Remember the Children – They Are Priority #1 at All Times!

One out of every two couples marrying will be divorced within ten years, and more than one million children will be affected by divorce in each year. Half of them will grow up in families where parents stay angry at one another. Three in five children will feel rejected by at least one of their parents.

Seventy percent of all children have spent time in a single parent family. Children bear the emotional brunt of divorce, but, too often, the parents are so focused on their own problems that the needs of their kids are given short shrift. Children caught in the middle are helpless, and at the mercy of their parents.

To try to ease the transition for the children, courts and social service agencies in Summit County designed “Remember the Children.” Every Summit County divorcing parent will participate in this program under an Order granted by the Court as a part of the package of temporary orders given at the couple’s first preliminary hearing. This means that couples who have not yet filed for divorce are welcome to attend the class, to get a feel for what lies ahead.

The program was started in 1991 by the Akron Child Guidance Center Women’s Board and the Summit County Domestic Relations Court, making it one of the first of its kind in the state. Consisting of one three hour seminar, Remember the Children is designed to help parents understand the impact of divorce on their children, and to help the parents focus on the needs of their children through this period of their lives. The seminar is free, and must be attended by divorcing couples with children within sixty days of the filing of the divorce. It is given on the first Wednesday of the month, the second Thursday of the month, and the third Saturday of the month.

Seminar topics include the role of the courts and the legal options available to the participants, visitation issues, parenting roles, communication skills, and ways to effectively deal with the changes and emotions that come as a result of divorce, especially how negative interaction between the parents can cause emotional harm to the children.

The seminar is conducted by social workers, individuals from the community, and Domestic Court employees. It is accompanied by a lengthy collection of documents, including a 31 page pamphlet, community services resource guide, statutory references, and a seminar evaluation form. Also included is the “Children’s Bill of Rights in Divorce,” which is the foundation of these kinds of programs.

After a divorce, the parents may no longer be spouses, but they will always be parents.  The emphasis of the program is the developmental needs of the children. After the program begins with a presentation about the general welfare of the children, they divide the parents into groups by the ages of the children ages six and under, ages 7 to twelve, and older than twelve. Not only are there normal developmental stages for children in general, there are also normal developmental stages for children going through a divorce, and the parents are told about these stages in their children’s lives.

The program is oriented toward de-emphasizing the “stuff” –material possessions of the couple– and toward talking about their behavior and how it might affect the children, emphasizing different communication styles.

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Children’s Bill of Rights in Divorce

1. The right to be treated as a person and not as a pawn or possession.

2. The right to get emotional support from both parents.

3. The right to spend time with each parent.

4. The right to avoid being caught in the middle.

5. The right to avoid painful games parents play to hurt each other.

6. The right to love each parent, without feeling disloyal or guilty.

7. The right to express feelings about divorce, such as anger, sadness or fear.

8. The right to remain a child, without being asked to take on parental responsibilities.

9. The right to know they didn’t cause the divorce.

10. The right to the best financial support that can be provided by both parents.

To learn more about children and divorce, please visit http://www.dissolutionanddivorce.com

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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