Many times in my career as a family lawyer I was appointed by a judge as an amicus or ad litem attorney with the job of representing the best interests of the children whose parents were going through a divorce. As such, I would meet with my young clients to find out how I could best help them, and what I heard time and time again was the complaint: “Please make my parents stop fighting.”

What this told me was that the parents were not able to put their own anger and fears aside and focus on what was best for their children; in other words, be parents who behave as adults and take responsibility for how their decisions affect the most important people in their lives. Children are like little tuning forks: they pick up on our anger and depression and make it their own. The best way for parents to put their children first is to find a way to get through their divorce that is the least destructive to every member of the family’s mental health and to their family’s finances.

I found a way to help my clients stop fighting when I started practicing collaborative divorce. Rather than spend their money on an adversarial battle that will leave the entire family system weaker and poorer, parents can save their money to educate their children and go on with their lives. In other words, they can not only put their children first, but they can set the stage for a peaceful and productive co-parenting experience with their ex-spouse.

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