When couples fall in love and marry, they expect it to be forever. However, far too many marriages end in divorce and children become collateral damage in a divorce war.
Although divorce causes stress and prompts painful emotions, it does not have to mean the end of the family. It merely signals changes in the form of the family unit as parents discontinue their romantic relationship and go in separate directions. The children will still have two parents who, hopefully, both love them and help raise them. Studies have shown that it is almost always best for the children to continue to be involved with both parents and have contact with their extended families.
Ideally, when you decide how to approach your divorce, you and your spouse will keep in the forefront your love for and concern about your children’s welfare. And you will agree to plan your divorce to minimize long-term adjustment problems for the children.
Achieving such a positive, united resolution requires two simple steps. First, realize that your hurt and anger are not more important than the health and happiness of your children. Second, commit to using the Collaborative Divorce process.
In a Collaborative Divorce, you and your spouse agree to do everything you can to end the marriage in a peaceful way, work together regarding your children, and never put the children in the middle of conflicts. Fortunately, specially trained professionals are available to help you overcome challenges you will encounter along the way.
Here are three all too common examples that can be avoided with a Collaborative Divorce:
1. One of the parents becomes overly nice to the children, lavishing them with gifts, toys, trips to fun places, and / or giving them special privileges. This parent clearly wants the children to “chose” him or her as the custodial parent. Unfortunately, this behavior usually undercuts effective discipline for both parents.
2. The police are called to the house when the parents’ arguments in front of the children lead to a pushing match – or one parent successfully provokes the other into physical action. In a similar scenario, disputes that develop at transfer times necessitate police presence. The reason for the call could be as simple as wanting the police to document that the other parent arrived past the agreed-upon time to pick-up the children for a visitation.
3. Sometimes the battle between parents involves withholding money as leverage for preventing the children from visiting the other parent. In the heat of a divorce, parents lose sight of how destructive this behavior is for their children.
Collaborative Divorce has been proven to help divorcing spouses put aside their differences to give their children as much stability and love as possible during this difficult time and going forward. Preserving the family becomes their ultimate, mutual goal.
Filed in: Conduct and Communications, Emotions and the Family Specialist, Is Collaborative for You?