HOW TO MANAGE THE MADNESS OF MOVING AFTER DIVORCE
-WHAT STEPS TO TAKE TO REDUCE STRESS ON CHILDREN–
(HARTFORD, CT)- March 28, 2013– Disruption in routine and residence are two changes that come with any divorce. For children of divorcing parents this shift in schedule can be especially stressful if not managed properly. Connecticut Collaborative Divorce Group (CCDG) is a resource available to guide families through such transitions. CCDG is comprised of attorneys, financial and mental health professionals to facilitate an amicable termination of a marriage.
In a traditional case, the Court may be asked to decide what is in the children’s best interests. In a collaborative case, all parties meet and work out an agreement that is truly in the children’s best interests.
“When it comes to moves, it is very important that both parents be on the same page when relocating children,” said Attorney Robert Fried. “I usually recommend moves that minimize the disruption for children.“
Attorneys and psychologists alike recommend moving during a long holiday break such as summer. It allows for an easier transition and time to meet new friends in the neighborhood.
If you can’t wait until summer or other big break, it is helpful to try to do as much planning as possible. Include the kids in some decision making about how the move might go. For example, do they want to have a friend help them unpack their room or pick out some accessories? Do they want to stay with a friend during the day you actually move out of the old home? Getting them involved in re-doing their bedroom is often very helpful. It is important for parents to stress the positives about the move, whenever possible.
“It is generally a good idea to have the children out of the house if one parent is moving out first. It is really upsetting for children to see a parent moving out,” advises Psychologist Dr. Elaine Ducharme. “The good thing about collaborative divorce is that parents work together in the best interests of their children.”
CHOOSING A SCHOOL DISTRICT
Often during divorce one parent may move to another school district, thus forcing the need to make a decision about the children’s future. The quality of a school district is one of the issues in determining the children’s best interests but that issue must be considered along with the impact on the children, which include their activities and friends.
“For instance, does a child have special needs that are, or are not being met in the present school system,” said Attorney Fried. “Collaboration, not litigation, is the best way to deal with these sensitive issues.”
Moving to a new school district can be tough for many children. Therefore, it is really helpful to go to the school ahead of time for a tour and to meet the principal, teacher, counselor whenever possible. They can be instrumental in pairing your child up with a “buddy”.
“Most children, especially, the younger ones, do well once they have a friend. Middle school and high school can be more difficult because of the cliques that form,” said Dr. Ducharme. “Moving to a new school is easier at a time when everyone will be new to the school, such as the beginning of middle school or high school.”
In collaborative divorce, most couples work really hard to keep things as stable as possible for children. It is not about who gets to choose, but how the parents can solve this issue together. Even if they are divorced, they will always be parents together. The coach, in a collaborative divorce situation, helps parents work on solving problems together in the best interest of their children. After the divorce is final, parents can still return to the coach or another parenting specialist to make sure they can continue to parent together.
WHEN IS THERAPY NECESSARY?
Every family is different and the needs of a particular child may differ; even children in the same family. The collaborative process is more attuned and better able to deal with these issues, discuss them in group conferences with the attorneys and other professionals such as a “coach” who is trained to work with families in distress and help them move forward with less disruption than a traditional divorce.
“Therapy is necessary only if the child continues to struggle after several months,” adds Dr. Ducharme. “Kids are typically quite resilient, but it’s important that parents pay close attention to prolonged struggles their kids encounter.”
CCDG is a group of experienced divorce professionals, including divorce and family lawyers, financial and mental health professionals who have been specifically trained in the collaborative process. Each member of the group has made a commitment to the goals of collaborative practice in order to help people achieve fair and lasting settlements without using the court or even the threat of court. Additionally, each member attends regular meetings and training sessions designed to develop and enhance their collaborative divorce skills. For more information visit: www.ctcollabrorativedivorce.com.