The Importance of a Child Centered Divorce
While “on paper” a divorce is between two adults, any children of the couple are really the ones who will be most affected by the dissolution of the marriage.
Children may have their whole world turned upside down. Not only because the parents will no longer live together, but because the children will have to establish new routines in each household. Sometimes the children will have to move and there may be new schools to adjust to. And sometimes, the children will need counseling to help them deal with all of the changes that occur in a new family structure and life.
How To Make a Divorce Child-Centered?
A child-centered divorce must be a conscious decision on the part of both parents. This means making sure that the parents are focusing on the children’s needs and how they can make things smoother for the children during the transition. The parents must work together, even if it is a challenge. This may involve counseling for both parents and may include a parenting facilitator. A parenting facilitator is a professional who can work with both parents to help them see different ways to handle the issues that may occur and how to help make the transition easier for the children. In a child-centered divorce, the children are free to love both parents and to have good relationships with both parents.
The Collaborative Divorce Option
A Collaborative Divorce is helpful in many of these situations. In a collaborative divorce, the husband and wife avoid having to go to court and having the court making decisions for the family. The divorcing couple work together to make the best decisions possible for their individual family. A Collaborative Divorce involves each party having an attorney, and also involves a neutral financial advisor to help the couple work through financial details and a neutral mental health professional to assist with communication and parenting issues.
A Collaborative Divorce may not be appropriate in every case.
A divorcing couple can still work together through their attorneys to make things easier for the children involved. For example, the attorneys can agree to have a parenting facilitator appointed by the Court if needed. If the divorce has a higher level of conflict between the parents, additional individual or family counseling may be recommended to help the children and the parents with the transition process.
While a divorce can be challenging for everyone involved, it is important to look beyond the immediate conflicts to try to make the process as smooth as possible for the children so that moving forward is as easy as possible. The result of a child-centered divorce process can lead to children coping with the divorce in a healthy way and not becoming collateral damage during the divorce.