Focus on the Kids: Georgetown attorney offers tips on sparing children the battle of divorce
Who is looking out for the children?
It’s a question family law attorney Kim DeBonte has long pondered. The founder of the Law Office of Kim DeBonte in Georgetown has seen too many divorce cases turn vicious as dueling parents fight, leaving their kids trapped in the middle.
Since 2004, the staff at the Law Office of Kim DeBonte has developed a passion for resolving emotionally charged issues that affect Delaware families. The firm offers potential clients the same resources as many large firms, without sacrificing the personalized focus and availability of a small hometown office. When parents, intent on hurting each other, neglect to consider how their actions will affect their children, the court often turns into a battleground with a single referee.
DeBonte said divorcing parenting should pursue various options to reduce litigation. Parenting coordinators, for instance, are professionals skilled in conflict resolution that will work with parents to resolve a dispute. Their goal is to develop a rapport with both parents and teach then how to resolve future disputes.
The Parenting Coordination Council of Delaware recently was created to provide services to Delaware families. The Council is comprised of mental health professionals and family lawyers who have extensive experience in resolving conflicts.
Experts agree that divorcing parents must better communicate with each other.
“When parents are communicating and getting along and putting the kids first, the kids are more likely to thrive and do better,” said Peter Salem, executive director of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, a group of judges, mediators and attorneys involved in the resolution of family conflict.
DeBonte offers other suggestions to reduce the stress of divorce on children:
Resolve to approach mediation with an open mind. If you’re open to the process, mediation can help you find a solution that works for the entire family.
Develop a realistic proposal. Go to mediation prepared with a proposal that truly has the child’s best interests in mind.
Be cooperative during litigation. Some people feel that an effective attorney must be uncooperative with opposing counsel by failing to disclose information, holding back important documents or making it difficult to set hearing and deposition dates. That approach is unprofessional and will only cost more money. The law demands that both sides provide relevant documentation in a timely manner.
Look for creative solutions to improve communication. For instance, Web sites such as www.UpToParents.org, for parents who were married, and www.ProudToParent.org, for those who never married, offer a chance to communicate in a nonintrusive way.
Encourage your child to develop a good relationship with both parents. Remember that the child has not divorced the parents; they still need the support of both adults.
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