There are times in a divorce case when having a child specialist as part of your Team can help both parents to focus on what is in the best interest of the children. A child specialist is a specially trained mental health professional with insights into children. Rarely have children been going to see a therapist, but they have been exposed to their parents arguing or even talking about divorce. That can be quite frightening to children. The child specialist can help both parents understand how to foster a healthy environment as mom and dad go through divorce and in their post-divorce life and help to assist the children with their specific questions on how their parents’ divorce will affect them and how the transition can be made easier for them.
The child specialist will have conversations with the children about their real concerns. This is especially important for older children who may be concerned about how the divorce will impact their daily lives, their activities at school, or how they will now be shuttled back and forth. They don’t want to be packing their stuff and going back and forth when they should be focused on marching band or Advanced Placement classes. Sometimes that’s hard for parents to understand.
At times the parents are more concerned about how their divorce will affect their children, specifically around a parenting time schedule. There are times when one parent may feel that the other parent is unduly influencing the children in this regard. The child specialist focuses on the children, their needs and their expressed desires and interviews the children (individually) in order to ascertain the information needed to assist the parents and the Team members in these matters.
Bringing a child specialist in who understands all those concerns is very beneficial to a good post-divorce life for everyone. The child specialist can help design a parenting plan that works for the children and both parents. They can both be very involved in their children’s lives and cause as little disruption to their kids’ lives as possible. At that point the kids become more comfortable with the divorce and feel that they’ve been heard.
Since Collaborative Divorce is an interest-based negotiation, the child specialist looks deeper into what the children are saying. The child specialist is sometimes called the voice of the child. What are the children’s wants? Where are those wants coming from? Are they being influenced by anyone? The child specialists know how to talk to children, and they know how to talk to parents.
Do you need a child specialist in every case?No, you don’t. Sometimes the parents and children communicate really well already, so a child specialist isn’t needed. It all boils down to how well the parents can communicate and how well the children are doing during their parents’ divorce. There are many advantages to having a child specialist involved in your collaborative divorce to help parents make the best decisions about the children.
To schedule a consultation or for more information call (512) 474-4400. Our office is located at 11782 Jollyville Rd., #204b, Austin, TX 78759.