I attended my nephew's first communion on Saturday. It is a Catholic sacrament that the children and their parents have to prepare for over a period of months. It is similar to the Bar or Bat Mitzvah in the Jewish religion. As I was sitting there in a packed church, watching the mothers and fathers walk down the aisle with their children, I was struck by how awful it must be to be in the midst of an acrimonious divorce and have to "just get through" these special days. A friend of mine also recently told me the story of when her daughter received the sacrament. She, the child's mother, was relegated to the back of the church while the soon to be step-mother accompanied father and child to the altar. After that, she was devastated , angry, hurt and not looking to make any compromises in any area of their divorce.
There are options. Families can survive divorce and not have one parent relegated to the back row at important, milestone occasions. Couples working together in a collaborative divorce have a team aiding them through the process ensuring they, and most importantly their children, come out the other side. In Collaborative Divorce, when a special event is coming up the couple can work with their divorce coach, the child therapist and the attorneys to craft a strategy for the day. This way, the child is not upset by seeing their parents and possibly grandparents and extended family at odds. The child feels special and loved by everyone as opposed to put in the middle and worried about whether the adults are ok.
Tracy A. Timby, Esquire is an attorney in Newtown helping families transition through divorce. Prior to attending law school, she earned a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. She is a trained mediator and Collaborative Practitioner and has been helping families for 15 years in Bucks County.