No one ever dreams that they’ll come to a point in their life where their marriage has failed. That point where differences are irreconcilable and there’s nothing but anger and resentment.
No one ever thinks their precious children will wind up in the middle of an argument between them and their spouse, leading the way to bitterness and hostility as well as parent/child relationship problems that could last a lifetime.
But it happens. Chances are we all know someone who’s been in this position and we swore it would never happen to our family. But now it has and we have to figure out what to do before the damage becomes too severe. Uncoupling is hard enough, but when there are fights over custody and other issues that involve the children, it takes on a whole new ugly slant.
So, what do you do to ease the damage?
What about litigation?
Many couples turn to their lawyers when divorce proceedings become contentious. No doubt you’ve seen it on your favorite television law dramas. Couples sit at a large conference table, fighting about who gets the house, the cars, and – sadly – the children. Everyone is angry and there’s little regard for the damage being done. It becomes about greed and revenge, and no one emerges unscathed.
Lawyers can certainly help with many specifics of divorce, but in regard to splitting up families, they may not be the best choice for getting to the bottom of the situation and making logical decisions about your children’s well-being. Lawyers do not have counselling experience and don’t know what to look for regarding what would be the healthiest option for each child involved. In addition, their services are ultra-expensive!
Considering family mediation instead
Many families in turmoil have turned to licensed therapists for help in achieving as amicable a split as possible, one that will avoid harm to the children. In contrast to using a lawyer for this purpose, the first obvious advantage is that this option is much less expensive for the family. Quite obviously, during a divorce, decreasing spending is important as money can disappear quickly during conflict resolution.
But the most obvious advantage of family mediation is that you’re employing the services of an individual who is trained in dealing with both adults and children and doing so in a non-combative way. If you locate a therapist who has, specifically, trained in Collaborative Divorce, The Family Law Act for non-lawyers, Family Mediation, Arbitration, Parental Coordination and Child Interviewing, you’ve found someone who has both the knowledge and compassion to make the whole process easier and less stressful on you AND your children.
Of course, the most desirable outcome for most couples is an amicable co-parenting solution that allows their children to continue to hone relationships with both parents. But that’s not always in the child(ren)’s best interest. In those cases, the therapist can make that determination, backing it up with the knowledge and experience that comes with training in this specific field.
Finding a family mediator
Not every therapist is trained in doing such work. That’s why it’s important to do your due diligence before hiring a counselor for mediation. And, remember, just because someone does “family counseling”, it doesn’t mean that they are qualified to be a divorce mediator for your family.
Dr. Ellie Bolgar has long been assisting families in crafting logical and amicable solutions that promote healthy parent-child relationships post-divorce. She boasts nearly twenty years of experience working in Child Protection and Child and Youth Mental Health Services, where she provided assessments and reports for court and clinical supervision for counsellors. Specifically, her area of research centers on parental alienation and estrangement from the attachment perspective and its long term impact on children’s emotional development, as well as its contribution to personality disorders.
Dr. Bolgar recognizes that divorce can be akin to a death in the family. Hence, she has trained in methods that assist her in guiding her patients through the grieving process as well as teaching them to heal and then repair relationships (when plausible) so that they remain healthy. She can also recognize toxic, damage-causing relationships that may be better left behind and can help parents/children make their way past these relationships.
If you believe family mediation can help you make your way to a more amicable uncoupling of your marriage, contact the offices of Dr. Ellie Bolgar at 604-371-0198 to schedule an appointment or consultation.