Saving Children in Divorce
When couples decide to divorce, they must then find a process that protects children and preserves parenting relationships.
“I finally realized that you being in Poe’s life doesn’t mean less for me. It means more for Poe.” ~ Ping,
(Poe’s adoptive father to his biological father) Kung Fu Panda 3
The worst possible path is for each parent to hire an attorney and pursue a litigated divorce.
A better option—mediation with Child and Family Advocacy.
Litigation’s harm to children
Attorneys owe clients a duty to obtain the best possible outcome in a settlement. With children, clients often define “the best possible” as the most time. As the court system purposely pits parents against each other in a contest for the upper hand, the family structure and the parents’ ability to work together is destroyed.
More, the judge, charged with finding a solution in the “best interests of the children,” has little actual information about the children. Judges often don’t understand developmental stages and how divorce impacts these. They aren’t privy to the unique nuances of each family. They rarely hear from children about their desires or concerns. Rather than fashioning agreements tailored to the best for the family, judges rely on arbitrary guidelines which now-warring parents must implement.
A better way—Child and Family Advocacy
When children are involved, The Resolution Center assigns Patricia Martin-Brown as the Child and Family Advocate. Patricia works with the family to create the foundation for a parenting plan that builds trust between parents and equips them to continue working together to raise their children—even as they move to independent lives.
Step 1—The CFA meets with the children
The CFA meets children in the security of their home. She gets to know the children. She talks with them about their feelings regarding the divorce, their challenges, and their desires for their future family. Patricia assesses how the how each child is coping with changing family dynamics and the steps needed to help them transition well.
Step 2—The CFA meets with the parents
Patricia takes the information gleaned from the children and translates it for parents. She explains the general expectations of their child’s developmental stage and how the divorce is specifically impacting their child. Patty then utilizes her training and the array of resources at uptoparents.org to educate parents about steps they need to take to work together in parenting their children. Through the divorce and into the future.
Step 3—The parents work with the mediator to craft a parenting plan
Equipped with a shared understanding of their children’s needs, parents then work together in mediation to design a parenting plan. They create time arrangements, decision-making patterns, and new traditions that honor the importance of both parents in their children’s lives. Rather than destroying the family structure, mediation helps parents design and implement a new and better structure.
Parents come to see that the presence and involvement of the other parent doesn’t mean less for them. It means more for their children.