Spouses who divorce without children have the option of simply “closing the door” ending their relationship and moving forward. Terminating the relationship with an ex spouse is not a viable option for a husband or wife who is also the parent of a child. Parents must transition from the relationship they shared as a spouse to the relationship they will have to maintain for the benefit of their children.
The divorce process may very well dictate how these parents will interact with one another, now and in the future. So do parents us civil litigation or collaborative process to resolve their divorce case? Parents have to immediately decide if they want to allow the divorce process to be used to solve their problems OR to use civil litigation approach and use the divorce process as Round One in a boxing match.
Choosing between civil litigation OR collaborative approach may just be the most important factor that will decides how parents are going to engage each other in the future. Parties to a divorce have to stop, think and remember that they were parents of these children way before they ever thought they would be litigants. Parents problem solve, litigants do not. Litigants address issues and ask for relief through an adversarial system.
Parents NEVER EVER start out and teach their children to fight their way out of a problem. Parents teach their child to problem solve. Parents teach their children to ask for help from others. Parents look at ways to help that child reduce the problem before things got out of control. Parents instruct their children in this fashion because they want to remove their child from the potential harm caused by conflict. Parents are simply intelligent enough, resilient enough, to know how to get the child through difficulty.
Parents must remember to practice what they preach during the divorce process. Applying collaborative techniques in a divorce helps parent’s problem solve and, if need be, work with professionals who have insight on how to help resolve conflict. Collaboration creates an environment where each parent feels that they have an equal say in how their child is going to being raised. Success or fail, the collaborative experience plants a “seed” inside the mind of each parent, giving them a powerful tool that they can use in the future to help minimize conflict.
So the divorce is not the end that “closes a door”to an old relationship. Divorce is merely a transition, a stage that will define how parents will engage one another in the future. Failing to see the divorce process as a transition period means will mean that parents lost a valuable opportunity to develop a plan of action that will assist their “divorced family” for years to come.
KIDS FIRST PARENTS SECOND