Divorce and Child Custody Cases are very difficult for everyone involved.
To handle a divorce and child custody matter in the court system is done in an adversarial manner. If it is done completely with attorneys, it is about "Win and Loose". That is what attorneys are taught. To handle it with a Marriage and Family Therapist, it is handled in a "Win-Win" manner, which is the way it should be handled. You need to remember that at one point in time you loved each other enough to marry and decide to spend the rest of your lives together. When that did not work out, it doesn't mean that now you have to be hateful to each other. If you had children together, they deserve to see their parents in a relationship that doesn't involve hate and resentment. You need to remember that your children are half of each of you and deserve to see respect between you.
When you work together to decide the physical custody of your children, again remember they deserve to spend equal time with both of you. They are not the ones divorcing. It is always best to keep them out of the details of the divorce and the physical custody details. They are only children, and it is not their responsibility or their divorce.
Forms for Divorce Mediation and Custody Mediation
Go to the Intake Form Section and Print out the following forms:
Adult Intake Form
Minor's Get Acquainted Form (one for each child)
Child Custody Mediation
This is often the most difficult part of the divorce process. It is very important to keep your children out of the custody mediation. One of the biggest things that is happening now is the accusation of Parental Alienation.
What is Parental Alienation? The manipulation of a child to reject one parent or the other.
In the eyes of the law, children need to have a good relationship with both parents, and to achieve that, each parent should have significant quality time with the child. Unfortunately, divorce is usually an ugly affair, and many parents allow their anger to spill over into the lives of their children. When a parent takes steps to isolate a child, make the child angry with, or afraid of, the other parent, it is called alienation.
The primary weapons parents use to alienate their children against the other parent include:
- Badmouthing – This includes criticizing and belittling the other parent, or telling the child that the other parent is dangerous, crazy, or somehow unworthy of the child’s love.
- Interfering with the Child’s Contact – This includes delivering the child to the other parent late, picking him up early, making excuses to keep the child during the other parent’s scheduled time, refusing to allow the child to call or otherwise contact the other parent, or excessively calling the child while he is with the other parent.
- Causing the Child to Reject the other Parent – This includes making the child feel guilty for loving the other parent, creating conflict between the child and the other parent, forcing the child to choose between his parents, talking to the child about inappropriate matters (details of the marriage or divorce).
- Undermining the Child’s Relationship with the other Parent – This includes drilling the child for details of his visit with the other parent or asking the child to spy on the other parent, encouraging the child to call that parent by his or her first name, changing the child’s name to exclude the other parent.
- Undermining the other Parent’s Role in the Child’s Life – This includes refusing to provide the other parent regarding the child’s schooling, medical care, and activities; refusing to notify the school, sports team coaches, doctors, and others of the other parent’s contact information; having a step-parent refer to him/herself as “Mom” or “Dad” when dealing with the school, teachers, coaches, doctors, and others; refusing to invite the other parent to important activities such as birthday parties, graduation, parent-teacher conferences, school plays or concerts, and the like.
The court systems in Northern Nevada have started referring these Parental Alienation cases out to specially trained therapists. There are about five of us in Northern Nevada. I am one of them. I have been honored to work with all of the courts in Northern Nevada on Alienation cases. I tell you this to assure you that you do not have to seek another therapist in order to deal with this. My hope is that your case does not turn into an Alienation case.