In her March 6, 2016, blog post, Co-Parents Forever: 12 tips to raising healthy children after divorce, Tampa Florida collaborative attorney Joryn Jenkins’ first tip is:
- You can’t really co-parent until you’re done getting divorced. People don’t always decide at exactly the same time to get divorced. If you’re both done before you get that final decree, fine; you might start co-parenting then. But it’s not unusual that one is ready to divorce and the other is not. When that happens, if the final judgment is entered and he is still not acclimated to the idea, co-parenting will be difficult. The one who wanted the divorce has to wait for the other one to adjust.
Joryn Jerkins makes a good point: It’s difficult to co-parent when one spouse is still full of anger about being divorced. That spouse may want to fight more than cooperate. It’s common for spouses to be in different places as they adjust to the divorce. We all understand that. But when you have children, they come first. Parents will need to, as much as possible, put their person differences aside for the sake of their children.
Mediation and Litigation do not focus on where each parent is emotionally throughout the divorce. Collaborative Divorce utilizes a Family Specialist, often called the Coach, to alleviate obstacles in the divorce process, to help the spouses agree on a parenting plan, and to prepare to co-parent. With the assistance of the Family Specialist, the parents are better able to take on their new role of co-parents when the divorce agreement is finalized. The goal of the collaborative process is to help people to obtain a divorce with the least possible animosity and to assist the parents as they transition to co-parents. This process helps protect the children from unnecessary fallout because of the divorce.
The Collaborative Divorce process is focused on the settlement of all issues, helping each parent to express his or her interests, and to help the other parent hear and understand those interests. The parents learn to get through difficult conversations with each other in a safe environment. This leads to each parent being able to say what’s on his or her mind after the divorce is over. When co-parenting is a goal, the Collaborative Divorce process is the way to get there.