By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Larry Sarezky is a Family Law attorney with a strong, child-centered focus. He is also the author of an excellent book, Divorce Simply Stated, that I highly recommend. Larry created a list of ten questions for clients who are considering custody battles.
He tells them, if your co-parent wants to fight over the kids, ask them to answer the following questions – and think about the consequences of each one.
It’s a good exercise for every parent coping with the challenges of divorce:
1. Do you want your children to endure months of anxiety and uncertainty as to where they will be living and whether they will have the relationship they want with their parents and siblings? When you prolong the child-care battle, your children pay the price in stress. Seek out mediation to find a path toward co-parenting solutions that honor your children.
2. Do you want your children subjected to interviews by attorneys, mental health professionals and court personnel making them feel frightened, humiliated, and pressured to be loyal to both parents? Imagine the impact on innocent psyches who don’t know how their responses will affect their future.
3. Do you want your children subjected to questioning by these professionals about their most personal fears and frailties? How do kids move on after these interrogations, even when well-meaning? Why not protect them from this needless trauma?
4. Do you want to risk your children developing emotional disorders as a result of your high-conflict custody battle? Clinical studies show that children exposed to high parental conflict experience greater psychological damage. You have responsibilities and choices you can make today that can keep your kids out of your conflict.
5. Do you want your inability to resolve your differences to serve as a model of parenting for your children? Your kids watch and learn from you. What will you expect from them when they are grown adults?
6. Do you want intimate details of your life to become a matter of public record? Children don’t have the same boundaries as adults and may embarrass you in the process of answering personal questions. ?
7. Do you want a stranger deciding how often you will see your children, and how you will make decisions concerning them? Once the court takes over your divorce you lose control over your life, your divorce and its outcome.
8. Do you want a substantial portion of your assets used as fees for attorneys and expert witnesses with no guarantee that you will be happy with the result? Court decisions are out of your hands, regardless of who represents you and how much you spend.
9. Do you want to give up attention to detail that negotiated agreements typically contain but judges’ decisions do not? Mediation and other negotiations address details and terms with greater sensitivity towards individual needs and concerns.
10. Do you want to engage in costly, time-consuming and rancorous litigation that can make future cooperation between you and your co-parent extremely difficult at best, and the resumption of effective joint parenting nearly impossible? Too often the consequences of divorce conflict lasts for years, creating emotional havoc on everyone in the family. Divorced parents with more agreeable settlements find it easier to move ahead with cooperative co-parenting that respects both parents and kids.
These are important and insightful questions that take the luster off of custody battles and put a spotlight on the damaging and often devastating outcomes that result.
Don’t let your divorce settlement poison your family for decades ahead. You have choices. Make them mindfully, carefully and effectively for children of all ages.
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of numerous books, e-courses and programs on divorcing with children and co-parenting successfully. For instant download of her FREE EBOOK on Doing Co-Parenting Right: Success Strategies For Avoiding Painful Mistakes! go to: childcentereddivorce.com/book
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