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
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
By Bart J. Carey, Esq.
In speaking with a parent contemplating divorce, I always speak with the understanding that it is most likely the parents who best understand their children and what is best for themselves and the family. I assume parents are best situated to shepherd their children through life’s toughest challenges, including divorce, if …
Divorce is one of those times. It’s a tough time for the whole family, parents and children – of all ages. A crisis like they’ve never faced before, challenging their very identity as parents, children, family and each of their places/roles/futures in and as a family. But I also know, empowered to do so, parents will do their best to meet these challenges in consideration of the best interests of their children.
For these and many other reasons, I always assure parents I am confident, with the best advice and counsel available, they will make the best decisions regarding their children.
Uniquely qualified to advise and to equip parents with the information and insights which, when combined with their own, will empower them to best serve the best interests of their children, here are some of the ways which I have witnessed … Read More
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
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
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
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
by Marvin L. Chapman, PsyD, LMFT, CFC
We generally understand that men and women take in information differently. Men are typically more visual and women are typically more verbal. Many times men and women speak different languages. Men have three primary areas of their lives which greatly influences their level of self-esteem and impacts their sense of well-being: work, home, and sex. For women, these areas are money, family, and intimacy. No overlap at all!
Ask a man to give his definition of money, family, and intimacy. Next, ask him to give his definition of work, home, and sex. You will find a significant difference between these two definitions. Men and women label these traits with different names, indicating just how differently we view them.
Divorce is all about these things: Work, home, family, money, sex and intimacy. Without speaking the same language, it’s no surprise men and women have so much trouble navigating marriage and divorce. So let’s take a closer look at these concepts based on my experience as a divorce coach working with many couples on these issues.
Work / Money
For most men, going to work is more than … Read More
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:
… Read More
- It’s not therapy. No one is going to mess with your child. The child specialist’s role is to listen to you and
by John R. Denny, Family Law Attorney
Hittelman Strunk Law Group, LLP, Newport Beach, California
- The team approach helps you get through the process without going to war.
You will work with a team of legal, financial, and mental health professionals who are specifically trained in the Collaborative Process. They agree to work with you to reach a settlement outside of court.
- You make the decisions, not the judge.
In the Collaborative Process, the parties do not go to court. They resolve their differences through cooperative negotiation. Thus, all orders are made with both parties’ agreement.
- The process is less expensive than a litigated divorce.
While all cases are different, studies show that a successful Collaborative case is less expensive than a litigated case, even one which settles before trial.
- Coaches help you and your spouse learn to communicate in ways which can reduce the adversarial nature of the divorce.
In a full team Collaborative Divorce, each party will work with an assigned mental health professional acting as a coach. Among other things, the coach will assist the party to avoid the type of communication which will further divide the parties, and make settlement more costly and difficult.
… Read More
- Your children’s