Collaborative Practice is for parents who want to protect and preserve the wellbeing of their children, both during and after divorce.
Children do not ask for divorce but they suffer its consequences. The stress, conflict and uncertainty to which children are exposed can be major risk factors for childhood development. While most parents approach the needs of their children with the very best intentions, in the context of a separation or divorce, they often struggle to work together for the sake of the children.
Collaborative Practice allows parents to create a healthy and workable post-divorce parenting relationship, by taking charge of their divorce process with the help of a Collaborative team. They do this by:
- understanding each other’s underlying interests;
- building joint solutions; and
- working through decisions together,
- parents design a plan that will minimize their children’s exposure to conflict and the risk of negative outcomes.
- In Collaborative Practice, parents:
- consider each aspect of their divorce as it affects their children;
- build a parenting plan, or blueprint for their post-divorce timesharing and decision-making; and
- develop strategies to create an emotionally safe family life for their children, in each of their homes.
Parents learn how to recognize and respond to behaviors of their children that could signify the need for more intervention. They also prepare for future co-parenting challenges, such as integrating new relationships into their children’s lives.
In these and other ways, Collaborative Practice responds to the needs of children.
Families with Special Needs Children
Divorcing parents with a special needs child face unique challenges, including educational, medical, emotional and financial challenges
Collaborative Practice allows parents to call upon a team of interdisciplinary professionals, including legal, mental health and financial professionals. These professionals work together to help you to meet the particular challenges of a special needs divorce. Through tailored ‘Intake and Assessment,’ the team can identify any unique needs and coordinate their efforts.
Specialized financial analysis can help to quantify costs of care, identify funding/programs and assess projected future costs. Your customized parenting plan will take into account, not only your child’s special needs, but the needs of any typically developing siblings.
10 Tips for Talking to Children About Divorce:
- Provide an explanation of the divorce, and what it will mean for your children, in terms that make sense to them.
- Jointly communicate with your children.
- Tailor your language to each child’s developmental level.
- Nourish and preserve your children’s relationships with both parents [no “victim” and “villain”].
- Reassure your children that you love them, that you will always be there for them and that you will continue to jointly parent them.
- Let your children know that they are not to blame. Emphasize that divorce has to do with grown-up problems.
- Clearly and simply define which aspects of your children’s lives will stay the same and which aspects will change.
- Use the opportunity to teach your children life lessons about change and resilience.
- Carefully shield the children from exposure to conflict and intense emotionality.
- Never forget that spousal relationships may or may nor survive but parenting is forever.