August 13, 2015

Investing in your Child’s Future: Divorce Process Matters

172244707-daddys-comfort-series-gettyimagesHaving recently become a grandparent for the first time, I am pondering the future with renewed urgency that my granddaughter’s legacy be one of hope and abundance. As she grows, there is no way to prevent the pain of grief and loss, the challenge of change or the regret of unfulfilled expectations, as major and minor crises are a normal part of our complicated human lives. But I want her to always know she is safe and loved, especially by her parents, as these are the building blocks of her resilience.

Almost always, children experience divorce or breakup as a crisis, a challenging change, a loss. However, as I tell the parents with whom I work, it is possible to keep this crisis from ever becoming a trauma. It is possible to separate or get unmarried in such a way that your children will continue to feel safe and loved by both parents. Selecting a process that enables a divorcing couple to make the transition to effective co-parenting is an investment in their children’s future.

As with other important investments, there is a need to balance potential gain with possible risk. In terms of impact on children, an adversarial divorce has minimum gain and maximum risk. A shorthand equation may be, the greater the court involvement, the greater the risk. In contrast, a process that focuses on respectful problem solving, and eliminates the need for court involvement, such as mediation or Collaborative Practice, has lower risk and potential maximum gain for children. Choosing the right professionals to guide you through the best process for your family can pay huge dividends in your children’s future.

Deborah ClemmensenABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deborah Clemmensen
Licensed Psychologist

Deborah Clemmensen, M.Eq., Licensed Psychologist was a child and family clinician for many years before her discovery of Collaborative Team Practice in 2000 motivated the transformation of her professional role from therapist to Neutral Child Specialist. This work---hearing the voices of every family member during a divorce or break up, keeping children at the center and out of the middle, and assisting parents in the creation of developmentally responsive parenting plans---is both a passion and a privilege. Find out more about Deborah's work at www.deborahclemmensen.com

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