The restructing of a family system can present many challenges. Parents are expected to make significant decisions regarding the future of their family during a highly stressful and emotionally draining period of their lives. Children of divorce struggle to understand what is happening to their family. They often feel stuck "in the middle" between both parents and are confused about their thoughts and feelings. How a divorce is handled, how each parent adjusts, and how the co-parenting relationship is managed during and following a divorce significantly influences a child's adjustment and overall mental health.
Fortunately, parents have several options to facilitate the divorce process. These options include collaborative family divorce, mediation, pro se, and traditional divorce with possible litigation. Regardless of which approach is used, a child specialist is instrumental in helping families navigate through the process in productive and healthy ways.
A child specialist:
- Is a mental health professional who is specially trained to work with families in separation or divorce
- Meets with the parents and each child in order to assess the wants, needs, and concerns of every family member
- Provides a safe place for children to express their thoughts and feelings
- Acts as the "voice" for each child
- Provides clear feedback to parents regarding the effects of the divorce on each child, developmental issues, and each child's emotional reaction
- Provides information and options to parents regarding parenting plan decisions that promote the best interest of the child or children
- Works with parents to establish healthy patterns of communication and interaction with each other as well as with their child or children
Divorce does not have to be highly adversarial and destructive. Rather, family restructuring can be a period of change and transition characterized by healthier and more effective family interactions as well as stronger parent-child relationships.
*To learn more about the Collaborative Divorce process, please visit www.collabdivorce.com