January 2017 Archives

Child Centered Divorce: Tips to Achieve this Approach

What is a child centered divorce?

Everyone knows that kids should be protected from their parents' conflicts. In fact, that is one of the central premises around a child centered divorce. Unfortunately many couples find this hard to achieve this with emotions running high. When there is so much hurt and anger it can feel natural to turn to your children for comfort or support. It may be tempting to tell them the "truth" about the other parent but why is this kind of dialogue a bad idea? Kids who are caught in the middle of their parents' conflict and divorce have worse behavior and emotional outcomes that last into adulthood. In a child centered divorce the well-being and the interests of the children are top priority of the separating or divorced couple.  These kids are able to move beyond the conflict and have a good chance at success in life, school, relationships and a better mental outlook. Why keep your kids out of the middle? For their own mental health, they need to love both parents, and if they feel caught in the middle, they may feel they have to choose between parents. This is damaging to kids. Your children know that they have a part of each of you in them. If they turn against a parent, it is as if they are turning against a part of themselves. What happens when kids are caught in the middle? Kids feel like they are caught in a terrible tug-of-war. They may feel they need to determine who is at fault, or what is "fair." They may feel burdened by their parents' emotions and not able to express their own. They may begin to regress, shut down, or act out. Teens and young adult children of divorcing parents may try to get involved in the divorce process itself, in unhealthy ways, by trying to mediate, or judge, or advocate for particular outcomes. And this distracts them from focusing on their own lives in healthy ways.

Gray Divorce: How To Prepare Yourself

Preparing for a Gray Divorce

As discussed in a previous blog, gray divorce is on the rise. Gray divorce refers to couples over the age of fifty seeking a divorce. In most cases, these couples are not paired from second or third marriages but surprisingly long-term first marriages. The kids are out of the house and the couple is ready to move on - just not together. More than half of all gray divorces are couples in first marriages and 55 percent of gray divorces are between couples who have been married for more than twenty years. Whatever the reason for this growing phenomenon, and there is a lot of speculation on the subject (couples simply growing apart, women having more financial independence, people living longer), you must be prepared if you are going to make the move to single-hood. If you are in good health both financially and physically, a gray divorce could be a great way to live your life with some newfound independence. On the flip side, if your finances and health are poor you might be at risk for falling into poverty. It is important to be aware and prepared for your future. Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin, sociologists at Bowling Green State University, shared in their Gray Divorce Revolution paper that on average, older divorced Americans have only 20 percent as much wealth as older married couples. And the net wealth of those who've been widowed over age 50 is more than twice the wealth for what the researchers call the gray divorced. If you are thinking about a gray divorce it is more important than ever to take certain steps to make sure you are prepared for what is down the road.

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