Divorcing Parents – Think Twice Before Going to Court

Divorcing Parents – Think Twice Before Going to Court

Parents Fighting Around Kids After Divorce

Parents Fighting Around Kids After Divorce

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

When famous celebrities like Mel Gibson, Denise Richards, Halle Berry and others battle through a divorce, the stakes are high. Millions of dollars are often in contention, blurring issues related to child-custody and visitation. These couples hire “killer” attorneys and commit to paying an enormous price — which includes not only hefty legal fees, but a tremendous time expenditure and emotional toll.

Too many non-celebrity couples facing divorce blindly choose this same path – often without considering the reality of all the costs involved. They do not have the revenue to maintain ongoing litigation in the courts. Nor do they have a game plan for putting together the pieces of their shattered family after the legal battles are finally over.

Sadly they come to realize that celebrities are usually poor role models. They don’t necessarily make the wisest decisions regarding their children’s best interest as they move through and beyond divorce.

Litigation doesn’t lead to positive outcomes.

It’s easy to forget that divorce litigation is really a luxury, not a necessity.  And it’s often a luxury that results in material success at the cost of familial success.  Not only is fighting expensive, it’s often more about ego than concern for the best interest of your kids. The money spent in court fighting over details could instead be used for living expenses or savings toward your child’s education. Those same issues could just as easily have been resolved through mediation – and at a much lower price.

Too often the only real winners in family courts are the two divorce attorneys. When you are paid by the hour to keep your client in the ring, it’s unlikely that peaceful resolution is a strong motivator. So it’s go for the jugular – and then let Mom and Dad pick up the broken chards of their lives while creating a workable plan for co-parenting the innocent children waiting on the sidelines.

When emotions are strained between two parents it’s hard to think about cooperation, let alone aligning yourself with one another co-parent on behalf of your children. That’s when an objective party needs to add some sanity and clarity to the mix.

Trust your own parenting skills when co-parenting.

Parents need to be reminded that no one knows your children better than both of you. Do you really want a stranger deciding the fate of your children – or the outcome of how much time you get to be with them? Is it worth the gamble to put your family’s future in the hands of an overworked family court judge?

Wouldn’t the advice of professional counselors, mediators, coaches or collaborative divorce attorneys – all child-advocates who work toward finding long-term resolutions that work for everyone in the family – be a wiser (and more cost-effective) choice?

How do you think your children want Mom and Dad to handle decisions affecting their family after divorce? What will you say to them when they are grown adults and question your choices? Are litigation battles really in your family’s best interest? Think long and hard before you answer. Your children will thank you!

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of the acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — With Love!To get her free ebook, coaching services, expert interviews, programs, e-courses and other valuable resources on divorce and co-parenting, visit: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com

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Divorced Co-Parents’ Dilemma: Balancing Privacy vs. Sharing

Divorced Co-Parents’ Dilemma: Balancing Privacy vs. Sharing

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

My co-parent tells our kids not to tell me about what goes on at home when they visit. Can’t I ask questions?

You’re not alone in being frustrated by finding balance in the privacy versus sharing equation. And there is no simple answer. After divorce most parents want to keep their private lives private and don’t want the children sharing too many details about their visit time. Asking your children to “spy” on their other parent puts the kids in an awkward situation. They feel guilty, pressured and confused, especially if Mom or Dad tells them not to share specific information.

This delicate subject needs to be addressed between both parents and agreed upon in advance. Discuss sensible boundaries, taking into account the age of your child. Children should be able to talk to both parents about activities, meals or other innocent details regarding their time with their other parent. That’s how they relate. Asking a child not to say anything is unfair to them as they usually want to talk about things they did. But you shouldn’t probe beyond the superficial with them. If you want to know exactly what Dad bought them for dinner, who the friend was that stopped by and what time they went to bed, you should have that conversation with Dad.

For those who aren’t communicating easily via phone, try one of the online scheduling services designed for just this purpose. Use it to avoid conflict related to overlooked messages, event details, school notes, important phone numbers, etc. Create some agreements about information or conversation boundaries in advance. Perhaps Mom and Dad need to share menus or venues they visited that week on the scheduling calendar or via email. Perhaps that information is not to be shared. Get help from a mediator or therapist if you need an intermediary in making agreements. Just keep the kids out of the conflict!

What if my co-parent doesn’t let me call my kids while at the other home?

Children suffer when one parent doesn’t allow the kids to communicate with their other parent – whether it’s over night or for an extensive stay. Divorce forces children to be separated from one parent most times. It was not their choice. Insisting they have no contact with the other parent punishes the children unnecessarily. Connection with parents creates security and a sense of comfort. Talking for just a few minutes on the phone, via text or tablet provides that comfort. Denying your child time to maintain connection with either parent is hurtful and will be destructive long-term.

Be sure not to exploit that contact time and overstay your welcome. A 5 to 10 minute conversation should cover your bases without being too overindulgent. Remember to welcome those calls when the kids are at your home.

If your co-parent doesn’t want to cooperate in this regard, try to bring a therapist, divorce coach or other expert into the picture to mediate a resolution. You’ll find numerous articles on my www.ChildCenteredDivorce.comwebsite as well as several other divorce and parenting websites and blogs encouraging both parents to keep communication with the childrenas easy and stress-free as possible. Sometimes, simply sending an article or two to your co-parent will open their minds to the importance of giving the children ongoing contact with their other parent. If that doesn’t work, taking legal action may be necessary, but only as a last resort.

Always remind your children that you love and miss them when they are not with you. However, never “guilt” them into feeling emotional turmoil about leaving you to stay with their other parent. Encourage positive visits and remind them you look forward to seeing them again next time it’s your turn.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of numerous books and e-courses on divorcing with children and co-parenting successfully. For instant download of her FREE EBOOK onDoing Co-Parenting Right: Success Strategies For Avoiding Painful Mistakes! go to: childcentereddivorce.com/book

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