Children's experience of their parents' divorce or separation can have a lasting impact on family relationships. Some ways that parents can help their children to cope better with the reality of divorce or separation are to:
- keep their conflict away from the children
- keep the children involved in what is happening
- keep communicating about important changes
- keep criticism of each other to themselves
Children have a right to be children. While the parents have every right to decide to separate, their children should not have to carry the burden of that decision. Nor should they have to pick sides, serve as go-betweens or be a surrogate for the missing parent.
Parents thinking about how to achieve an ethical separation or divorce might explore Collaborative Practice, a non-confrontational approach for clients who want to agree the legal and practical arrangements for their own unique family situation. Using this process, clients can:
- avoid protracted court proceedings;
- take control of outcomes for the family;
- protect the wellbeing and needs of the children;
- preserve their privacy and dignity;
- minimise emotional damage;
- receive support and information from specially trained
The collaborative approach involves open and respectful discussions over a series of meetings involving clients and their respective Collaborative Lawyers and, where necessary, Family Consultants and Independent Financial Advisors. Each meeting is carefully planned in advance and the team work together with the couple to help them reach agreement in an atmosphere of support and understanding.
Collaborative Practice has been well established in Scotland for over a decade, and now residents in Dumfries and Galloway have a local team of specially trained practitioners, all of whom belong to the national network of Consensus Scotland.
Despite the immediate pain of a separation or family dispute, choosing collaboration over conflict offers a way to manage the impact of these difficult decisions, and to safeguard the long-term wellbeing of the family.
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