What is a Child-Centered Divorce?

When an individual enters a divorce attorney’s office for the first time, they typically have been served with divorce papers, or are considering filing for divorce. Their attention is on how hurt they are, and oftentimes how angry they are at their spouse.  When a potential client walks in our doors at Gaydos Duffer, and that client has a child, we try shifting the perspective from anger at a spouse, to focus on what is best for their children, thus turning their divorce into a child-centered divorce.

Focus on the Children

It is important for divorcing parents to set aside their anger at each other and their hurt feelings, and focus on the needs of their children in the divorce process.  The children’s lives are going to change dramatically in many ways and in many areas during a divorce. If the parents can establish early on that they want to ensure their children have the best life possible in their new normal, they can switch the mindset from “winning” in the divorce case to making the best decisions they can for their children.

Child-Centered Divorce Goals

Goals some parents may have for their children include:

  • Keeping them in the same school.
  • Keeping them on the same schedule.
  • Making sure they can be involved in extracurricular activities they enjoy.
  • Purchasing them a car when they turn 16.
  • Sending them to college.

If parents are continuously beating each other down in order to ‘win custody’, they cannot focus on these goals. If parents work together, they can focus on meeting their goals.  For example, parents may decide to re-allocate equity in their house so the funds can go toward private school or college tuition instead of splitting the funds for their own personal goals.

Collaborative Divorce utilizes tools that help foster a Child Centered Divorce

In a Collaborative Divorce, mental health professionals serve as a communication coach to help the couple to keep stay focused on their goals during the divorce process.  The Collaborative Divorce team includes each party’s attorney, the mental health professional and a financial professional. These professionals help guide parents through the divorce process while achieving their ultimate goals for the children.  Part of the process includes parents learning the tools they can use to help them be better co-parents after the divorce.

The main goal of a child centered divorce is for children to emerge happy and healthy post-divorce with a good relationship with both parents. Their lives may change because of the divorce, but it doesn’t have to be a change that will haunt them for the rest of the lives

For assistance in making your divorce process more child-centered, contact one of our family law attorneys at Gaydos Duffer, P.C.