My daughters have an interest in what we do as a divorce mediators. They often send me articles that I will be interested in. My oldest daughter recently sent me the January 4, 2010 article which was on the NPR web site by Sasha Aslanian entitled, “What The Divorce Revolution Has Meant For Kids.” You can see the entire article at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122127796 Since it was about children, it was appropriate that it came from my daughter. Ms. Aslanian contrasts the recent history of children in divorce from the movie Kramer vs. Kramer with what has happened in Henepin County, Minnesota. In the movie the couple are locked in a custody battle over their young son. The child they were fighting over doesn’t have much of a voice in the movie. It’s more a drama about his parents. In Hennepin County, Minnesota steps are being taken for the sake of the kids.
She indicates that the “Country tried something different. At the first meeting with the judge right after filing for divorce, there would be no motions. No judicial robes. And the attorneys would sit on the sidelines. ‘The judge would sit down with parties and talk to them about such things as childhood development. What they could do to help their kids. What would send their kids’ mental health south real fast. What they could do to preserve some of their assets for their kids’ extracurricular activities or college, rather than the lawyers’ kids’ extracurricular activities and college, After the initial meeting, the couple would come back a few weeks later and meet with a male and a female custody evaluator. They would try to come up with a reasonable plan that everyone could buy into. A separate meeting dealt with the financial part of divorce.””
She also discusses the County’s court-mandated class for kids whose parents were getting divorced. She says they practiced role-playing how to avoid divorce traps. — like being asked to spy on the other parent or parents who spew venom about each other.
Divorce does not have to be a disaster for the children. If the parents care, they can do things to make it better for their children. I always tell my clients they have given their children a wonderful gift.
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