A divorce can be so contentious that the parents, who are focused on themselves, lose sight of the needs of their kids. A child-centered divorce is one in which the children’s best interests are the primary concern of the parents.
Putting the Children in the Middle
When parents cannot agree on custody and the division of time each of them will spend with the children, the Judge will decide what is in the best interest of the children. Often, neither parent is content with the outcome of a court battle and the co-parenting relationship is tarnished sometimes beyond repair.
The family law Judge will talk to children who are 12 or older and has the discretion to also interview younger children. Taking children of any age to court to speak to a judge can be traumatic. It makes them feel they must choose one parent over the other and puts them in the middle of the divorce.
Even without being interviewed by the Judge, children often feel the divorce is their fault. They think they have done something to cause their parents to fight. They think there is something they could do or could have done to prevent the divorce. This feeling is compounded when children are placed by the parents in the middle of the fighting. There is a better way.
A Collaborative Divorce is Child-Centered
One way to have a child-centered divorce is to use the collaborative process. This involves the parents putting together their own agreement about how to co-parent their children. It keeps the court out of the process.
At the beginning of a collaborative divorce, the parents establish goals. One of the first goals they establish is to always focus on the well-being of the children. If the discussion waivers, the parents are reminded that, at the first session, a primary goal was to focus on the well-being of the children. That generally redirects the focus back on to what really is important.
Sometimes, child specialists become part of the collaborative team to be the voice of the children at the negotiating table. If parents are so focused on their own needs that they overlook the needs of the children, the specialists are there to get them back on track. In this way, parents can avoid children being placed in the middle of their divorce.
For More Information About Collaborative Divorce, Contact an Experienced Dallas Family Law Attorney.