Divorce is never simple and when children are involved, things can get even more complicated. Whatever issues exist between parents during a divorce, most couples are seeking what’s best for their children in the long run. It can be difficult to reach the best solution between you and your partner, especially when emotions run high. This is why some couples choose to bring child specialists and divorce professionals to help navigate the process, and find the best solutions for your children in the long run.
What is a Child Specialist?
The main role of a child specialist is typically to help parents make decisions about how they will co-parent post-divorce. Parents hire child specialists to help them figure out the best plan of action for their kids moving forward and help them plan to work together as co-parents down the line. These individuals most often come into play during collaborative divorces, but can help in most divorce situations where parents want to co-parent successfully moving forward.
A child specialist is different than a guardian ad litem (GAL) or parenting evaluator. A GAL is appointed by the court to to represent the child’s best interest during a divorce, and a parenting evaluator plays a related role, investigating the parenting situation and the child and sometimes performing psychological tests to evaluate a child’s mental state. A child specialist instead works for the parents and does not report to the court.
How can this person help children during the divorce process?
Child specialists offer a number of benefits during the divorce process. Some key reasons to include a child specialist in your divorce process include:
Interviewing children and those close to them. This process can help assess a child’s state and see how they are dealing with the situation. Having an impartial person talk to your child and those close to them about the divorce can give adults a good sense of how the child is handling the divorce. Kids will often attempt to hide their stress and put on a good face during a divorce, so having a third party person speak both with them and those close to them can give you a real sense of how your child is doing, and highlight any areas of concern if they are present.
Provide strategies and resources for navigating co-parenting after divorce. Child Specialists are experts in dealing with divorce as it pertains to children. As such, they have a wide breadth of resources to help families cope with divorce and have a solid parenting plan moving forward. Some strategies and support they bring to the table include:
How to tell your children you are getting divorced
How to keep children out of conflict between the parents
Recognizing signs of stress with your children, even if they say everything is fine
Helping your child deal with divorce at their specific age level and stage of development
Work with a divorce coach. Child specialists can also work with divorce coaches to navigate various aspects of parenting and co-parenting after divorce. When working with a divorce coach, child specialists can help a couple work through agreements about parenting they will need to make in order to develop the parenting plan that the court requires of all parents. Aspects of these plans include:
Agreements about when the child or children will be with each parent
How holidays and vacations will be divided among parents
Important decisions around schooling and medical issues
Plans for resolving disputes between children
Divorce is a complicated and emotional process for all parties involved. For families with children who are hoping to navigate co parenting moving forward, having a child specialist on your team to help navigate this process can be a beneficial solution in the long run!