Essential for a child centered divorce is a good relationship between the divorced parents. Parents should not fight over the children. They should not focus on their legal rights and the legal rights of the children. The problem of divorce is shifted to a problem of the children.
In a child centered divorce or collaborative divorce, the well-being and the interests of the children are place on the top of the priority list of the separating or divorced parents. Research has brought into daylight that children in a one parent family do not suffer from the same negative effects on children of divorce. Divorced parents that keep fighting about their children and that are focussed on their legal rights contribute largely to the negative situation.
Some people blame the not so long ago introduced “no fault” divorce for the many problems children face after the divorce. Divorce has become too easy. It removes the responsability from the marriage. Governmental organisations, the therapeutic jurisprudence movement, child support organisations, therapists and other professionals focus on the well-being of the children after a divorce.
Divorce has shifted from a problem of the parents to a problem of the children. Is it not for the benefit of the therapists to organise and provide long lasting counseling and therapy programs?
Parents that are really child centered, should not even consider a divorce. The best parenting takes place in marriages. If parents cannot solve their own marital problems, why should they be able to work out their parenting plan succesfully?
As Mike Mastracci writes in his book “Stop Fighting over the Kids”, parents that aim for a child centered divorce, should stand out by rising above the level of conflict. The parent(s) should overcome the obstacles to communicate and interact in an effective way with their ex partner.
Focussing on legal rights and digging one-self into a position usually results in a legal and emotional fight that costs tens of thousands and sometimes hundreds of thousands dollars.
Think about what can be achieved for children of divorce if the money is spend on their future instead. But the emotional damage to the children from such a process is usually worse. The children grow up in the atmosphere of their constantly fighting parents.
Well, if parents divorce and want to put the children on the top of their priority list, they should step over their personal grieves towards their ex.
An agreement with your ex partner, in which the following principles are written down can form the basis of achieving a real child centered approach:
Divorced parents need to set aside their own emotions and frustrations. They need to stop fighting over their children. In a child centered divorce situation, parents direct their time, energy and money on improving and maintaining a healthy relationship with each other.
Return to the divorce child support.