I admit that I got curious when I heard that Gwyneth Paltro recently said, “In a divorce, I’ve learned so much from something I wanted least in the world.” What did she learn? When she coined the term “conscious uncoupling,” many of my divorcing clients quoted her. But what does she mean by that? It got me thinking about what one can learn from divorce, and I came up with a long list. Here are just a few.
Say your child is away at college and lands in the hospital, injured and unconscious, after being in a car accident. It’s a horrible scenario to imagine, of course. But the situation could be worse: It’s possible you wouldn’t even receive information about your student’s medical status unless you’d filled out the proper forms ahead of time. Every year, parent questions crop up about health forms for new college students, including HIPAA authorization and medical power of attorney. In 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic closing campus nationwide in the spring and COVID-19 clusters breaking out as the fall semester begins,
A very common misunderstanding among parents is that at a certain age (usually 12), a child can decide for himself which parent he will live with. When they are told that this is a myth, the next question is, “When can he decide?” The short answer to this is, “never.” Where a child will live, and with whom, is an adult decision that is made by adults. A child should never be asked to make this decision, or led to think that he has that authority. From a psychological standpoint, this is like asking a child “which parent do you
Before we can have a contested hearing in front of the judge, it’s very likely that we will be required to attend mediation. Here are a few things you need to understand about this process, including how to prepare for it. Mediation is a powerful tool. It gives you and the opposing party control over what happens with your kids and your property—with your life! A mediated settlement agreement gives you ownership in making things work in the future. We can get very creative in mediation and craft an agreement that meets the needs of your family. It’s unlikely that
From a very young age, most of us build an idea in our head of what life will be like. The specifics of the plan might vary from person to person, but chances are we all had a similar structure: finish school, get a good career, make a family. That life plan probably did not include divorce. Making the decision to file for divorce is likely to be one of the most difficult choices you make. Whether you’ve already made the decision or are still trying to work things out, it is almost always a good idea to seek counseling.
Occasionally a child will say she doesn’t want to go to the other parent for that parent’s period of visitation. What can you do? First, you need to understand that this is not something a child gets a choice about. The other parent has an absolute right to be with the child, and (more importantly) the child has a right to have the other parent in her life. One of the definitions of being a kid is that you have to do things that are good for you, even when you don’t want to. You have to eat your vegetables.
Divorce is a painful process. It represents the end of hopes and dreams, and there will be anger and grief. There will also be some fear about the future. Will I still see my kids? Will I have enough money to live on? How is my life going to change? Your attorney cannot get rid of all the negative aspects of a divorce, but there are things you can do that will help your attorney to help you. Make sure your attorney knows everything she needs to know; provide her with all relevant facts. Sometimes those facts might be embarrassing,
My husband and I raised three sons, who are now all grown up. We made a lot of mistakes, but one thing we feel pretty good about is that we encouraged them to have good relationships with each other. One way we did that was through the family tradition of Brothers’ Day. When they were small, the day came (as I expect it does in all families!) when our youngest son asked us, “Why is there a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, but no Kids’ Day?” So we created Brothers’ Day. Brothers’ Day was always celebrated on the Sunday