By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC
Picture this: you’re getting divorced and you’re angry, resentful, hurt, or any combination of other painful emotions. You want to lash out at, or maybe get back at your soon to be former spouse. Hiring the most aggressive divorce lawyer you can find seems like your smartest choice. You are gearing up for a fight!
But stop. Think. If you are a parent, you may be making a choice you regret for a long time. If you choose a lawyer who directs you into a vicious court battle, the costs may be insurmountable – not only the financial expenses, but the emotional costs as well.
Think long and hard before you move your divorce battle into the legal system. If you do that it is likely to take its toll on every member of your family – especially your children – in the most destructive and gut-wrenching ways. It happens all the time. But it need not happen to your family.
When you give your divorce outcome over to the courts, you pave the way to unimaginable stress and frustration compounded by a sense of powerlessness that is impossible to understand until you are swept away in it.
As you stand by and watch attorneys and judges make decisions about your life and your future, you may begin to feel violated and helpless. The taste of revenge you thought you had will sometimes morph into anxiety and shock as issues get twisted and victors become victims. The consequences of everyone’s actions play out for years and years. You’ve lost control over your life!
Sadly, your children are not protected from the emotional and psychological repercussions of your actions and the decisions that may be made by others on your behalf. When timesharing, parenting plans or other child-focused decisions are made by third parties who are focused more on financial issues than family issues, children’s needs often get pushed aside in favor of other objectives. Relationships, balance, and goodwill are not paramount concerns when divorce is a battle, and the very real injuries (and potentials scars) on your children’s psyches may be overlooked in the legal bloodbath that ensues.
But there are other ways. Better ways. And more ways than ever before to create a divorce that respects the rights of everyone in the family.
Before engaging that “killer” attorney, talk to a Collaborative or Child-Centered Divorce attorney. They will use their skill to create a team with financial and mental health resources and facilitate win-win outcomes that seek to include children’s needs as appropriate.
Children’s’ needs are also considered by mediators who participate in the Peaceful Divorce Model and offer an opportunity to make agreements without litigation at considerable cost savings (both financial and psychological). Some mediators have battled it out in court (when they have previously served as adversarial family law attorneys) and they know there are saner solutions available for all concerned. Some mediators truly care about creating peaceful resolutions for families.
Learn from the lessons and mistakes of others. If you want to save yourself considerable expense – both emotional and financial – and if you want to minimize the distress to your children (maybe even have them thank you sometime for creating a civilized, sensible, harmonious divorce), you can do it. You have the power to make the right decisions today.
Stay out of court. Stay out of the hands of killer attorneys. Create a Peaceful Divorce. Create a Child-Centered Divorce – and reap the rewards for years to come!
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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of the internationally-acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! For free articles, coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com