Vicki Carpel Miller 2013-01-16 04:13:54
Children & Divorce Little six year-old Robert sits on the floor by the low table in the child specialist’s office, carefully choosing crayons and chatting with her as he begins her requested task: “Please draw me a picture of a house.” Robert frowns and she becomes quite confused as he quickly completes the picture and hands it to her. She holds it up and remarks, “Robert, tell me about this picture.” He whispers, “I drew a boat. I don’t want to draw a house.” He looks at her squarely in the eye and continues, “My Dad cries all the time and says my Mom is trying to make him leave our house because of the divorce. He says everyone will have to leave the house. He says there is no more money for a house. I am not going to draw a house.” Yikes! After several decades as mental health professionals and over a decade as coaches in collaborative divorce, it still never fails to amaze us when we experience the sadness and anxiety of children of divorce. When the child specialist on this collaborative divorce case shared this innocent child’s picture with his parents and their coaches, the parents were shocked. They were shocked at the picture of the boat and how Robert placed it on the page in very heavily lined, dark, stormy waters. They became quickly motivated to find ways to stop power-struggling over their failing finances. They simultaneously got back to their commonly held value: the well being of their son. The child specialist was the turning point in this difficult collaborative case when, as the voice of their child, she unified the parents. “The collaborative divorce process truly exemplifies the saying that the sum of the parts is greater than the whole”, says Norma Izzo Milner, a partner at Jennings Strouss. “In collaboration, my clients are able to listen to and utilize multiple perspectives. The professionals build upon the strengths and expertise inherent in all the various parts of the team, influencing each other toward the greater good”, she added. Without the benefit of the child specialist on this case, the parents would have continued bickering about finances and parenting time. With the benefit of multiple perspectives and the expertise of their team, they were able to refocus their efforts toward resolution. Honestly, we think things have gotten even harder for children of divorce after the most recent recession. Kids used to be scared about their parents, their stuff, their schools and their rooms in the face of divorce. Now we see kids, along with their divorcing parents, fretting more and more about money and the financial challenges of two-household families. As collaborative divorce coaches we worry about these transitioning families and believe now, more than ever, that collaborative divorce is the best option to care for this population. Collaborative lawyer, David Horowitz, partner at Collins, May, Potenza, Baron and Gillespie remarked of lawyers in collaborative divorce, “Collaboration requires an attorney’s highest and best use of skill, talent and experience. It is the collective abilities of all professionals that greatly enhances our ability to produce better client-centered results. Collaborative divorce, a full-team model of collaboratively trained professionals, (two lawyers, two coaches, one child specialist and one neutral financial specialist), addresses all the dimensions of divorce and helps today’s financially weakened families transition peacefully, putting the needs of their kids at the forefront. It has historically never been the cheapest divorce, but has always provided an incredible value for the family in flux. Clients select all their team members at the inception of the case, sign an agreement to resolve their issues out of court and proceed in a cocoon of security, education and guidance. So, in today’s world, how can fiscally struggling, divorcing parents afford to pay all the people on a collaborative divorce team? Overall, a full team of professionals, addressing the necessary conversations, the needs of the children and the financial well-being of the family actually streamlines the divorce process. And now, with the new Streamlined Protocols for Collaborative Divorce, family lawyers can offer this service to their clients with confidence. The financially secure as well as the economically stressed divorcing couple can now use the peaceful power of the full-team to help their kids while they help themselves to reorganize and regain control over their finances. Collaborative Divorce Institute is offering the first-ever training in the Streamlined Protocols for Collaborative Divorce, January 10- 12. These new protocols train lawyers, mental health and financial professionals to work together synergistically as a team, to directly and efficiently guide, coach and educate the clients. The clients are thoroughly prepared within their team to skillfully communicate with each other and resolve their divorce as they set their sights for a brighter future. Children who witness their parents approach divorce in this capable, confident, and hopeful way are less anxious, less sad and more resilient. Don’t you think every child of divorce needs this type of experience? We sure do. Take our contemporary, cutting-edge Streamlined Protocols for Collaborative Divorce training in January. Reserve your place because it is filling up fast. Contact our training coordinator, Shari Germain at firstname.lastname@example.org for details on how to register or contact Ellie or Vicki at their offices in Scottsdale, Arizona at 480-911-4119.
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