There is little dispute that ongoing parental conflict is detrimental to children. A child's exposure to parental conflict diverts the child's focus and energy from being a child and learning social and educational skills, to attempting to figure out why his or her parents cannot get along. Good lawyers always address the impact of high conflict on the children with their clients. In December, 2016, the Colorado Supreme Court approved an amendment to the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct to add the following language to a comment to Rule 1.2:
"In a matter involving the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities, a lawyer should consider advising the client that parental conflict can have a significant adverse effect on minor children."
It is possible to move past a divorce and custody dispute and do what is right for your children. It is tough, no doubt about it, but it is possible. Lately we have seen a number of national news stories that highlight some great examples of parents rising above the conflict and getting along for the sake of their children.
In one of these stories, the parents and the step-parents work together to create a healthy approach and balance in their child's life. In the other, there are no significant others to complicate things and they are able to put their child first.
Recently four Georgia parents made headlines with a photo at their daughter's soccer game. The photo depicted the two sets of parents and jerseys stating their parenting role, while surrounding their daughter. It was a positive photographic symbol of their collective ability to put their daughter first and any hard feelings, sadness, anger or resentment to the side.
The Georgia story goes on to highlight how the families socialize with each other and the mom and step-mom are even close friends. Each set of parents acknowledges how important this is to them and to their daughter and wouldn't have it any other way.
In another recent news story, two parents separated in life and living on separate coasts, make a point of taking a family photo together with their son. This began after the couple separated and the mom invited dad to join in on a planned photo session. The parents stated it was a natural decision and despite differences, they are proud of this effort to be united for their child.
These two stories highlight the importance of finding a way to co-parent that works for you and your family. Some families are able to hang out and connect on a regular basis. Other parents make it work to be together for some occasions or important memories such as a family picture.
What is clear from both stories is that the parents are finding a way to acknowledge the importance of the other parent and step-parents in their child's life. This message is one the children will carry with them for the rest of their lives as an example of rising above the fray.
Their parents may not have planned to be separated when they had their children, but they are making the most of the new reality in which they find themselves. The ability to move forward will serve them and their children well in the years to come.
A skilled family law attorney can provide the resources to assist the client in resolving both the financial and emotional issues raised by separation and divorce and to focus on putting the children's needs in the forefront.