Category Archives: Child Custody

How To Help Your Children During Separation and Divorce

By Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT

“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.”
~Marian Wright Edelman, Founder, Children’s Defense Fund

 

Research about the effects of divorce on children indicates that:

  • Each year, over 1 million American children experience the divorce of their parents.1
  • Ongoing parental conflict increases kids’ risk of psychological and social problems.2
  • Improving the relationships between parents and their children helps children cope better in the months and years following the divorce.3

Children are the innocent victims of divorce.  Divorce ranks second only to the death of a loved one as life’s most stressful experiences.4 Litigation, which by definition is adversarial, can compound that stress exponentially due to the hostility it can engender and the exorbitant costs that parents can incur.  “Combat divorce,” a common term for litigation, requires that each parent have the biggest battleship armed with the biggest guns, which take aim at the battleship of the other parent.  Let’s remember that, no matter what else changes, each of these soon to be “ex-spouses” forever remains their child(ren)’s other parent.  During the process of litigation, that obvious fact can become obscured in the harsh and … Read More

Mom and Dad, Here’s What I Need During Your Divorce

by Jann Glasser, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Coach/Psychotherapist, Collaborative Coach

For children, divorce can be stressful, sad, and confusing. At any age, kids may feel uncertain or angry at the idea of their parents splitting up.

As a parent, you can make the process and its effects less painful for your children. Helping your kids cope with divorce means providing stability at home and attending to your children’s needs with a reassuring, positive attitude. It won’t be easy, but these tips can help your children cope.

A Child’s Wish List During Their Parents’ Divorce

  • I need both of you to stay involved in my life. Please communicate with me. Make phone calls, send texts and ask me lots of questions, but respect my right not to answer all the time. When you don’t stay involved, I feel like I’m not important and that you don’t really love me.
  • Please stop fighting and try hard to get along with each other. Try to agree on things that have to do with me. When you fight about me, I think that I did something wrong and I feel guilty.
  • I love you both and want
Read More

A Divorced Parent’s Holiday Gift Guide: Your Child’s Wish List

by Jann Glasser, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Coach/Psychotherapist, Collaborative Coach

Holiday season is here again. If you are divorced with children, the season can be challenging as you attempt to coordinate two households and extended family, trying to meet everyone’s needs simultaneously. As you begin to review your child’s wish list for the season, there is something more precious every child wants that you won’t find in any store or even on Amazon.

It’s time with both parents during the holidays, the kind of quality time that helps your children feel reassured that while their parents might not be living together anymore, your relationship with your child remains the same.

If your child could write out their wish list for the things to make it easier, the list would look like this:

1. Help me shop for or make a gift for my other parent, if I’m not old enough to do it myself. It feels good when I can give you each gifts that you like.

2. Don’t make me feel guilty about the gift I got or what fun I had with each of you.

3. Let me celebrate family traditions … Read More

The Honey Experiment: Can It Help Your Co-parenting Relationship?

by Suanne I. Honey, Certified Family Law Specialist, Law Offices of Suanne I. Honey

Let me start this blog by letting you know I am a family-law attorney who, unfortunately, still litigates cases. I prefer the Collaborative Process for many reasons. This means I work with couples who at times can be very angry with each other.

This post, however, has to do with attitudes. A recent Facebook post keeps popping up frequently about a teacher of mentally challenged students. He started each school day telling each student compliments specific to that student. There were both expected and unexpected results with her experiment. Most impressive, the students began giving each other compliments and their academic grades improved.

Being a strong believer in the concept of positive energy spreading just as quickly as negative energy, I decided to start my own experiment. A few months ago I started asking my clients who are engaged in a high-conflict relationship with the other parent to give the other parent a compliment. Daily seems too often and rings of insincerity and ulterior motives. I requested once a week or if that was too onerous, once a month.

There is an old saying that you … Read More

Children Must Be Heard and Not Seen During a Divorce: The Advantages of the Child Specialist

Divorce is especially hard on minor children. As a parent, help them manage their emotions and don't rely on them to manage yours.Divorce is especially hard on minor children. Help them manage their emotions. A Child Specialist can guide you and prevent long term psychological trauma.

by Bart Carey, Family Law Attorney
Law Office of Bart J. Carey, Mediation and Collaborative Family Law

Divorce is a different experience for children and adults because the children lose something that is fundamental to their development – the family structure. The family comprises the scaffolding upon which children mount successive developmental stages, from infancy into adolescence.” — “Second Chances: Men Women and Children a Decade After Divorce

How many times have you taken your child through a divorce? Helped your child navigate an emotional and transitory life experience that is difficult and opaque for you? Successfully rebuilt the family structure in ways that support your child? And all at a time when you and your spouse are not on the same page.

When it comes to helping your child through a divorce, consider turning to a child specialist to get the best advice and counsel based on the advantages of their specialized education, training and experience.

Here are nine reasons why you should have a child specialist assist you through your divorce process:

  1. It’s not therapy. No one is going to mess with your child. The child specialist’s role is to listen to you and
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Collaborative Divorce Featured in Stu News Laguna

Collaborative Divorce in the News Orange County

Stu News Laguna Headline

The effect of divorce on children and the benefits of the Collaborative Divorce approach were recently featured in the community news publication Stu News Laguna. Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County member Patrice Courteau was interviewed and provided her insight and expertise on lessening the negative effects of divorce on children, particularly teenagers who are not always considered as vulnerable as younger children.

Read the entire interview at this link to the publication online.

Collaborative Divorce Patrice Courteau in Laguna NewsRead More

Six Ways a Collaborative Divorce Supports Your Family Values

Collaborative Divorce supports your family and your family values through a difficult, stressful process.

by Bart Carey, Attorney/Mediator and Family Law Attorney
Law Office of Bart J. Carey, Mediation and Collaborative Family Law

Why do so many people behave so poorly when they separate and divorce? You know what I mean. As people choose to separate and divorce, as we get caught up in emotions and conflict, we say and do things that, in our everyday lives we’d never do or say.

Worse, this behavior is often condoned, counseled and/or supported by well-meaning family friends and even professionals. We fight for control or justification by speaking to and treating our children’s mother or father in ways we’d never condone under any other circumstance. We’d certainly never teach our children such behavior is acceptable, except they actually are learning from observing what we do.

This reality became personal for me when after a number of years as a litigator, I experienced my own divorce. I learned that divorce is not a legal process. It is a life experience.

As a life experience, I had to ask myself how I could square my own behavior with my values as a husband and father. Like many, I can’t say I was proud of everything I said and … Read More

Tips for Talking With Young Children About Your Upcoming Separation or Divorce

Divorce is especially hard on minor children. As a parent, help them manage their emotions and don't rely on them to manage yours.Divorce is especially hard on minor children. Help them manage their emotions. A Child Specialist can guide you and prevent long term psychological trauma.

by Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT

Note: To avoid the clumsiness of using “child/children,” “children” is intentionally used throughout this article

It is clear you care about doing the best you can for your children through the separation and divorce process, because you are reading this article. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. No one is. Remember to keep taking slow, deep breaths. You and your children will get through this difficult time.

Consider the following tips to help you prepare to talk with your minor children.

Agree on a time when you and your spouse can talk with your children together. Siblings need the support system they can provide each other. Divorce is a major life crisis for all family members and should be treated as such. Ideally, it is best to share the news with your children when they will have adequate time to absorb what you will be telling them; for instance, when they do not have to go back to school in a day or two after hearing the news.

Plan your presentation to your children in advance. Make some notes about what you plan to say and review them so that you are familiar … Read More

Seven Ways To Make a High Conflict Divorce Easier on Your Children

Avoid drawing children into your divorce conflicts. These seven tips from Marriage and Family Therapist Jann Glasser will help you learn how.

by Jann Glasser, LCSW, MFT

1.   Recognize and Deal with Signs of Distress in Your Children

  • Altered sleep or eating habits
  • Declining scholastic performance
  • Frequent, sudden or broad mood changes
  • Acting out with anger, aggression, or defiance
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Lethargy or disinterest
  • Infantile or other regressive behavior
  • Becoming accident-prone
  • Excessive catering to parents, which may signal a child’s self-blame for the divorce

If you observe such behavior, contact a mental health professional. Also consider consulting with a divorce coach who can help improve communication with your children, and your ability to care for them during your divorce.

2.   Step AWAY from the Buttons

Spouses in dysfunctional marriages know well how to expose each other’s vulnerabilities and provoke each other’s anger. Use that knowledge to avoid pushing your spouse’s buttons, because anything that increases parental conflict increases the prospects for harm to your kids.

Also use what you know about your quarrelsome co-parent to avoid confrontations. During any encounters with your spouse be careful not to convey disrespect in front of the children either by words or body language.

3.   Confirm Substantive Conversations with Your Co-Parent

Confirming conversations in writing can make it more difficult) for your co-parent … Read More