Revolutionary “Divorce Program” in Maryland Puts Children First

Revolutionary “Divorce Program” in Maryland Puts Children First The divorce process can take an emotional toll on the entire family. Depending on the age of your children, they may not know how to communicate their feelings in a healthy manner, which can make the process even more difficult.

Fortunately, there is a revolutionary court process that can make the process easier for children and parents. A family court in Maryland is using a new program to help reduce future conflicts with families in divorce.

A new program in Cecil County, Maryland has allowed children to express themselves freely about their parents’ divorce. This program was created by Retired Judge Jane Cairns Murray and Nolanda Robert, Family Support Services Coordinator. Children are taken to a private room in the courthouse and able to speak with either the judge or Robert in what comes across as a modified deposition.

The interviewer tells the child that an important person is eager to hear their opinions. The interviewer informs the child that their conversation will be recorded but that they have complete control of when the conversation will stop.

If they feel distressed, the interviewer promises to stop the recording and summarize the conversation to their parents. The interviewer also promises to practice discretion if the child doesn’t want their parents to hear something.

Transparency happens at every step of the conversation. The interviewer tells the child that while they should express themselves as they would for a Christmas present, not all of their wishes will come true.

Setting a child at ease

The interviewer does everything in their power to make sure that the child is relaxed throughout the process. If the child seems afraid or nervous, the interviewer can provide a coloring book or wear a crown and magic wand.

As the child is relaxed, the interviewer introduces a set of structured questions about the child’s home life. Some of the questions will be catered to the child’s age and mention issues like the child’s preferred custody schedule. The interviewer may even suggest imagined scenarios and ask the child if that is a reasonable wish that they would like.

How this approach benefits children

This approach empowers the children of a divorce to speak their minds freely. Sometimes children can feel like pawns in a divorce. Parents may feel the need to manipulate their children’s words and actions through nonverbal cues.

Parents can express disappointment in their children’s answers by their facial expressions. Children can feel as if they’ve betrayed their parents and carry those feelings for years. This approach allows children to express themselves without feeling the need to take anyone’s side. Because their parents aren’t present, children can share how they truly feel about the separation process. This makes it easier for all parties involved to learn what the children really want.

Providing a calm and empowering environment

This approach also empowers children by providing a calm and stress-free environment. The children are able to be truthful once their guards are down. Being listened to freely is also fun for children. Children between the ages of 4 and 9 are found to be less biased and less likely to be easily manipulated.

Getting to know the children’s best interests

What better way to find out a child’s needs than ask them? It’s common for spouses to believe that only they know what is best for their child. They may even see the other parent as the enemy at times.

Listening to their children’s interviews allows parents to learn about their children’s needs uncensored. In some cases, the parents are learning for the first time how their children truly feel and what they want.

This approach keeps the children’s interests as the focal point. It’s a creative and authentic way for children to share their true feelings about their parents’ divorce. The approach also makes it easier for parents to actually listen to their children. Divorce can cause spouses to experience a range of different emotions.

These emotions may prevent parents from empathizing with their children and listening to their needs. This revolutionary approach helps parents become better at listening to their children and making the divorce process easier for all involved.

Potential challenges of this revolutionary divorce court

As terrific as this approach may seem, there are some potential challenges that may come with it. This approach can only be successful if all parties involved want it to work. Not every couple can put their selfishness to the side and put their children’s best interests at heart. It is probably not suited for couples who struggle with addiction, or if one parent is abusive.

Another potential challenge to this approach is the judge’s discretion. Judges have discretion in all child custody arrangements. This means that they can weigh what type of evidence will be considered.

Although the judge is also interested in what’s best for the child, they may view different forms of evidence differently. Even though the child may want to live with one parent, the judge may use other factors to consider whether that parent is eligible for custody.

Children are advised that not all of their wishes will be met in the process. Some judges may not even consider the opinions of the children before making a final decision.

How a strong, Fulton divorce attorney can help you

Determining legal custody is one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. You and your spouse need a sympathetic and neutral party that can help with custody agreements.

Setting up the best parenting plan for your children can help make the divorce process easier for your entire family. At McCabe Russell, PA, we have the skills and resources necessary to fight for your rights in and out of court.

To help receive the best outcome for you and your child, speak with a Fulton divorce lawyer at McCabe Russell today. We maintain additional offices in Bethesda, Rockville, and Columbia. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a consultation.