How to prevent your divorce from destroying your family? Ask one of the best child custody lawyers.

Amy Laughlin, a divorce and child custody lawyer in San Mateo, knows better than most what’s at stake for the children of divorcing parents. “Nothing trains you to be a great divorce and child custody attorney quite like watching your parents get divorced then getting divorced yourself, then watching hundreds of other parents muddle through it. You see a whole lot of common mistakes and occasionally, a brilliant exception.” 

Amy herself is the divorced, pre-nupped and remarried mother of two sons, and in addition to her firsthand experience, she has witnessed hundreds of others. Those experiences have made her a committed children’s advocate who takes California’s ethos of ‘whatever is best for the child’ very, very seriously. Here, in Amy’s own words, are a handful of rules reflecting what she thinks is in the best interest of the children of divorcing parents.

1. Don’t make your children pay for your divorce for the rest of their lives.

So many studies have arrived at the same conclusion that the state of California has arrived at: that children who don’t have a significant, healthy relationship with both of their parents don’t thrive like children who do. Parents forget that they play a critical role in the way they speak of and interact with their ex. I’ve seen my share of adult kids whose parents had a nasty divorce who are unable to form an intimate relationship with another person. I understand you may feel victimized and may need to vent. Save that for in-person conversations with your friends away from your home. (Kids hear everything.) And trust me, venting to your children, speaking about or treating your ex disrespectfully, or sharing how you were victimized will only hurt your child, not your ex. Go high, not low. 

2. Remind your children how much you and your ex both love them.

Parents are often more distracted and emotionally overwhelmed in the process of getting divorced than at any other time in their children’s lives. Kids internalize their parents’ conflict and it’s common for them to feel as if they’re the cause of the problem. In short, they need you more than ever. Do your best to prioritize them. Reassure them and allow them to talk about their feelings but don’t force it. 

3. Make the most of mediation. First of all, child custody mediation is mandatory in California.

That’s a good thing because it may help you to jumpstart a productive dialogue between you and your ex, two people who probably do not want to talk to each other. And if the child custody mediation attorney can guide you to a slightly more cooperative/less adversarial tone, you might be able to arrive at decisions beyond child custody. And one more thing, a word of warning: if you can’t arrive at a consensus as to what’s best for your child, the judge will do it for you. 

4. Don’t let your child custody lawyer blow up your case.

How many times have I seen this in mediation: a couple is getting close to finishing an agreement, but opposing counsel is exclusively focused on winning, even winning big. As a result, the best interest of the children post-divorce is undervalued. If you feel that your child custody attorney is not focused on the best interest of your children, consult with another attorney. 

5. Do consider therapy for all of you.

Divorce is a seismic event for a family and everyone in it. And everyone needs a safe space to talk about it. If you don’t have a relationship with a therapist for yourself, or a child or family therapist for your children who you trust, ask your child custody attorney for a recommendation. Therapy is one of the best investments you can make in yours and your children’s future. And btw, though you might not be the best one to suggest it, your ex could probably use a therapist, too

Are you looking for a highly skilled child custody attorney? 

If you or someone you love is headed for divorce, learn more about how an experienced divorce and child custody lawyer can best represent you and your values. Call us now at 650.343.3486 to schedule your first consultation with us. If you’d prefer, you can email us to set up your appointment. If we miss your call, we will respond promptly and call you back as soon as possible. 

Laughlin Legal Family Law Group
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