If you’ve been through a separation or divorce, or know someone who has, you will be aware of the financial, emotional and psychological toll that it can have on the couple. The strain and stress can turn the couple’s lives upside down. While every couple and every break-up is different – and even where break-ups are relatively amicable – people will respond in different ways. However, in cases where there are children involved, it is they who are inevitably the innocent victims. The couple chose to be together and chose to separate, but few children would ever choose to have their parents go their separate ways. This leaves children feeling helpless and confused and in many cases unable to properly address and communicate complex feelings. This is why many people involved in divorce, such as this divorce lawyer in Melbourne, strongly advocate for children of separated or divorced parents to have the support and assistance of a qualified children’s specialist psychologist when negotiating custody settlements.
There are numerous reasons why this makes a great deal of sense:
Focus on the Children: Negotiating custody can be a stressful, highly charged experience in which the feelings of the couple towards each other can frequently overshadow the best interests of the kids. A children’s specialist can help the parties to stay focused on their children and ensure that whatever solution is reached is in their best interests, rather an expression of whatever they are feeling about their former partner.
Cutting Through the Complexity: Most people don’t really know how life after marriage will impact upon their children. If asked ten years later, a great many would likely take a very different approach with the benefit of hindsight. Any experienced child psychologist will likely have seen it all and can help parents work through issues together by advising on what works and what doesn’t.
Valuable Feedback: A children’s specialist will be able to provide priceless feedback to parents about what the children themselves want. Many parents don’t want to hear or accept that their children dearly love their former partner and would prefer to convince themselves that the kids are better off without them or with very limited time. Children rarely feel the same way, and a neutral voice that has heard what the kids have to say can frequently be an important voice of reason during difficult times.
Keeping it Equitable: As alluded to above, irrespective of what the former couple might think or feel about the other as a person and/or as a parent, the fact of the matter is that unless there is violence, abuse, drugs or alcohol involved, it is almost always in the children’s best interests to have a significant, meaningful relationship with both parents. A children’s specialist can keep all parties focused on this fact and ensure that the kids get what they need.
A Listening Ear: Of course, it is critical for parents to speak to their children regularly about the difficulties that they are facing, and to ensure that they listen carefully to what they say. However, in the emotionally complex landscape of separation and divorce, children can frequently feel that if they express their true feelings, they may anger, upset or hurt one or both parents. This can often lead them to bottle their emotions inside, rather than feeling as if they are betraying their mother or father. A neutral third party with whom the child feels comfortable can provide the perfect environment for any child to open up about their feelings and work through them in a non-threatening way, saving much angst and heartbreak.
No matter what your circumstances, including a children’s specialist psychologist as part of your custody negotiations is truly one of the best things that you can do for your kids to ensure their welfare as you navigate the treacherous waters of your own life.