We recently ran across this article from South Florida collaborative lawyer Robert Merlin on the transition from divorce to co-parenting that we thought was worth sharing. The article looks at the adjustment that parents have to make as they go from raising children with a spouse to raising children with an ex-spouse. There’s a particularly important quote in the article that’s good to keep in mind when working on the transition:
“There’s a decided difference in attitude between couples who are locked into a court battle and couples who commit to co-parenting. It’s obviously challenging to cooperate with someone you regard as an adversary, especially over issues related to raising children. And when you’re in a court battle, the dynamics condition you to have an adversarial relationship with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse – it’s impossible to be anything else.
That’s why, when I work with divorcing couples who want to work together to raise their children, I advocate working together to come to a divorce settlement. An adversarial divorce, in which a judge determines parenting and other issues, is less likely to fit a couple’s needs than what they’re able to coordinate together.”
As an organization committed to educating people about collaborative law, we’d welcome all couples to consider collaborative divorce, but it’s particularly true for those couples with children. When you divorce without children, it’s likely that you and your ex won’t be in contact with each other much once the divorce is final. But when you divorce and have children, you and your ex need to remain in contact about your children for years. Collaborative allows you to be in the right frame of mind for working through issues where you might not see eye to eye.