Family Law – In Seven parts
Part 1- Introduction to Co-Parenting.
Parents enduring a divorce are often puzzled by the buzz-word “Co-Parenting.”
I have read psychological studies that find divorce as one of the worst things you can experience as an adult. Worse even than the death of spouse. If your spouse dies, there is a funeral, grieving and a chance to move on with your life. In divorce, your former spouse may be legally dead to you, but they are still walking around (kind of a weird living dead thing), especially if you are parents.
While in the midst of a heart-rending divorce, being a “Co-Anything” with the spouse you are divorcing doesn’t make sense. Your spouse has hurt you beyond reason and while feelings of hurt, betrayal and revenge, the judge will often order you to attend a “Co-Parenting Seminar.”
What’s that all about?
Co-Parenting is just the latest way to formulate something that I used to tell divorcing parents when I was a Judge: “You can divorce each other, just don’t divorce your kids!”
Even in the most heated divorces, most of us can agree that the divorce is not the kids fault. Yet, it is the kids who often pay a heavy price for divorce. They can be viewed as trophies whose custody is “won” or “lost.” They can be wooed or threatened to “pick sides” in the divorce. The other parent can be blamed for financial hardship for the child (“Daddy just doesn’t love you enough to pay his child support”). And many other ways to attempt to alienate the child from the other parent.
Just resist the temptation to use the kids as leverage in your divorce. It’s bad for your kids and, by the way, bad for your case. Judges look for parents who are able to rise above their pain and do what is best for the kids.
Kids hate divorce. They don’t want to pick sides and only want to have a loving relationship with both parents. They don’t understand what they have done as kids to cause Mom and Dad to separate. That’s right, kids blame themselves for their parents’ divorce.
There are situations where children need to be protected from a parent (or the people that the parent associates with) but these situations are rarer than you think and are sometimes hard to prove.
So, even though you may divorce your spouse, you are joined until “death do you part” as parents. Strive to overcome the pain, regret and guilt and work together as parents in raising the children of your divorce.
Other Parts to Follow.