Most parents would agree that they are the best advocates for their children. Who else knows their children better, or knows the needs of their children better? During the difficult transition of divorce, who can best identify the needs of a child? A judge in the courtroom only familiar with a case file, or the child’s parents?
One of the many benefits of the collaborative divorce process is its family-centered approach to respectfully resolving issues in the best interests of everyone involved. This creative approach reduces anxiety for children by eliminating the stress of courtroom proceedings, and instead encourages the parents to cooperatively create a unique co-parenting plan that can be presented to the judge for approval without the hassle of court hearings for the family.
Kate Smith, who specializes in the mediation of collaborative family law proceedings, articulates that the court’s custodial arrangements are not created according to the needs of an individual family. These arrangements are state-mandated templates for dividing time between parents, not plans focusing on how parents can move their children forward in a positive way.
In a recent interview, Smith states,”…when we focus on co-parenting, we’re talking about how the two parents work together post-divorce to ensure that the child has as little disruption…as possible.” She goes on to explain that by designing their own mutually agreeable plan, parents are able to ensure that they both are able to participate in crucial activities like school conferences, sports games, or performances.
For parents who are actively engaged in the divorce process, Smith admits that putting their own personal disagreements or negative feelings aside can be difficult. But when the parents are able to let go of the idea that by cooperating with their co-parent they are going to “lose” something, the shift in perspective is powerful. Instead of dividing their children’s time up like so many slices of pie in a chart, they acknowledge that flexibility and understanding create an environment in which their children can thrive and in which relationships with each parent can grow.
To learn more about how your family could benefit from a collaborative approach to family law, contact Kate Smith today.