Spouses who are in the process of divorce often get so caught up in their own needs that they fail to focus on their children. Bringing a child therapist or specialist can do a world of good for the entire family as they adjust to the new family dynamics of two new households.
How a Child Specialist Helps During Mediation or the Collaborative Process
Children have a lot of questions about what will happen to them. Some common questions they have are:
- Where will we live? Will we have to move?
- Will we have to change schools?
- Will we keep our friends?
- Will we still have after-school activities like music lessons, dance classes, soccer games?
A child specialist will help you answer your children’s questions. The specialist will:
- Meet with your children individually to understand their needs.
- Meet with you and your spouse about what you think is in the best interest of your children.
- Learn about the family dynamics.
The specialist will understand the developmental ages of the children and their individual needs and meet with the parents. The specialist will not tell you what you must do, but help facilitate a conversation, and based on the information the specialist provides, you and your co-parent can put together a workable parenting plan.
There is no time limit and no limit on how much time the child therapist or specialist spends with the children and with the parents. The process will continue until the parents feel comfortable with making a parenting plan that they are both pleased with and that they both believe is in the best interest of the children.
Differences in Collaboration and Mediation and Traditional Litigation
Traditional litigation is an adversarial process. You and your spouse will fight against each other, each trying to “win.” A child specialist may be brought in by the court or by the parents, but the specialist may meet with each parent and each child only once, or twice at the most. The specialist will then issue a report for the judge with recommendations as to how the parents should divide their time with the children. The court will then make its order, telling you when you will have time with your children. Oftentimes, a rigid schedule is established.
If you are thinking about a divorce and want to cooperate with your spouse in using a child specialist to help you make your parenting plan, contact the Kim Mediation and Law Center for assistance.