A child is without question the most valuable and precious thing that can result from marriage.
A child is far more important than any tangible possession. Yet, divorce can be messy, heart wrenching, and emotional, and a child is sometimes treated as an afterthought of the situation.
All too often, parents choose to get a divorce, battle through legal ties and financial dissection, and then deal with the repercussions for the child later. A child centered divorce is the exact opposite; everything about the divorce involves the well-being of the child.
How to Keep Children at the Center of a Divorce
A child centered divorce starts at the very beginning with how the child is to be informed by the parents about the separation or the divorce. It is rewarding when I get to speak to parents who intend to divorce before they’ve spoken to their child. This gives me an opportunity to guide the parents to a child psychologist or counselors to help them navigate through the delicate event of disclosing to a child that his/her parents are going to get divorced.
If you want to start on the right foot in the child centered divorce process and you are focused on your child and not just giving the idea lip service, you are going to take proactive steps. This includes discussing your commitment as parents to delivering this life-changing news to your child in a thoughtful manner as co-parents. Parents must determine how they will approach informing their child about the divorce in a way that is appropriate for the child’s age, personality, and understanding of family dynamics.
A few good tips to help keep your child at the center of a divorce include:
- Seek professional support for the child
- Focus on what is best for the child at every decision-making point, large or small
- Ensure all parties involved, including the divorce attorneys and both parents, are focusing on the child’s needs first.
How Collaborative Divorce Aligns with the Child Centered Ideology
Collaborative Divorce involves setting goals from the onset of the decision to divorce. In a child centered divorce, parents set goals regarding their child and how they intent to co-parent right from the start. The well-being of the child is a central interest for the Collaborative Divorce process, as the parents navigate through financial and legal issues.
Collaborative Divorce also offers the ability to utilize a Child Specialist in the process. The Child Specialist is a certified mental health professional with special training in child development and Collaborative Divorce. The Child Specialist is uniquely qualified to provide parents information and insight, that when combined with the parents’ own knowledge of their child, will empower decision making that is focused on the best interests of the child. The Child Specialist brings the voice of the child into the discussions, while preserving the parents’ control over the parenting decisions.
The Impact of a Child Centered Divorce
Child centered divorce offers a positive outcome for both the parents and the child. Divorce is often deemed as something that tears a family apart or causes issues in familial relationships between parents or between parents and the child, but divorce does not have to be detrimental to a family unit.
With supportive professional involvement for both the parents and child, divorce can be a building block for a stronger post-divorce family unit. Parents can gain better co-parenting skills for the future, protect the wellbeing of their child, and avoid serious psychological trauma. Divorce is never be easy, but it can be something other than devastating, and it can lead to positive outcomes in spite of the difficult process.