The best option for resolving any issue that arises in family law matters depends on the stance and approach of the opposing legal party. When both parties are willing to negotiate and remain involved in a give-and-take process, mediation can be a great option. There are many quality mediators willing to assist parties in gaining a helpful new perspective so they can work things out without entering the complex court system. However, sometimes one side is very set on an outcome and isn’t willing to be flexible. In this case, utilizing the court system may be a perfectly viable idea. Sometimes litigation is unavoidable and that’s not always a bad thing.
People are afraid of litigation, with good reason. Especially in family law cases, these issues are usually sensitive and vitally important to you. For instance, your ability to provide for your kids is a very vulnerable thing to ask a complete stranger to judge you on.
If you’re able to work out disputes in mediation, you will have significantly more control over the outcome of your divorce than when you get into litigation. In a lawsuit, you’re hoping the judge sees the situation your way on all the important issues, but most often the judge sees some issues your way and others the way the other party wants. That’s why if you can get through mediation, it’s usually a better option.
What Generally Leads These Divorce Or Family Law Cases Into Actual Litigation When It Gets To That Point?
Oftentimes when people are in a divorce, they’re dealing with the loss of a relationship that’s been an important part of their lives for many years. Consequently, people often suffer from not addressing the underlying emotional issues and utilize the divorce to assign blame or to feel justified. I believe this comes from an urge to prove that we’re not bad people for being in a divorce. This is especially true for parents of children who don’t want to be seen as neglectful parents. There may be a misconception that the court is likely to favor the other parent or limit child custody if they perceive you as the one who started the divorce dispute.
In reality, it’s very rare that the court says a child cannot have any contact with a parent. The court tries to preserve child-parent relationships as much as possible. Thus, kids are usually going to have at least minimal contact with both parents. Further, the finances are always going to involve a compromise between both parents.
Note that the process does not address that emotional aspect of a divorce. That’s why one of my first suggestions for clients is to have a good counselor and to work through the emotions they are experiencing.
How Do I Explain A Divorce To My Children? My Mother In Law Dropped The Bomb At A Family Function Out Of Spite. I Love My Children But I Need To Do Damage Control.
This is such a difficult conversation to have, even under the best of circumstances. Each family and each child is different, so you need to do some assessing of what is most important for your child to know. But there are a few guidelines to help make this conversation easier.
First, have the conversation face-to-face, if possible. It is ideal if you and your spouse can be present for this conversation, because then it allows the children to see both of their parents facing this tough change in the family together. Make certain that both parents can stay calm during the discussion.
Second, keep the conversation clear and simple. None of the children need to hear details about the divorce that are best left to the adults. Don’t say things like, “Daddy is leaving the family” or “Mommy decided she wants to be with a different man”. Young children won’t understand, and older children will be inclined to take sides, which will only hurt relationships down the road. Try to keep it neutral and not emotional. The children will contend with their own emotions; they don’t need drama from mom and dad to make it worse.
Third, make certain your children feel loved and safe. Most often, that is the aspect of divorce that causes the most distress for the children. They perceive that their world is crumbling and they don’t know how to process that. Encourage your children to express their emotions and support them through those emotions. But resist the urge to feed into those emotions by villainizing your spouse.
Finally, be prepared to answer their questions. However, that is still not an invitation to talk with your children about adult issues. If the kids wonder about why you are divorcing, explain to them that it is not their fault, and that both parents still love them and will be there for them. Redirect their curiosity onto the answers that are really troubling them: how is the divorce going to impact their lives. If your child/ren are having ongoing difficulties dealing with the impact of a divorce, seek out help from a trusted counselor or therapist. They can help a child process this drastic change in a healthy way.
For more information on Family Law in Utah, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 405-9011 today.
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