Category Archives: Divorce and Emotions

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

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

by JANN GLASSER, LCSW, LMFT, Divorce Coach, Co-Parenting Specialist

 

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 by body language.

 

3. Confirm Substantive Conversations with Your Co-Parent.

Confirming conversations in writing … Read More

Why Is Divorce So Stressful?

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

“There are few blows to the human spirit so great as the loss of someone near and dear.” ~ John Bowlby, M.D.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale indicates that divorce is the second highest stressor for humans, second only to the death of a spouse. Why is divorce so stressful?

When we view divorce through the lens of British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby’s attachment theory, it helps us understand the reason why divorce is so stressful. Attachment theory states that we humans have a biological predisposition to form attachment bonds (strong emotional ties) with significant others to have a secure haven and safe base where we can thrive and return for support and comfort during times of need, stress, and crisis.

We form these attachment bonds via our relationships with other human beings who are of primary importance to us. Indeed, Dr. Dan Siegel, Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA Medical School, states, “Relationships are the most important part of our having well-being in being human. It’s that simple. And it’s that important.”

From birth to death, throughout the human life cycle, attachment bonds ensure our safety, security and even survival, and these … Read More

Experts Contribute to Best Practices at Collaborative Practice California Conference

Orange County Collaborative Practice professionals will share their expertise with colleagues in April at the annual Collaborative Practice California Conference XII in Redondo Beach.

Members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County (CDSOC) are in demand as professional education panelists and seminar leaders throughout Fall 2017 due to their expertise and experience working with a diverse array of Orange County clients in the Collaborative approach to divorce.

“Many collaborative professionals are committed to continuing professional education in order to provide the best service to our clients,” said Dr. Carol Hughes, CDSOC member and workshop leader. “The annual conference of Collaborative Practice California is one venue for us to do this.

“We CDSOC members are honored to be contributing to the further growth of our Collaborative colleagues throughout the state. Ultimately, the reward is offering better options to clients who want to avoid the trauma, time and expense of a litigated divorce or other disputes,” added Dr. Hughes.

Collaborative Practice California presentations include:

Collaborative Family Lawyer and Mediator Bart Carey, Divorce Coach and Child Specialist Dr. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT, and Financial Specialist Cathleen Collinsworth, CDFA™, MAFF™ will facilitate an advanced seminar titled “Grand Rounds for Collaborative Practitioners.”

The workshop format introduces … 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

The Last Thing A Man Needs To Hear When He’s Going Through A Divorce

Many men feel adrift without any support system or coping skills during a divorce.

by Diana L. Martinez
Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, West Coast Law & Mediation, APC
with Dr. Marvin Chapman, Collaborative Coach, LMFT

“Real men don’t cry,” right? BS!

I have represented many strong and successful men in divorces. The skill set which creates business success often does the opposite when seeking conflict resolution in a personal relationship.

Too often, men tend to handle negotiations in their divorce as they do in the boardroom. They become frustrated when their previously successful tactics do not work. Frustration often shows itself as anger, stubbornness, yelling, or complete withdrawal. The real obstacle to their successful divorce resolution is grief, or, rather, the failure to work through the grief.

Divorce is the second most traumatic event a person can experience, second only to the loss of a loved one. While there is plenty of information and support for women to work through the trauma of divorce, there is very little available to men. Why? Because “real men don’t cry.”

The reality: men do grieve the loss of their marriage, but their grief is expressed so differently it appears as aggression, arrogance, or as a complete lack of empathy to the untrained eye

To better understand … Read More

The Most Effective Way to Reduce the Cost of Your Divorce or Civil Dispute

by Brian Don Levy, Esq., Collaborative Attorney and Mediator

What single item can add the most cost to your divorce or civil dispute? Acting or reacting based on emotional thinking, or making unilateral decisions that are based in emotional thinking.  It is critical to understand how our emotions can drive our thinking and our behavior, and it is important to manage those emotions in a healthy way that allows for understanding viable solutions and facilitates well thought out problem solving.

Every legal and financial decision is potentially wrapped in emotion, and those emotions can prevent us from fully understanding our options and choosing the options that make the most sense going forward. For almost every divorcing couple or civil disputant, trust is usually broken and communication is not working very well, if at all.  Bringing broken trust and poor communication into the decision-making process is not a good recipe for success.

Therefore, communication coaches are an important investment to be made in achieving a long term satisfying outcome for those in conflict. I use the term “investment” because failure to understand and manage emotions is a huge cost inflator for those engaged in civil and family law disputes.  The … 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

Carol Hughes: Advice About Divorce and Adult Children

Choose the best option for your divorce - learn more at our July 19 workshop.

Psychotherapist, Divorce Coach, Child Specialist, and Mediator Dr. Carol Hughes was recently featured on the website Bottom Line Inc., in the article “What To Do When Your Parents Divorce – And You’re Already a Grown Up.”

With the holidays ahead, Dr. Hughes explains what the adult children of divorced or divorcing parents need to know to respond to common situations, including:

  • Feelings of abandonment are normal, even for adult children
  • Divorcing parents may lean on adult children for support, and why it can hurt your OWN marriage
  • Divorce parents may battle each other through their adult children, causing conflict between parent and child, or among siblings
  • Old holiday traditions may be broken; consider establishing new holiday traditions
  • It’s normal and it’s OK to feel relieved about your parents’ divorce
  • Four ways divorcing parents can limit the fallout from their divorce for their adult children

The website Bottom Line provides wellness and wealth advice from experts, including Dr. Hughes. Its approach offers “useful, expert, actionable information to help you navigate your world, saving time and money along the way.”

Read the entire article at this link.

 … Read More