I was asked by my friend, Sandra Lee, to record two podcasts for her business—Emerge Victorious. Sandra is a well-respected Divorce Coach and Mediator in our community, so I was delighted that she asked me. I recorded two episodes for Emerge Victorious: the first one was on Divorcing with Children and the second one was on Choosing a Collaborative Divorce.
In discussing Divorcing with Children, Sandra wanted to know about my role as a Parenting Coordinator and how this can help parents with custody issues. I am a certified Parenting Coordinator, which just means that I completed an intensive, week-long course to train me how to do this work. A Parenting Coordinator works with parents who are having problems making custody work. The Parenting Coordinator usually has both parents in the office at the same time, to identify and rectify the issues that that are making co-parenting difficult. Courts are not the best places to deal with the “little things” that parents experience when trying to co-parent, such as when a parent is consistently late delivering or picking up the children or when one parent does not sign the reading log for school. These “little things” become big problems, and can lead to conflict between the parents or bad grades for the child. It is experiences like this that cause a child to be “put in the middle” of his or her parents’ divorce. A Parenting Coordinator works with the parents to improve communication and bring down the hostility, which means the parents become better co-parents. This improves the situation for the child, and provides a more emotionally stable environment for the child.
Sandra also discussed Choosing a Collaborative Divorce with me. I have been a Collaborative Family Law attorney for more than 12 years here in Mecklenburg County. Before discovering collaborative law, I worked for some very fine litigators in NC. I found that the collaborative approach to divorce was a better fit with my personality and with the way I like to work my cases. Collaborative law addresses the fears and concerns of both parties, and the participants can find a more creative solution to the problems involved in a divorce. Courts are very constrained in the solutions they can provide, but two collaborative attorneys and their clients can tailor a solution to the needs of the family. Sandra describes the collaborative method as a “kinder and gentler” way to handle a divorce. I like it, because it is private, self-scheduled, less expensive, and less acrimonious. Also, I can be a problem-solver, instead of a problem-creator. I believe the solutions are better able to stand the test of time, because both parties have input on the solution. It’s harder for the parties to accept what a stranger in a black robe decides for them.
Sandra and I have worked in the collaborative community for years, and we had a fairly in-depth discussion of both Parenting Coordinator and Collaborative Law. If you want to learn a little more about either topic, this is an easy and quick way to do it. Head over to Emerge Victorious and listen.