Setting up a triage unit for family law courts

Setting up a triage for family law cases – parent or litigant?

A divorcing parent walks into a courthouse to seek relief.  Immediately his or her case is assessed.  A few questions asked of this person:  1.  Do you have an emergency? 2.  Is there family violence?  If the answer to these questions was yes these parent’s are rushed into the courtroom, court hearings had and orders would be entered for the safety of the parties/children.

If the person relayed that he did not have an emergency and there was no family violence, litigants and their children would be required to attend a kids first parents second workshop BEFORE litigating over issues of custody. The parties and the parties children would both required to attend a workshop to attend.  One for the children, and one for their parent’s.

Parent’s would be briefed on the effects of divorce on kids and provided basic negotiation and communication techniques in dealing with their ex spouses.  Kids would be able to share their thoughts and feelings – which would be later shared, en masse, to the parent’s attending the program.  Parent’s would also be briefed on the way’s they could settle their lawsuit.

After taking the class, the parties would go back to the courthouse and asked the following question:

 What type of parenting structure do you want to share, conflict, parallel or cooperative parenting?

Information as to each parenting structure would be provided to each parent so a clear decision could be made.The parties would be advised of the risks that conflict parenting have on their child, both short term and long term.

If conflict parenting was the persons’ answer the court would structure ways by which the party’s could parent their child. Orders would be in put in place, assessments’ begun and trial dates selected.

If parallel parenting was the persons’ answer, the person would be provided options outside the court’s care. Mediation, parent coordinators, parent facilitators would be used.  Parent’s would be given the ability to come up/ascertain a structure by which they could communicate and share time with the child.   Parallel parenting would require condition’s prior to the parties ever walking into a court room, to ensure that parties CHOICE, was being safeguarded.    Cooperative parenting techniques would be taught to the parent’s wanting to “parallel parent” to ensure that they maintained a healthy coexistence, not sliding into conflict.

If cooperative parenting  was the person’s office, the divorce would be reset and parties work through counseling and attorney’s to come up with a scheme to come up and prepare an agreed parenting plan.

The key, or heart to making the triage system would be to assess the parties ability to effectively parent.  Court’s taking this type of approach would be better able to manage family law dockets and create a environment that is truly kids first, parents second.

Setting up a triage for family law cases – parent or litigant?

A divorcing parent walks into a courthouse to seek relief.  Immediately his or her case is assessed.  A few questions asked of this person:  1.  Do you have an emergency? 2.  Is there family violence?  If the answer to these questions was yes these parent’s are rushed into the courtroom, court hearings had and orders would be entered for the safety of the parties/children.

If the person relayed that he did not have an emergency and there was no family violence, litigants and their children would be required to attend a kids first parents second workshop BEFORE litigating over issues of custody. The parties and the parties children would both required to attend a workshop to attend.  One for the children, and one for their parent’s.

Parent’s would be briefed on the effects of divorce on kids and provided basic negotiation and communication techniques in dealing with their ex spouses.  Kids would be able to share their thoughts and feelings – which would be later shared, en masse, to the parent’s attending the program.  Parent’s would also be briefed on the way’s they could settle their lawsuit.

After taking the class, the parties would go back to the courthouse and asked the following question:

 What type of parenting structure do you want to share, conflict, parallel or cooperative parenting?

Information as to each parenting structure would be provided to each parent so a clear decision could be made.The parties would be advised of the risks that conflict parenting have on their child, both short term and long term.

If conflict parenting was the persons’ answer the court would structure ways by which the party’s could parent their child. Orders would be in put in place, assessments’ begun and trial dates selected.

If parallel parenting was the persons’ answer, the person would be provided options outside the court’s care. Mediation, parent coordinators, parent facilitators would be used.  Parent’s would be given the ability to come up/ascertain a structure by which they could communicate and share time with the child.   Parallel parenting would require condition’s prior to the parties ever walking into a court room, to ensure that parties CHOICE, was being safeguarded.    Cooperative parenting techniques would be taught to the parent’s wanting to “parallel parent” to ensure that they maintained a healthy coexistence, not sliding into conflict.

If cooperative parenting  was the person’s office, the divorce would be reset and parties work through counseling and attorney’s to come up with a scheme to come up and prepare an agreed parenting plan.

The key, or heart to making the triage system would be to assess the parties ability to effectively parent.  Court’s taking this type of approach would be better able to manage family law dockets and create a environment that is truly kids first, parents second.

Promoting settlement in divorce mediations

KFPS had a great talk with Dominic Bava out in Wisconsin last week. Dominic is a smart man.  In short we combine kids seminar’s with mediation to create the perfect atmosphere to promote settlement among divorce litigants.

The KFPS seminar would be to, 1.  help kids understand and cope with their parent’s divorce, 2.  provide parent’s with training on how to resolve conflict.  The children’s seminar would be for the day and the parent’s for 1/2 the day.   We would have psychologists/counselor’s present as well representatives from Our Family Wizard.

The parent’s would spend the rest of the day trying to mediate disputes regarding their children – whether it be visitation or custody dispute.  Families at the end of the day would receive a certificate at the end of the day – showing that they are a Kids First Parents’ Second Home.  Kids would receive coupons at the end of the day giving them the right to have a kids night out, a kids pass, or even just a hug.  Kids would also give their parent’s the

In running the kids seminar’s in conjunction with mediation, we accomplish a few things, 1.  we create an environment that displays conflict in divorce in a negative light, 2.  we provide focus to hep parent’s better address the needs of their children after a divorce.

Parent’s who reach settlement receive a pat on the back and a sense of accomplishment.  Children leave the meeting with a sense that they are better in control of their environment.

If nothing else the system that we are going to implement will filter out those parent’s who wish to engage in cooperative parenting from the one’s who choose to engage in high conflict.

Kids n Divorce Seminars = Changing Focus

I ask you to sit across from me.  When we are situated I explain that I have two pictures to show you.  I explain nothing to you leaving you ill prepared for you what you are about to see.

The first picture I show is your ex spouse.  Your ex looks angry, imagine that.

One would imagine you would have a few reactions.  You might get angry, you might laugh or you might say I’m outta here. So basically a flight or fight response.  You don’t ask to even look at the second picture, why would you?

Now imagine that I show you the second picture first.   This picture is of your child.  Wonderful you say, how did you get this picture?  You would want to engage me in some sort of conversation.  You would be thinking about your child.

Kids seminar’s keep you focused on what’s important.  You are looking at the needs of your child.  Seeing what your kids are going through focuses you on what needs to be accomplished.  Your focus will be on ending conflict sooner than later.

Your kids need your help after the divorce.  Their world, their family structure is gone.  They need guidance and direction.  Your kids need to know that everything is going to be okay and they can get on with life as they know it.  Your kids do not need you to be engaged in constant conflict with their other parent.

So look to your kids when your engaging with an ex – focus on what that child needs and not on what your feeling when you see your ex!

Kids n Divorce Seminars – Day One

Persistence paid off last week when our doors opened for our first Divorce kids seminar.  It is amazing that hours, days’ and weeks of planning went into offering 4 actual hours of material that provided our kids hope during and after divorce.  It is obvious to us after the seminar that there is a need to structure different activities/interaction for kids from 4-6, 6-10, and 10 plus.  It is equally obvious that the girls are much more clearer on expressing their feelings than the boys.

We were glad that we knew we had to incorporate game play before the sessions began – using the right game was the question. Emotional cards used in a mix and match setting – perfect.  Using the cards as a teaching aid during the seminar to help kids identify and express emotions during the divorce – perfect.  Isolating and talking through different emotions of divorce.  Yup you guessed it, perfect.

The cool thing is our planning held up as thought out. Our kids, aged 4-9 were talking to their parent’s about activities that they wanted to get involved in – and buying journals so they could write and express their feelings for the day.

Success on day one – When does that EVER happen?