What Advice Would You Give to Divorcing Parties With Children?

Why does the legal system take parents, who were partners in the most intimate human relationship, and turn them into adversaries? Why, it makes NO SENSE? Nonetheless, Michigan divorce laws favor both parents having a healthy relationship with their children, such as there is a strong presumption for joint custody in every divorce or custody matter. How does the adversarial nature of divorce fit in with these legal values for parents? Unfortunately, all too often it does not.

Parties going through divorce need to be assured that the interaction children have and will have with both parents after the divorce is what is most important. Parents must be encouraged, despite their differences, to learn how to work together for the children’s future health, stability and success and they need reassurance that they can do it.

Unfortunately, divorce often creates an emotional atmosphere of mistrust between the parents resulting in hurt, anger and sometimes revenge. The vital focus for parents going through divorce is the fact that their children need both of them. Fighting over children harms the children, not the other spouse. It is critical to remember and remind the parents that during a divorce neither parent is herself or himself. Parents fear loss of the family; fear loss of their parental role; fear loss of time with their children to the other parent; fear the children will favor and love the other parent more; fear the other parent buy the children’s affection, time and love with lavish monetary objects; fear there will never be enough money to raise the children as was previously planned during the marriage. Spouses going through divorce must understand that the other parent has the same fears.

Encouraging divorcing parents to recognize that the children naturally love and need both of them is crucial. Restructuring the family after divorce is much better served through alternative dispute resolution processes such as the Collaborative Process or Mediation. These processes encourage communication, problem solving, and negotiations and provide parents with the best assurance of protecting their children from the trauma of a full blown adversarial litigated divorce with subpoenas, interrogatories, depositions and unknown third parties making decisions for them. After all the fighting and mudslinging, their attorneys are the financial winners, the court just doesn’t care, each of them is an emotional loser, and their children are damaged without any voice in the process.

Information provided by Metro Detroit family law attorney Danielle A. Smith.If you have questions about filing for divorce, call our offices today or email us at,  info@familylawofmichigan.com visit our website at www.familylawofmichigan.com

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  1. Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

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