By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Family-focused divorce attorneys are passionate about keeping parents out of court when handling disputes over child custody. These lawyers know that long-term outcomes are better when the decisions are made by the parents themselves rather than left to the legal system.
Most parents continue to co-parent their children after divorce. Except for circumstances where children are at risk, parents have the responsibility to put the their children first by working out a parenting plan that is in the children’s best interests.
Here’s the key point to keep in mind. If you are unable to resolve your children’s issues with your co-parent, a judge will!
There are some very good reasons to avoid that:
1. The custody evaluation process can humiliate, frighten and compromise your children, and cause them enduring emotional harm.
2. Custody cases are tremendously expensive. Parents must not only pay their own lawyers, but they may also have to pay attorneys to represent their children and/or guardians ad litem who are appointed in custody cases for children who are too young to express their feelings and preferences.
3. Trial outcomes are difficult to predict.
4. A judge’s orders after trial rarely contain the crucial details that parents need in their agreements.
5. Your inability to make decisions regarding your children leaves them with a poor parenting model.
Smarter Solutions for Better Results
A high conflict divorce all but destroys the chances for a constructive co-parenting relationship after the divorce. Spare your children the ordeal of the court custody evaluation process and a prolonged divorce case that mires them in anxiety and uncertainty. You can accomplish that by dealing with child-related issues in a mindful, productive way.
Here are some constructive suggestions:
1. Agree with your spouse on a Parenting Goal Statement that memorializes your common beliefs and goals regarding dealing with the children during the divorce.
2. Communicate clearly with your spouse about the kids, confirming important communications in writing.
3. Seek advice from a child therapist or divorce coach regarding child-related issues.
4. Use a mediator, including those available through court systems at little or no cost, to help you resolve child-related matters as soon as possible.
5. Maintain as much of the children’s routine as possible.
6. Tell your lawyer that you want to resolve any outstanding child-related issues at the very first opportunity.
Divorce challenges parents to overcome obstacles and make sound decisions regarding their children. Parents able to do that offer their children a healthy and supportive parenting model. Parents who can’t, allow life-altering decisions regarding their children to be made by a stranger.
The Child-Centered Divorce Network strongly endorses attorney Larry Sarezky’s message presented in his Telly Award-winning film, Talk To Strangers. The film dramatically makes the point that children pay a high price when parents choose the courts to make custody decisions. Visit www.ChildCustodyFilm.com to learn more about protecting children during divorce, and to preview the film. Larry has also written an excellent book about divorce, to help both women and men navigate divorce in the best possible way: Divorce Simply Stated. http://divorcesimplystated.com.
*** *** ***
Rosalind Sedacca is recognized as The Voice of Child-Centered Divorce. She is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network which provides advice, coaching services and other valuable resources for parents who are facing, moving through or transitioning after a divorce. She is a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and the author of How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children – with Love! It’s an internationally acclaimed ebook designed to help parents create the best possible outcome for themselves and their children. To get Rosalind’s free ebook on Post Divorce Parenting as well as her coaching services, programs and other valuable resources visit www.childcentereddivorce.com.