Thursday, December 31, 2009

We Assume a Rational World

Kimberly A. Kick, LCSW

We assume a rational world. One in which most people, most of the time, will do the “right thing”. It is frustrating and discouraging when the person you once loved, someone you chose to build a family with, betrays the trust you put in them. This can be the experience during and after a divorce has occurred. The parent who is supposed to pay child support and doesn’t. The parent who misses visitations or is continuously late. The parent who doesn’t stop themselves from involving the children in what should be considered “adult” topics of conversation. The parent who stops parenting after the divorce due to their own pain and depression, and the parent who uses the children as their support system and personal sounding board.

What is the parent who is trying to do the right thing supposed to do when faced with any or all of the above situations? What supports exist in our society to protect the children from the fallout of divorce? What recourse does a person have when the ex-partner refuses to act in a rational, mature manner?

There are no quick fix answers to any of these questions. Each divorce in unique and a “one size fits all” answer doesn’t exist. Keeping this in mind, there are some things a parent can do to minimize the irresponsibility the other parent exhibits. My first suggestion is DON’T lie or cover for the other parent. The children are going to have to figure out their relationship with both parents and cannot do this if they are being presented with misinformation. The parent also should not highlight or dwell on the irresponsible behavior of the other parent by engaging in talking negatively about them.

Try to role model for your children the types of behaviors you want them to exhibit as they grow into adulthood. If you are yelling at them, you are teaching them to yell. If you complain all the time, you are teaching them to complain. Try to show your children the way you want them to act by modeling that behavior. If your ex-partner misses visitation, be there for your children to let them talk about how they feel while letting them know that a parent shouldn’t act that way.

Tell me your experiences and what has worked or not worked so well.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Obstacles to easing divorce communications

Kimberly A. Kick, LCSW

As a therapist who has been working with couples, families, and children of divorce for over 23 years, one thing has become quite clear when couples experience conflict – the desire to not cooperate with anything your ex-partner wants. This presents a problem when children are involved. Parents must remember, it isn’t only the marriage that is breaking up; it is also the structure of the family unit. The children will mourn the loss of having both parents available to them under the same roof.

What can you do? One of the most basic recommendations, repeated over and over again, is to avoid involving the children in the divorce. This means not using them to communicate with your ex-partner, not telling them the issues you have with your ex-partner, and not making them feel as though they have to choose one parent over the other. Easily said, hard to put into practice when emotions run high. The need to prove that you are right and your ex-partner is wrong can override logic and doing the right thing.

I believe this is where couples should seek to distance themselves from direct communication with each other. Think about it, you are never going to get your ex-partner to see the situation exactly as you do, just as you don’t see the situation as they do. It seems we get ourselves into a vicious, hopeless cycle of trying to prove “I’m right, you’re wrong”. This only exacerbates an already difficult situation.

The dilemma may become getting your ex-partner to agree to a divorce communication tool like All About The Children. There is no doubt that communicating via an objective communication tool will reduce the negative emotions one experiences when hearing a certain tone of voice, or the back and forth arguing that can occur over the phone. It will also help keep an accurate, objective record of what has transpired, which is a huge benefit to both parties.

So how can you get both parents to agree to use All About The Children? One suggestion is to point out that using a divorce communication tool will help both parents with scheduling, communications, and financial matters. It can serve as a protective device for all parties involved. If this doesn’t work, unfortunately some parties will have to go to court and ask the judge to order it. Once done, life will become easier and the children will benefit immensely from not being put in the middle.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Holidays and divorce

Holidays and divorce can be tough on the parents and the children. How has the divorce effected your holidays? Has it become easier or harder as the years have gone on? Tell us what you think and share your thoughts.

Google Trends Divorce

Google Trends provides insights into broad search patterns. You input a term and it shows you how much the term has been searched on a given day. I checked divorce and the peak for 2009 was Jon and Kate plus divorce on June 24th. If there is a Tiger Wood’s divorce it will probably top this. For 2009 it was A-Rod’s wife filling for divorce. You can see the graph for 2009 at
Not surprisingly for the word marriage, gay marriage tops the list for most recent years.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM(162) 12/26/09

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Divorce Etiquette

Is divorce Etiquette and oxymoron along with military intelligence? Apparently not. There is even a book called Divorce Etiquette by Monique DeVere. The cover of the book is a little to racy to show here. As usual I Googled it and found which provides help, advice and community for people contemplating, going through or recovering from divorce and the issues around it, including separation, divorce laws, spousal support and emotional issues. Their web site about divorce Etiquette is It discusses issues like How do you tell people about your divorce? Should you send "divorce announcements" saying you are no longer married? How do you update your personal information without being rude? We mark marriages, births. We do not mark divorces. Why? Should we have divorce rituals? If so, what should they be? Should friends and family send divorce cards? What about maiden name changes? Should you announce these? What about etiquette for divorce parties in which you're invited and asked to bring a gift, like an engagement party? I am sure there are thousands of more questions? Do you have any questions or even better yet answers?
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM(161) 12/19/09

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Ron Lieber and Divorce

The New York Times is my favorite newspaper and I read it every day. I have been following the recent articles about divorce by Ron Lieber. The articles give very good practical advice. I recommend that you read them and follow Ron Lieber’s latest articles. You can go to this link to see more about Ron Lieber and his articles.

The articles I have recently read and their links include the following:

Money Talks to Have Before Marriage
Published: October 23, 2009

Financial Decisions to Make as You Divorce
Divorcing couples often don’t think of all the financial problems that can arrive after the split. Here’s a list of issues to discuss before the paperwork is final.
Published: November 14, 2009

Experienced in Love and Money
Some advice from those with firsthand experience of divorce may help you avoid the financial pitfalls of a split.
Published: November 21, 2009

Bucks: How to Pick a Divorce Lawyer
Readers weigh in on the best way to pick a divorce lawyer.
Published: November 20, 2009

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM(160) 12/08/09

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Stereotyping Children of Divorce

Written By: Kimberly A. Kick, LCSW
Numerous articles have been written about divorce, the effects of divorce, and how children of divorce are at a disadvantage. The problem with some of the research that has been conducted on divorced children was that extraneous variables weren’t always considered. For example, in research citing that children of divorce are less likely to perform as well academically as their peers who are from intact families, no consideration was given to whether or not the child was performing poorly due to the divorce, or due to arguing and fighting that was still occurring between the parents. It would also be beneficial to see if these were children who had a history of poor academic performance prior to the divorce.

Putting children in the middle can contribute significantly to their lack of adjustment post divorce. Seemingly innocuous events can make a child feel uncomfortable. One example of this is giving the child money to give to the other parent. In my practice as a therapist, numerous youth and young adults who experienced the divorce of their parents stated that events such as this made them feel very uncomfortable. Sometimes parents will ask a child to call the other parent and tell them that they owe money, have to pick them up, or have missed visitation. This is another situation where the child has been put in the middle of a situation that the adults should handle on their own. It leads to the child feeling bad about themselves, uncomfortable, and not sure how to act. This may be one of the extaneous variables that contributes to these children performing poorly in other areas of their lives.

The lasting effects of adding undue pressure and assigning a new role to the children post divorce (as communicator with the ex-partner) is something that should be avoided. Using an objective communication device like All About The Children, can help eliminate the impulse to use the child to communicate with an ex-partner. Divorce research needs to occur with children of parents who use a communication tool, rather than the children to communicate with each other, then, perhaps, the data won’t be as skewed in favor of children from intact couples.

Divorce Cakes

As promised in a previous blog, I am following up on Divorce Cakes. The following web site says it all. Check it out.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM(159) 12/1/09