I have written extensively, here and elsewhere, about how family court is a destructive process for children. What children need emotionally and developmentally is for their parents to get along, and family court positions parents as enemies and pits them against each other. It is exactly what children do not need, and they are often traumatized by court and its’ aftermath well into adulthood.
When parents separate their children are going through a major transition, and that’s when they need their parents the most.It is a time for parents to unite, not to be driven apart. Our adversarial system provides the opposite answer to what children need. Parents are often devastated by their separation and of course they are vulnerable, scared and often angry. But it is a time to recognize the other parent as an ally, in being the person on earth who loves your child(ren) as much as you do.
In that context, why couldn’t we conceptualize parental separation as a child protection issue? Children are going through a major transition and could potentially suffer significant trauma. They need protection, love and support; not conflict. What if we saw children of separation as children “at risk”, and if parents needed extra support from a government agency, they would turn to this proposed department of child safety.
I have believed for many years that court is the wrong place for parents who desperately need to come together and instead are being torn apart. With the increasing popularity of “Parenting Coordinators” and with some psychologists (finally) focusing on post separation co-parenting as part of their practice, there are resources available to support families. When our relationships end we need support ourselves and certainly can use external resources to help support and protect our children.
Even if people felt the need to preserve family court for certain dire situations (such as domestic violence) why can’t we have a “primary” system focused on collaboration, cooperation and respect, instead of fighting?