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Woes? Consider This Two-Pronged Approach
Imagine a parent in
the process of separation and feels challenged getting along with the other
Imagine the children
are no longer minors and it is understood that they would set their own course
in terms of who they would live with, but one parent is concerned about how best
to maintain an ongoing relationship regardless of their choice.
Imagine that parent
was of the view that the other parent would not attend for counseling together
to address issues and also expressed concern that settling property and
financial issues may be difficult due to their conflicted past.
Scenarios like this
are actually not so difficult to imagine. They occur regularly. However, what is
one to do? How does one proceed in this context to resolve the technical aspects
of their separation and maintain as best as possible, their relationships to at
least the children if not an ongoing co-parenting relationship with the other
These are situations
that can be ripe for an escalation of conflict where the fight over the tea
kettle is infused with the unresolved issues of the past. These are scenarios
where people can inadvertently get caught up in the principle of the fight and
lose sight of the value of the dispute.
This is where collaboratively
trained family law lawyers are well suited to help separating
couples/parents resolve things reasonably. Collaboratively trained lawyers help
couples resolve their disputes respectfully and seek to minimize the impact of
unresolved issues during the dispute resolution process. In the collaborative
process, separating couples sit round table with their lawyers so the couple can
negotiate the terms of their separation directly but with the safety and support
of their lawyer present to guide them. This is such a different process than the
traditional family law approach where the lawyer takes over the negotiation on
your behalf and makes demands of the other parent through their lawyer who will
likely only respond in kind.
In addition to
utilizing collaboratively trained family law lawyers where you maintain control
of the process and outcome, there is a significant role for a separation
The separation coach
meets with you individually and privately. The separation coach offers guidance
to help manage one’s own feelings and learn strategies to communicate in such
a manner so as to reduce the risk of inflaming a situation. Knowing that at
times it is not so much what one says, but how one says it, the separation coach
can better equip a person to deliver their message consistent with reasonable
intention. The separation coach can also help a parent speak with their children
in a manner so as to help maintain or improve those relationships too.
collaboratively trained family law lawyers and a separation coach is not a
guarantee of a successful outcome, this powerful combination can go a long way
to help drive your situation in a better direction, lower the risk of litigation
and help maintain or improve relationships.
If the story above
seems at all familiar or similar to your own, consider this two-pronged approach
to getting through your separation as peacefully as possible. In the event that
matters have already gone awry through litigation, a separation coach may still
be of value to help a parent from making a poor situation worse. These kind of
disputes tend to resolve better if at least one parent keeps their cool and
Now imagine your
matters settling reasonably.
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Call Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters. Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques and workshops.
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