaborative Process. Participants will learn techniques for assisting clients:
Identify and develop the clients’ ‘Key Elements of Agreement’ that avoid being too specific or too vague and therefore of no value.
Identify and develop the clients’ ‘Questions To Be Answered’ relative to their ‘Key Elements of Agreement.’
Develop ‘Options for Resolution’ that are both individually and family-centric interest based.
Members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County had a wonderful opportunity to train with Vicki Carpel Miller and Ellie Izzo, Collaborative mental health professionals from Scottsdale, Arizona. Miller and Izzo discussed how people going through divorce are often in a “fog” of confusion and paralysis. Our job as competent and compassionate Collaborative professionals is to help each of the spouses to “recover” through what we hope will be a transformative process through Collaborative Practice.
How does this happen? By the use of a cohesive and skilled team of Collaborative professionals—attorneys, mental health, and financial professionals– who can alert you, educate you, and bring you out of the chaos and into the sunlight. This can be done by identifying the different phases of transition and encourage the following stages of recovery:
Recovery Mode: Burned out, over stimulated. Trying to be productive is hard. Transition by focusing on the basics like adequate sleep, water, exercise, the comfort of friends, etc.
Although divorce rates in the United States have seen a decrease in the last decade, divorce rates for couples over 50 have doubled. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2010, one out of every 20 people in the U.S. who divorced was over the age of 65! Now, with the retirement of the “Baby Boom” generation (persons born between 1946 and 1967), the numbers of divorcing seniors is expected to escalate. This phenomenon is often referred to as “gray divorce.”
Some reasons for this increase in gray divorce include the following:
There’s no longer a social stigma for seniors divorcing.
Seniors are living longer and are generally healthier.
Our culture promotes happiness.
A few years ago, a Chicago area billboard advertised divorce with a message that life was too short to be miserable.
Are you a senior and contemplating divorce? Have you helped a parent, colleague or friend who was in their 50s, 60s, or older get through their divorce? Does it make sense financially for a senior married couple to divorce?