Sharon Giles, Associate Solicitor at Thrings
All too often children are the silent victims of divorce. Situations arising beyond their control and, often, quite out of the blue expose them to conflict, unhappy atmospheres, change of house, change of school, change of friends, absent parents, replacement parents... The list goes on yet, very seldom, do children’s views and feelings become a part of the process unless the subject of dispute becomes them and how their time is to be shared between their parents
Collaborative process is special here because focus at the very outset can be on your children and best outcomes for them and both of you. The same difficult issues arising from family breakdown will need to be tackled but in an open and supported environment. You are encouraged to bring your most difficult discussions to the collaborative meetings thus saving your children from seeing Mum distraught at the kitchen table as she reads a letter from Dad’s solicitor which tells her she must get a job, claim tax credits and take over the mortgage payments for the house.
Many of my clients who opt for collaborative process have said “My parents had a terrible divorce…I want to protect my children from that”. Such strong motivation binds them to a process where conflict is replaced by constructive negotiation. We all work together to find best possible solutions. There will be compromise. There will be upset. There will also be exploration of options, understanding and focus on the whole family unit, not just one member of it.
If you are a divorcing parent now, just think. How will your children remember their experience of your divorce..?