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Protecting The Kids During and After the Divorce
Expanding on Dr. Gail Saltz - Protecting The Kids During and After the Divorce
In a recent video posted on Marlo Thomas’ section of the Huffington Post divorce website, psychologist Dr. Gail Saltz advocates for the use of divorce mediation.
According to Saltz, divorce mediation best protects children of the marriage because parties “don’t have to go to court and it doesn’t become a vicious battle”.
The video can be seen online by clicking here.
We certainly agree with Dr. Saltz, however we would make a few additions and clarifications to her position. Successful divorce mediation accomplishes much more than eliminating the possibility of a “vicious battle”, or providing the parties with an opportunity to “compromise”. This dispute resolution process can also help to create and maintain the “healthy divorce” relationship that Saltz cites as essential to minimizing the long term effects of divorce on children. This benefit of mediation is encouraging, as many parties going through divorce cannot fathom enacting these behaviors.
“Healthy” divorcees are those where the divorcing parents work together cooperatively, refrain from criticizing or undermining each other in front of their children, and despite how hard it may be, they promote positive relationships with the other parent. These actions require a great deal of effort on the part of parents particularly in the area of communication.
Skillful mediators can coach parties on effective communication skills and tactics pertinent to both the mediation and life after divorce. Parents can walk away from mediation having learned how to listen, provide constructive feedback, and deal with conflict more effectively.
Even without specific coaching on communication, the mediation process itself, because it relies on cooperation and team work, strengthens the co-parenting relationship and helps divorcing parents understand one another better. Following divorce mediation, parents walk away knowing that they set an agenda and accomplished the resolution of their dispute by their own efforts – providing a basis for future such negotiations that will be inevitable as they remain co parents. As mentioned in previous posts, mediation is also available for disputes down the road and can be written into separation agreements.
Therefore, the benefit of divorce mediation to children can be much greater than simply the removal of court proceedings.
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Divorcing couples in Massachusetts can divide their property on their own, or they can leave it up to the court, who will divide all the property equitably. When dividing marital property, courts consider such factors as the length of the marriage, the conduct of the spouses, the occupation and income of the spouses, their employability and the opportunity for each spouse to acquire property in the future.
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