Why Collaborative Divorce is Best for Your Children

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Many parents worry that getting a divorce will hurt their children. Historically, and even today, many couples stayed together when they shouldn’t because they believed it was “better for the children.” In fact, in many cases, collaborative divorce is best for your children — even better than staying in an unhealthy relationship. Here’s why.

Divorce with Children is Hard

Divorce is a complicated and emotional process in almost every case, but divorce with children is especially hard. Issues of child custody and support can feel intensely personal when parents’ identity have become closely connected with their children, or when finances are tight. This can make it hard to consider visitation schedules and child support calculations objectively. Many parents struggle to put their children’s interests first before their own priorities.

In some cases, this difficulty turns into repeated custody motions in court. Many high-conflict divorces with children return to the Connecticut courts over and over on post-judgment motions to modify or enforce their custody orders and visitation schedules. Parties who don’t learn how to co-parent effectively can come to treat the Court as a hammer, hitting their ex-spouse whenever disputes arise, to make sure they get their way. None of this is good or healthy for the kids caught in the middle.

Negative Effects of Divorce on Children

Children have a tough time understanding the adult reasons behind divorce. They are often caught in the middle between parents who have strong feelings toward each other and no safe place to express them. In high-conflict cases, children often end up being used as bargaining chips or even weapons against the other parent. All this can cause substantial emotional harm and leave kids unable to predict what will happen next.

Conflict has a toxic effect on children. Watching their parents argue can be traumatizing, especially if things turn violent or continue for an extended period of time. Even if you do a good job of protecting your children from the conflict involved in traditional divorce litigation, your kids will still be able to tell you are stressed, sad, and angry about the process. And that can have a lasting impact on them.

Why Collaborative Divorce is Best for Your Children

Collaborative Divorce Reduces Conflict

The best way to reduce that negative impact is to lower the conflict in your divorce process. One highly effective way to do that is to choose the collaborative divorce process over typical litigation. In a standard divorce, it is Mom versus Dad. The adversarial nature of the proceedings can increase conflict and put everyone on the defensive.

However, in collaborative divorce, both parties commit in writing to resolve their marriage and child-related issues outside of court. Rather than preparing to “have your day in court” and prove the other side wrong, you and your spouse promise to exchange all necessary information and work with professionals to find a solution that is best for the whole family. This means for many families, collaborative divorce is best for your children.

Collaborative Divorce Prioritizes Solutions over Proof

Because you and your spouse are the decision makers in a collaborative divorce, there’s no need to prove anyone right or wrong. This lets you stay focused on the future – finding solutions to issues like variable work schedules, transportation concerns, and extracurricular expenses. For children, that means you and your spouse can provide certainty for your children sooner, creating a set schedule for visitation and placing an emphasis on their needs before working out all the details about your property or debts.

You Can Tailor Your Settlement to Meet Your Kids’ Needs

No family court judge has the time to work out every last detail of your family’s custody and visitation arrangement. If you go to trial, your judgment likely will not include provisions for your child’s tutoring expenses or bedtime routines (unless you spend a lot of time and attorney fees litigating the issue). Collaborative divorce allows you and your co-parent to set the priorities for your case, defining what is important for your family. This is especially important for parents of special-needs children who may have additional needs and considerations the judges are not aware of, such as a need for a consistent schedule or special diet.

Collaborative Divorce Gives Parents Access to a Child Specialist

One benefit to collaborative divorce is the commitment to using experts to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of proposed solutions. One such expert is the child specialist. This is a licensed mental health professional with experience working with children and family systems. The Child Specialist can help you understand how divorce impacts children, and teach parents strategies for responding to their children’s needs during the transition. The child specialist can even meet with your children (if they are old enough) to understand their preferences and your family dynamic, and make suggestions for child custody and visitation based on their needs.

You Will Learn Dispute Resolution Tools to Help Avoid Court

The biggest reason that collaborative divorce is better for your children is what you, as parents, will learn along the way. The attorneys and professionals certified in collaborative divorce are there to train parents and guide them to resolve differences themselves, rather than relying on a third party like a judge or arbitrator. That means by the time you are done with a collaborative divorce, you will be better able to resolve future disputes without heading back to court. You and your spouse will learn essential co-parenting techniques that will make you better parents and help you work together for your kids’ benefit, long after the divorce is final.

Choose Collaborative Divorce for Your Children

The family law attorneys at Lawrence & Jurkiewicz can help decide if collaborative divorce is better for you and your children. We represent clients in Hartford and Litchfield County who are dealing with difficult issues like divorce. While we know collaborative divorce isn’t the right answer for every family, we can evaluate your circumstances, and choose the divorce process that is best for you and your children. To schedule a confidential consultation to see how we can help you, please contact us today online or at (860) 264-1551.

Categories: Collaborative, Divorce