One of the most important things to keep in mind in family law – for everyone involved – is that the parent-child relationship is fundamentally the same throughout the divorce. A divorce decree means that parents will go about their routines differently, and they will have to be mindful of rules set up to manage when each parent will get to be with his or her kids, but they don’t stop being parents.
It’s also important to look at the divorce from the children’s perspectives. Life changes dramatically for children who experience divorce, starting with the need to learn new routines and the experience of having two homes rather than one shared home with everyone in it. But in the vast majority of cases, children who go through divorce still love both of their parents, and still look to their parents for security, guidance, and providing what they need.
At the Law Office of Lisa A. Vance, we prefer to think of divorce as creating new families rather than splitting families apart. While it’s difficult for children to go from being with both Mom and Dad to being with Mom part of the time and Dad part of the time, we know that children can adjust to their new situations, thrive, and feel loved after a divorce is finalized.
But that doesn’t happen without the parents focusing on their children and their children’s experience during and after the divorce. Simply put, parents have to be conscious of their children throughout the process, realizing that though they might have differences with each other that keep them from wanting to stay married, they will remain parents to their children, and will have to work together in some capacity.
It starts during the divorce. Disagreements can and do happen in divorce, and it’s natural to feel emotions like anger and fear in the heat of the negotiations, but it’s better for everyone involved if they happen without bitterness or rancor. If couples can resolve a divorce without litigation, that can definitely bode well for their future co-parenting relationships. Indeed, if they choose to negotiate a settlement via collaborative law or mediation, they can practice the skills they’ll need once they’re interacting with one another as co-parents.
Even if a divorce requires litigation, it can be done in a way that focuses on the issues, that doesn’t descend into petty squabbles and unnecessary motions, and that minimizes the effects on the children. A divorce trial typically is over in a finite number of days; you don’t want it to create friction that will intrude on the co-parenting relationship and affect the children for months or even years.
We believe in fighting when necessary – after all, we see ourselves as fierce, compassionate lawyers – but we also believe in fighting the right way, and always keeping the children in focus. Maintaining a healthy family – even through the challenges of divorce – can happen if the importance of the children isn’t lost in the process.