Articles Posted in Divorce Coaching

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One of the interesting aspects of divorce litigation is the requirement that parents mediate their child custody issues, with the judge assigning a mediator in the initial weeks of the case should the parents not have an agreement as to legal custody (joint vs sole) and parenting time. In some cases mediation is beneficial. I am a trained mediator, but I can also say that mediation is not a panacea, it is not always a process that results in resolution. Many times, mediation fails. So, when the parents are bitterly oppositional, or when the issues are just not amenable to mediation, what should a parent do?

One piece of advice that I give my clients is to be, along with a good spokesperson for their views, a good listener. Many divorces feature parents that simply don’t want to talk to each other, and avoid interaction at all costs. Even when mediation is not likely to result in global agreements on custody and parenting time, it can be a time to listen to what the other parent is verbalizing to the mediator. New facts might be learned. Partially hidden agendas might be revealed. Concessions might be explored.

Keep in mind…everything said in mediation is private and none of the matters discussed in mediation can be used in court.

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I had a conversation today with one of my new clients about how to manage the emotions of the minor children during the initial stages of the divorce. An article from Dennis Ortman is helpful and I have cited it below. I do feel that along with parents learning how to manage the worries and questions from minor children in the first weeks of a divorce, parents can truly benefit from reaching out to support groups for children through local churches, or accessing a therapist that works with children in divorce.

Divorce can be an emotionally and psychologically difficult process for adults, leaving the parents with few resources to channel to the children. In these cases, it’s best to reach out to other resources in the community to provide emotional and psychological support to children, as well as to give them a forum, independent of the family circle, to process their anxieties, worries and concerns.


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Studies confirm that women can suffer economically much more, over time, than men after divorce. You may be receiving child support and spousal support (maintenance), or a combination of the two called in Illinois “unallocated support,” but maintenance is sometimes periodic and reviewable, and you likely cannot rely solely on both these income sources to sustain you and your children. Men that have careers tend to, over time, increase their incomes and save more for future years, while women tend to struggle to maintain an adequate financial roof over their heads over time. Because Illinois’ Supreme Court put a premium on forcing courts to “break all entanglements” after divorce, this has lead some judges to terminate spousal support after but a few years post divorce. At that point, the woman is on her own, financially, in the world. Being mindful of this fact, and preparing for it, is important.

If you are working part-time, see about converting to full-time if your child care needs can be met appropriately and economically. If you need to, update your credentials at a local university or community college. Other suggestions include:

-Positions with work hours during school hours

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Many complex divorce and custody cases involve mediation sessions, appointments with custody evaluators and guardians ad litem, along with stressful court hearings. Sometimes neglected in the process of divorce is consideration for how the children in the family are faring while the divorce is being processed. In my practice, I want my clients to be actively attentive to the emotional and psychological needs and changes that appear in the children, and to be responsive to those needs and changes. Sometimes a good clinician, such as a counselor or therapist, can be very beneficial for children in divorce; if the kids can weather the divorce well, the family as a whole has a better outcome.

So, what kinds of behaviors or appearances should a parent be looking for in their child? Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, has just written on this issue and her checklist is very useful. Check to see if:

1. They look, behave and talk as they always have.

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1. “I am thankful for becoming the person that I am. I’ve learned so much along the way. Even the pain served a purpose.” -Amber L.

2. “I’m thankful for my self-respect.” -Tom H.

3. “I’m thankful the two of us were able to rebuild our lives. We got out earlier instead of waking up 50 years later and asking, ‘what happened to us?'” -Pilar G.

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Experienced divorce practitioners have come to develop ideas about certain issues or triggers that can cause the contested divorce process to spiral into chaos or high costs. I have my own ideas about these triggers, one of them involving the parties believing that more negative conflict and more “bomb throwing” leads to better results. “Pit bull” reckless behavior by litigants or lawyers only raises costs, elevates stress, and usually results in the judge developing a chip on her shoulder against the litigant. The art of divorce is much like the Art of War…employing experience, creativity, and sophisticated strategy is the pathway to good results. That’s my opinion, and now let’s hear from another lawyer’s perspective:

By Diana Mercer

” When I have friends who are getting divorced, and they ask me for advice, here’s what I tell them. The real deal, the confidential, back-channel skinny. Beyond legal advice, which they can get anywhere.

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Tips to co-parenting after divorce

Byline: Our Family Wizard Software

After a divorce, the idea of communicating with an ex may seem near to impossible. While dealing with that person is the last thing you feel like doing, trying to build an amicable relationship with that person is the best thing you can do for your children. Here are a few helpful tips to co-parenting after divorce:

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If you are planning a divorce, here are a few items that my colleague, Bill Eddy, recommends be considered. Bill Eddy is the President of the High Conflict Institute and the author of “It’s All Your Fault!” He is an attorney, mediator, and therapist.

1. There’s Hope

Divorce itself has not been shown to cause long-term negative effects on children. It is the way that people handle the divorce which makes a difference. Most (about 80%) of children have basically adjusted to the divorce within one to two years after the initial separation. While feelings and issues remain, basic healing and stability usually occur.

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facebook%20image.jpgIt’s rare to run across someone that does not have a Facebook or Twitter account. While few teens these days exist without a Facebook account, Facebook has been especially popular among adult users, allowing the account holder to share family stories, photographs, and to reconnect with long lost classmates.

Facebook has also begun to have some interesting interplay with divorce and custody litigation. See this recent story about how a Facebook account was used by divorcing parties in a high conflict divorce case:

I observed only last week a hearing in one of our Illinois courts that involved an interesting (and probably not uncommon) use of Facebook. The Wife was on the witness stand testifying to her relationship, or lack thereof, with a gentleman whom the Husband claims is a paramour that has had contact with their couple’s minor child. Wife denied any real relationship, and denied that the alleged paramour had ever been in their home.

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