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What About the Children?

When the topic of divorce surfaces, the first thought of many is, “What about the children?” Divorce is thought to traumatize all children involved, and with fair reason. A family splits, lives are altered, and people must adapt to their new circumstances, whatever they may be. Stephanie Dolgoff, author and divorcee, watched peers gasp when they heard she was divorcing her husband with whom she had children. She felt terrible whenever she would receive this reaction to the news, understandably, as if she had failed her children by not working harder to save the marriage. As time went on, however, she began to feel more comfortable with how the situation turned out, as her children became more at ease with the new living arrangements. She and her husband tried to handle the divorce as maturely as they could, in the hopes that things would turn out better for everybody. They did.

I’ve learned that I’m in many ways a better parent than when I was anxious and unhappy and I was distracted by the tension in my marriage. Having gotten my divorce legs, I’m present and peaceful and able to give to them. Aside from plain wanting to leave a situation that wasn’t bringing me joy, I wanted to show my girls what a happy woman who took care of herself and her emotional needs looked like. It will serve them well.

If you’re interested in her full article, you can read it here.

Family Wizard

Recently, several different people have asked me about Family Wizard. If you aren’t familiar with it, OurFamilyWizard.com is a new resource that is illustrative of the advances in modern technology. It’s a tool that allows parents to keep a comprehensive, accurate, easily accessible record of their children’s school events, homework schedules, extra-curricular activities, emails, all communications, schedules, prescriptions, private tutoring, all of the special events at school, pupil free days, holidays, and student awards. There are a lot of things happening in the life of a single child, if you have multiple children it can get really complicated. The children can access it, judges can look at it if there’s a contested proceeding, and family law attorneys can look at it so they know what’s going on. It really speeds up the communications and cuts down unnecessary conversation time, which can be expensive to clients. It’s a small investment, it costs about $100 a year, but it’s well worth the yearly fee for the time it can save you.

For more information, visit www.OurFamilyWizard.com.

(The Law Collaborative, LLP has no affiliation with OurFamilyWizard.com, and we have not been paid to endorse it. We just think it’s a great tool, when used as intended, and want to share it with our readers.)

February Newsletter

Dear Friends of the Law Collaborative,

We wish you the best in all of your relationships. In order to facilitate our wish for you, this month we have included a “tool” to help with communication in your relationships, professional and personal.

As February is often referred to as the month of love, we would like to share an article written by Dr. Mark S. Goulston, Author of “Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.”

The single best predictor of how children do post-divorce is the amount of conflict between the parents. This is true whether you’re in an intact (living together) family, a separated family, or a divorced family.

You have a unique opportunity to influence the outcome, because it takes two people to fight. You can’t fight alone. And while choosing not to engage in an argument or bad behavior is difficult, it is possible. It may take both practice and commitment on your part to make it happen.

Parents in frequent contact who are supportive of each other have well adjusted children. That’s pretty compelling, isn’t it?

10 Strategies for Preventing and Dealing With Conflict:

1. It takes two to argue. Simply refuse to participate.

2. A certain amount of tension is to be expected when you’re getting divorced. Expect difficult discussions. They don’t have to result in a fight.

3. Try to understand your spouse’s viewpoint. Once you understand what he or she wants, you can begin to see how you might be able to help resolve the situation.

4. Evaluate your own goals. Are you entrenched in a position that may have another solution? If you want your children on Wednesday night for dinner, will Thursday do? If your goal is financial security, is one particular asset the key, or could another be substituted?

5. Use “I” statements. Begin every sentence with “I”, rather than “you”. Example: “I feel upset when I hear you say that I’m a bad father because I have to work so many hours,” instead of “You are always accusing me of being a bad father.”

6. After you explain how you feel, listen to your spouse’s side of the story. Repeat what you heard, to make sure for yourself (and to convey to your spouse) that you understand how he or she views the situation.

7. Plan a time to have a discussion with your spouse about a specific issue that bothers you. Limit the discussion.

8. Choose your timing. The same comment may evoke a different response if, 1) neither of you is tired, 2) neither of you is already angry, and, 3) the children or others are not in earshot.

9. Be prepared to say “I’m sorry” sometimes. “I was wrong” can go a long way.

10. Above all, let annoyances go and choose your battles wisely. They are too important to squander. Research points to the benefits of shared parenting, defined as shared decision making, as well as shared time between two homes. Children need emotional sustenance and comfort from both parents to get their needs met. Your co-parenting responsibilities get easier over time as your children grow and their day-to-day caretaking needs lessen. One way to ensure your adult children have a good relationship with you and your former spouse is to set you own needs aside from time to time and take the high road whenever possible. Remember forgiveness is the permission you give yourself to get over an offense & move into health, healing & a happy life. It is not approval. It is not acceptance. It is a gift to you from you. Forgive.

Visit Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes for additional information. Please call us if you have any questions. We are here to serve you.

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Ron Supancic and Robert Borsky

* A free phone consultation will provide you with general legal information. Legal information is not the same as legal advice – the application of law to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, for specific advice on your situation, I will be pleased to provide legal advice after you accept and sign my retainer agreement.

For more information, please visit our website at: www.ronslaw.com or click here: www.divorcemagazine.com/CA/pro/supancic.shtml

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