As 2019 begins, I took some time to look back over the topics I visited in blogs during 2018. I started 2018 by writing a piece on maintaining respect during conflict resolution. Conflict resolution was a recurring theme in not only my practice, but in much of the front page news. I even looked into whether a talking stick may actually aid during an impasse in negotiations. There were many high-profile conflicts in the news throughout the year, about everyone from celebrities to politicians. It felt important for me to keep in mind the importance of respect and cooperation in disputes, and as a new year starts fresh, I wanted to highlight some of my own thoughts for the beginning of 2019: Continue Reading
As divorced parents plan the family’s first holiday season under new parenting arrangements, there may still be lingering stress and tension from the divorce. Each parent undoubtedly wants to spend as much time as possible with the children, and even when formal arrangements have been agreed upon, it may be hard to stick to the schedule. Focusing on a solid co-parenting plan and keeping the children as the main focus can not only provide for a smoother holiday, it may also lay the groundwork for the New Year to come.
Co-parenting arrangements come in all forms and are tailored for the unique needs of each family. A common arrangement is for the parents to alternate each holiday on an annual basis. Sometimes parents may opt to split holiday time equally – perhaps Christmas morning is spent with the mother and Christmas evening with the father. Alternatively, parents may arrange a holiday schedule so that the children celebrate certain holidays the weekend prior to the actual holiday, and then spend the actual holiday with the other parent.
Regardless of the arrangement, there are certain considerations for the parents, which could help, ease some of the unwanted stress and tension of the season:
The term “nesting” is used to describe an arrangement where the children remain in the family home while the divorcing parents take turns living in the family home and in another location. (The parents move in and out of the home rather than the children moving between homes.) Nesting is an option that some parents consider as a transitional parenting arrangement because they want to keep the children’s living arrangements in place for a period of time during and/or post divorce. In practice, nesting is something that requires cooperation and communication from both parents, and careful consideration should be given before nesting is used. Continue Reading
Many parents come to mediation wanting a 50/50 parenting schedule. That usually means that both parents are concerned about maintaining a strong relationship with the children once Mom and Dad separate. Shared parenting is usually a positive experience when the parents cooperate to create a workable plan that respects the bond between both parents and each child. Continue Reading
The Russian film Loveless, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, is an intense, provocative drama that can be viewed on many levels. It is a comment on what happens when a marriage breaks down as well as a critique of modern Russian society. Continue Reading
A benefit of using collaborative law for separation and divorce is that the parties can work together with a team of professionals to create a situation that works for everyone, including the children. Collaborative law allows attorneys and other neutral professionals help develop creative and practical solutions with a focus on the unique needs of each family. When there are children involved, decision-making and parenting access schedules can easily become positional discussions out of fear of loss or anger. That being said, most couples are eager to make their own decisions rather than have a third party decide the family’s fate. Most parents want to find a way to work together on a parenting plan that prioritizes what works best for the whole family. Continue Reading
Taking trips with the family post-divorce should continue to be a fun, memorable experience regardless if it’s a day trip or longer. Moving forward, most families benefit when the parents work out a concrete plan for how vacation time will be spent with the children. This helps to create stability and certainty in making vacation and travel plans and in the children’s lives. Continue Reading
The divorce process is an emotional time. Tensions surrounding a parenting plan may mount even when both parents prioritize the needs of the children. Responsiveness, stability, and practicality are significant factors in developing a parenting plan. As parents begin to develop a parenting plan, the need for flexibility is also very important in creating options that consider the child first. Continue Reading
In 2014, actress Gwyneth Paltrow and musician Chris Martin divorced. Like many celebrity breakups, news of the couple’s separation and divorce made headlines across the country and beyond. One particular detail elicited a reaction from many people: the phrase “conscious uncoupling.” People were interested in hearing about this couple’s take on what the family looks like when going through a divorce. In the years following the couple’s divorce, Paltrow and Martin have still been in the news for how they co-parent and interact with one another and their efforts to contribute positively to the culture of divorce. Conscious uncoupling and collaborative divorce seek to redefine the construct of the traditional adversarial divorce. Continue Reading
I recently watched a new television program focused on a couple divorcing and all that goes with such a life changing event. A particular episode focused on the couple meeting with a mediator in an effort to talk out the issues. Towards the end of the meeting, in a very judgmental tone and with all of the non-verbal cues that go with judgment, the mediator asked how the children were taking the news. When it became clear that the couple had not yet told the children, the mediator indicated that they needed to tell the children right away. This took place without any discussion about how and when this would happen. In fact, the mediator followed up by a straightforward command to “just tell them.” This hit me the wrong way and left me thinking about the process of when to speak to the children about the divorce and the best way to do so. Continue Reading