July 4, 2013

A Message to Children: What Divorce Means For You


The word divorce simply means “the legal way people get un-married,” but the first thing you really need to know is that just because your parents have a fight, it doesn’t mean they are going to split up. Generally, your parents will be able to work out their differences, but even if they can’t work things out they might choose to simply separate rather then divorce.

If your parents decided to separate, it means that they are stay married to each other but they are going to live apart from each other for a while. This means that one of them will move into a new home while they decide how to solve the problems they are having. If your parents decide to get divorced, it means that they are ending their marriage for good.

When your parents got married, they agreed to do a number of things together, things like living together, sharing their money with each other and making decisions about their lives together. When they get divorced, they are agreeing to find new ways to do all these things and to divide all the things they have shared. Often, they will hire lawyers to help them make these decisions and if they decide to get a Collaborative Divorce, they will have a whole team of experts available to help them figure things out.

One of the hardest decisions your parents are going to have to make during their divorce is deciding how to raise you after they are divorced. This is not going to be easy for them. It means deciding things like: who you will live with most of the time, when do you get to see the the parent who doesn’t live with you and how they are going to celebrate holidays and birthdays with you.

Most parents can work out these decisions by themselves or with the help from their lawyers or their Collaborative team (the team includes a Child Specialist, who will even ask you about your preferences). But if your parents can’t figure this out, it could mean going to court where a judge is going to have to decide what’s best for you even if that is not exactly what you want.

Now, if you are like most kids, the fact that your parents have lawyers or a Collaborative team, or might have to go to court really isn’t important to you. What really matters is that your family is going to change forever and it’s scary because you don’t know what the future is going to be like. Well, your future is going to change, but there are some things that will remain the same. You will still have a Mom and a Dad. You will still go to school. You’ll still have friends. You’ll still have a home and you will still have a family even though it will be different from what you’ve been used to.

Bruce Cameron
Attorney, Cameron Law, PLLC

Bruce Cameron, JD, MS is a second career attorney, practicing Quaker, and advocate for small town law practices. His solo practice focuses exclusively on collaborative law and mediation with just a soup├žon of estate planning for excitement. Bruce believes that alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, like collaborative law and mediation, are powerful positive means to reduce the destructive conflict typical of litigation. He has found that a little peacemaking tends to produce better outcomes for his clients. Learn more at www.CameronLawPllc.com

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One Response to A Message to Children: What Divorce Means For You

  1. Emily Murphy says:

    My niece asked me when her parents were separated whether her dad would still be her dad even if he didn’t live with her. My response: “A dad that loves me so much would always be your dad.” And I was right. The mom and dad still work together every day to make sure that she is happy and healthy. The main concern of every parent I see is that their kids understand how much they both still love them.

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