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Deciding to end a marriage is almost never an easy process. When children will be affected by that decision, it can become even more complicated. Thankfully, more and more parents are becoming educated about several divorce planning techniques designed to help affected children transition through the divorce process in a healthy way.

In recent years, the divorce process has become more family-friendly and family-centered. Rather than pitting former spouses against each other as adversaries, certain divorce planning techniques can aid adults in constructing a divorce and custody approach that is both comprehensive and child conscious.

In taking a less adversarial approach, parents may both protect their children from unnecessary trauma and prevent a significant amount of tension between themselves down the road. It should be noted that a less adversarial approach may take both time and energy upfront, but will reap dividends in the long-run.

Collaborative approaches take many forms. Negotiation, mediation, mutually constructed parenting agreements, joint custody, etc. However, these collaborative approaches all have one thing in common: they emphasize the concepts of problem solving and child advocacy above adversarial motivations.

In practical terms, these approaches allow parents to advocate for the unique needs of their children in a problem solving manner. Rather than leave their child’s fate up to a judge, parents work together to settle differences and ensure that their child is cared for in the way that is best for him or her.

Of course, good intentions do not always translate to a smooth process. However, in choosing to collaborate, parents can help to ensure that their child’s interests are cared for and that future tensions are addressed before they have a chance to occur. If you believe that your divorce could benefit from a collaborative approach, please contact an experienced attorney with your questions. Your child may thank you for doing so in the end.

Source: Oregon Live, “It’s ‘divorce season,’ but kids can be shielded by parents, legal system,” Kathy Hinson, Jan. 21, 2013

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