Adult Needs | Children's Needs | High Net Worth Divorce | The Top 10 Ways to Stay Out of Court©

Adult Needs Through Separation and Divorce

Part of what makes separation and divorce so difficult to discuss is that there are many different experiences. At the beginning of the relationship, no one is planning for this outcome. When separating, both parties have lost the dream they had at the beginning.

Apart from this common experience, a lot of very different things can happen. Much of this can be organized around who is initiating the decision, who is receiving the decision or how much it is a mutual decision. Other essential elements are how much the parents see the children in the same way, how the family money works and what conflict looks like in the family.

We create our families in different ways. At the same time there are common threads. Generally men are closer to the finances and women may feel more vulnerable in this area. Women are generally closer to the care of the children and here the men may feel more vulnerable.

In the end, families are everything altogether, hopes and dreams, finances and children, past, present and future. As Moms, Dads and children move through this transition, all aspects of family life must be satisfied well enough for everyone to move forward.

Children’s Needs Through Parental Separation and Divorce

Over the past 30 plus years, researchers have extensively studied the risks to children before, during and after parental separation and divorce and also what helps them to stay resilient to the stresses of change and to thrive.

The results are quite clear in some ways. On-going conflict between their parents is very damaging to children whether their parents are still married and living together or separated and living in 2 households. One child’s description illustrates this well. This boy explained that he felt like half Mom and half Dad, so when Mom and Dad were fighting it felt like the two halves of him were fighting against each other. Fortunately, resolving parental conflict has been shown to support children’s self esteem.

Children are buffered from the stress of the separation by having a strong relationship with Mom, a strong relationship with Dad, and, of course, protection from conflict between them.

I work with parents to support them in their intentions to create the safest and most loving and supportive environment for their children in their 2-household family.

Collaborative Practice; Putting Families First by Dr Susan Gamache (3pp)
Collaborative Practice; A New Opportunity to Address Children’s Best Interests in Divorce by Dr Susan Gamache (2005) Louisiana Law Review (31pp)
Talking To Your Children About Separation and Divorce: Some Ideas and Tips to Help You Do It Right by Dr Joan Kelly

High Net Worth Divorce

In general we think of having good financial resources as a strength for a family. Unfortunately, in the area of separation and divorce, these assets can be a liability for the family, especially the children.

High net worth families are vulnerable to excessive and unnecessary litigation because there are funds to pay for it. Where there are limited funds, there are very real limits on how much litigation there can be. Litigation must stop when the money runs out.

The research on children’s wellbeing is clear that no matter what type of family children live within, prolonged exposure to their parents’ marital conflict hurts children. The more conflict there is, the more the children are at risk.

There is no doubt that in some situations litigation is the appropriate process. However, in the vast majority of situations, parents (even when there is considerable conflict) can work together, with appropriate information and support, to resolve the problems of the separation and keep their children and family safe from the very real risks of highly funded litigation.

The leading trends in Family Law suggest that litigation is becoming the ALTERNATE DISPUTE RESOLUTION approach and methods that keep families out of court and at the settlement table are now the first and most common choice.

If you are a high net worth family, I can help you to identify what you truly need in order to move through this transition as safely as possible.

Top 10 Ways to Stay Out of Court ©

1. Work to avoid contributing to unnecessary conflict and to reducing it when it occurs. Conflict is expensive both in terms of money and relationships.

2 . Inform yourself about ALL your process choices. Court is the most coercive and invasive approach. It is not the most common.

3. Consider using a Collaborative Divorce Coach. If you are having trouble communicating with your spouse about the separation, there is something you can do. If what you are doing is not working, you can have some support and professional assistance to do something different.
Even if your spouse is not willing to work with a coach, you can still get support, information and new ideas this way.

4. Your choice of lawyer will have a major impact on the type of process you have, how much your children are negatively affected and how much it will cost. I help many clients chose a lawyer appropriate for their situation and to understand the significant consequences of their choice. If you need a lawyer, try a Collaborative lawyer first. You can always retain a litigation lawyer later if you need to.

5. Identify something you found attractive about your partner when you first met. Remember that as unpleasant as it may feel right now, you and your partner chose each other. Find something you can trust about your spouse.

6. Remember that the children need their parenting relationships as a primary emotional container for their childhood and their developing emotional systems and sense of themselves. The quality of their relationships with their parents and the level of conflict in their family are major determinants of their current and future well being.

7. Keep your children’s lives going as normally as possible. Try to make sure that their activities and important family traditions continue with as much flow and grace as possible even if this means that Mom and Dad may not be participating at the same time.

8. Keep doing positive things in your own life. Work against the divorce process taking you over. Learn some relaxation techniques and put them into practice daily. Get some exercise everyday.

9. If your friends or family are vilifying your spouse, tell them, “Thank you for trying to help. I know you love me and are trying to protect me. What would be really helpful is ………………… “(and then tell them what really would be helpful to you to get through the tasks ahead as calmly as possible.)

10. What will the legacy of your divorce be for your children?
Remember that as you go through the process of separation and divorce, you are writing the story of your children’s parents’ divorce. Ask yourself, "What do I want my children to be saying about this 5, 10, 20 years from now?" Eventually it will all be distilled down to ‘the story of my parents divorce.’ You are creating that story now.

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