Mike and Alyssa have 3 young boys, 6, 4, and 2 year olds. Married for 7 years, they got pregnant on their honeymoon. Mike and Alyssa realized that they had some serious differences in communication styles, and approaches to life. These differences soon created a gulf between them, and after a year of therapy, Alyssa decided that it was no longer viable for her to remain in the marriage.
As many young and progressive people do, Alyssa did her research and learned about Collaborative Divorce. She interviewed and retained a collaboratively trained attorney, and Mike was willing to do the same.
I met Mike and Alyssa as a professional member of their collaborative divorce team – the Child Specialist. My role with their young family was to help Mike and Alyssa define their family structure and culture, which was the basis for their children’s current health and well being.
Mike and Alyssa had both been full time professionals, co-parenting successfully, with each responsible for a fair amount of child care. Because of this, Mike and Alyssa wanted to create a parenting schedule and allocation of parental responsibilities with shared decision making, responsibilities, and generous parenting time for each. They were not traditionalists, but wanted their children to have the experience of both parents, albeit in two homes, raising them.
With some guidance, Mike and Alyssa were able to put aside the animosity that had developed in their marital relationship and focus on their children’s needs. There were many decisions to be made in their work with me toward a parenting agreement. Once we finished the work of determining how their lives would work as co-parents after the divorce, we put it into practice.
Alyssa rented a home near the current family home, and they implemented the parenting schedule. After 3 weeks of this schedule, we noticed some discomfort for both of the parents. Their weekends were not long enough.
Due to the ages of their children, Mike and Alyssa had started off with a 2-2-2-3 schedule with the children. Though the research supported that the children, at their young ages, would benefit from frequent and brief visits with the parent they didn’t reside with full time, they were having frequent and brief visits with both parents because they didn’t reside with either full time.
After making some minor modifications on the parenting schedule, Mike and Alyssa are much more satisfied with everyone’s ability to settle into parenting time. They each have 3 solid overnights every other weekend, and 2 static overnights with the children each week. The couple decided to share decision making in all areas of importance – education, medical, religion, and extra-curricular.
They continued to check in with me for 60 days after the final prove up of their divorce, to iron out the wrinkles. I’m happy to report that things are going well for this family.