Most divorcing couples genuinely desire to protect their children from the harm they fear it can cause. However, the emotional turbulence and uncertainty surrounding a contentious divorce can sometimes be so overpowering that parents lose the ability to manage the impact it can have on their family. Thankfully, there are alternatives, specifically Mediation and Collaborative Divorce, which intentionally prioritize the children’s welfare throughout the process and allow parents to deliver on their promises to protect their children from fallout.
In order to deliver on what’s most important to parents, both Mediation and Collaborative Divorce focus on interests rather than positions. Instead of diving straight into negotiations about the outcome, the first order of business is understanding what really matters to you and your spouse: your core values and interests. This allows parents to connect with and prioritize their shared goal of safeguarding their children’s best interests. And by measuring potential solutions against the yardstick of your children’s well-being, these processes keep your children at the forefront of decision-making.
One noteworthy aspect of the Collaborative Divorce process is the involvement of an experienced neutral family specialist. This expert, typically a mental health professional trained in family dynamics, works impartially to help you and your spouse achieve your family and child-related goals. This additional layer of support contributes to maintaining a child-centric perspective throughout the divorce proceedings and lays the groundwork for a healthy co-parenting relationship in the years to come.
The good news is that, even in divorce, parents can successfully protect their children from harm. It’s a common misconception that children of divorce are inherently damaged by divorce. But research indicates that the divorce is not the problem. In fact, children of divorce can be every bit as happy and well-adjusted as any child. Harm results when children are exposed to divisiveness, bitterness and acrimony between parents overwhelmed by a contentious divorce. The Collaborative Divorce approach, with its emphasis on open communication and shared goals, minimizes the potential trauma for children. Unlike the harmful dynamics often associated with litigated divorces, this intentional and child-focused approach protects children, setting the stage for the positive and happy childhood parents want so badly to provide.
It’s important to dispel the notion that going to war in a divorce is the only option. Sadly, many couples wind up embroiled in difficult litigations by default. But doing battle with your spouse is not mandatory. You can choose alternatives that prioritize communication, understanding, and collaboration. Mediation and Collaborative Divorce offer paths that not only protect the children but also foster an environment where both parents can actively contribute to their well-being.
Ivan Alter is an experienced Westchester County Mediator and Collaborative Divorce Attorney. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 914-861-2400 or visit https://www.ivanalter.com. Our office is located at 118 N. Bedford Rd. Suite 100 Mt. Kisco, NY 10549