How To Avoid The High Price Of High-Conflict Divorce
For young children, mom and dad are their world. The family is the hub of their existence. Their dependence on the family is intrinsically connected to their sense of who they are. This is especially true for pre-adolescent children. Naturally, when divorce disrupts this locus of security and self-worth, it can be confusing, scary and overwhelming. The one constant that a child thought he or she could count on, no matter what, is now changing and that can be difficult to process. For young children, this can create anxiety, instability and a sense of insecurity. 1
The majority of parents understand that divorce is going to be a watershed moment. The family will be forever restructured, and they worry about how this will impact the children. Yet, even knowing this and acknowledging a concern for making the children a priority, the divorce process can be highly emotional and frightening and it can be easy for conflict to escalate.
Even the most well-meaning couples can get caught up in an bitter divorce if they do not intentionally seek to control the process and outcome. And this is critical because research indicates that it isn’t necessarily the fact that parents divorce which can have long-term negative effects on children, but instead the manner in which they divorce and conduct themselves during the process. In fact, most children of divorce do well and adjust long-term. It is the children who have been involved in high levels of parental conflict before and during the divorce process that seemed to have the most problems.2
The effects of high-conflict divorce on children isn’t only limited to the direct impact of witnessing conflict. Researchers have also found that the negative emotional states parents experience during a contentious divorce limits a parent’s ability to be responsive and nurturing to their children.3 Children who have been exposed to ongoing conflict within the home are more likely to suffer from future behavioral problems. This is true whether the parents stay in a high conflict marriage or go through a high-conflict divorce.
You may have determined that divorce is inevitable. You may not have a choice in the matter. But you do have a choice in how you go about ending your marriage. You and your spouse can make the decision that you will make protecting your children from an adversarial divorce process your number one priority.
Collaborative divorce is an alternative to traditional divorce that is more conducive to a civilized and respectful process.
Collaborative divorce is focused on helping you achieve a mutually acceptable resolution without going to court and with the help of a team of collaborative professionals. This process creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. It not only saves money over a traditional divorce, but also protects children, ensures privacy and allows couples to reclaim their future by giving them control over the outcome.