Understanding Your True Challenge

Quick Help for Families in Transition

A handy guide for all separated and divorced parents

A Note to Families with a History of Domestic Violence

Guidance, including on using this website, when there has been violence against a parent or child.

3 Girls' Invisible Pain

Lessons from These 3 Girls

  1. Kids need and want some simple things, like courteous communication between their parents.
  2. No matter how small the topic (birthdays, holidays, pickups, etc.), parent fights leave kids badly hurt.
  3. Kids don't want one parent to win the fight; kids want one parent to stop the fight.
  4. Kids almost never care about the things we parents are fighting about; they just want the fights to stop.
  5. When parents fight, kids' real needs can become invisible.
  6. Kids experience attacks between their parents as attacks on them.
  7. Parent fights can force kids to try to resolve adult issues - and to blame themselves when they fail.

What Must I Give Up to Succeed?

The one huge price you must pay to succeed.

Finishing Your Grieving: A Key to Life After Divorce

Divorce represents the death of a marriage and all the hopes and dreams that went into it. And the death of a marriage, like any death, requires a grieving process for healing.

Yeah, But You Don't Know My Co-Parent!

How your peaceful leadership can make all the difference.

A Daughter Speaks about Survival

A daughter talks about what hurt—and what helped

  • Parents' separation leaves almost all children feeling confused, worried, and deeply sad.
  • In even the best of circumstances, divorce fills a child's life with many painful losses.
  • Children rarely show all their hurt over not having their parents together.
  • Children can't fix their families; they deserve at least to have parents interacting peacefullly and courteously.
  • By the way they act and speak, separated parents can either dramatically worsen or dramatically lighten their children's losses.

10 Clear Thoughts--Just When You May Need Them Most

Much better ways to see your challenge

Spare the Child

A fantastic collection of experts' wisdom from The Family Law Section of the Virginia Bar Association

12 Thoughts of Children Caught in Conflict

Thoughts that can hurt your children and hold them back

Finishing Your Grieving

A key to life after divorce.

"What Matters" by Kevin

A young man's painful recollections (short personal essay)

"Let Me Ask--This One Time" by Jessica

A 17-year-old girl's plea to her parents (short personal essay)

The Loyalists

A special perspective on children's fear and grief (short essay)

Better Use of Your Energies

Some things to do instead of battling.

America's Favorite Form of Child Abuse

Exposing the most commonly tolerated form of child abuse in America

  • Society has stopped approving of many child-hurtful things that it once tolerated.
  • Isn't it now time for society to disapprove of the interparental conflict and disrespect that hurt children?

Cigarettes, Seatbelts, and Separations

The coming view of parent conflict: not right, not sexy, not defensible

  • Given the uniformity of the research on the serious harm caused by parent conflict, shouldn't the social expectation of divorce fighting be discarded?
  • Shouldn't it be replaced with a new social expectation, one of peace and respectful interaction between separated parents?
  • And don't onlookers (family, friends, and professionals) have a duty to build peace rather than more discord?

The Problem Is the Problem

How parents succeed by attacking the issue, not each other

  • Separated parents should remember what they knew when they were happily married: parenting challenges must be met as a team.
  • Separated patents do best by being:
    1. Cooperative
    2. Communicative
    3. Flexible
    4. Respectful

What Must I Give Up to Succeed?

The one huge price you must pay to succeed.

Your Chance to Reclaim Power over Your Life

The most helpless time in my life—or is it?

“Pain is never permanent. Only its lessons can be forever.  Joy always comes after pain.”
—Guillaume Apollinaire

9 Myths That Fool Almost Everyone

Folklore you must discard to succeed

  1. “It's a competition.”
  2. “We have legal problems.”
  3. “We have a custody dispute.”
  4. “If we don't solve the problem, we'll get the judge to.”
  5. “This is complicated and need to be handled by experts.”
  6. “But to protect my children, I must fight.”
  7. “If I focus on my children, I won't be helping myself.”
  8. “I'm not sad, just mad.”
  9. “We'll have no relationship.”

Click HERE for “Quick Help For Parents In Transition”

The Relationship Wheel

Creating a new relationship

Its Six Lessons

  1. When relationships change, they tend to do so in a predictable pattern.
  2. Business Relationships are the only ones that run primarily on rules.
  3. In successful separations, people move from Negative Intimacies to Business Relationships.
  4. Success can come from thinknig about how Business Relationships work.
  5. There's nothing about a failed Intimate Relationship that means parents can't succeed in their Business Relationship.
  6. Give yourself and your co-parent credit; it takes some time.

Click HERE for printable version.

Putting That Understanding to Work Today

Quick Help for Families in Transition

A handy guide for all separated and divorced parents

Sample Work from UpToParents.org

The Commitments in English and Spanish

Admiring Children to Save Children

Nine vaccines against children's failure (short list)

Better Use of Your Energies

Some things to do instead of battling.

Nix Six/Fix Six

Pocket Guide to Co-Parenting Success

Child Safety Zone Pledge

The simple reason your children need never see or hear a fight.

Fun Helps Everyone

New ideas for fun with children (short list)

Helping Children to Grieve Separation and Divorce

10 ways you can help your child to grieve a separation or divorce.

The Humane Separation

Doing Well from Day One

14 quick lessons in making separation more survivable

Click HERE for “The Humane Separation Checklist.”
  1. Slow down.
  2. Use the right kind of help.
  3. Use UpToParents.org.
  4. Be good educators.
  5. Make it about the kids.
  6. Plan the children's talk.
  7. Forgive mistakes.
  8. Don't overuse law.
  9. Protect separation day.
  10. Protect family times.
  11. Agree on your interaction.
  12. Resolve budget issues/spend less.
  13. Agree on what to tell others.
  14. Solve—and avoid—problems.

The Child Safety Zone

A vital gift extended to some children, but pointlessly denied to others

  • No children of divorce need to be forced to see or hear any parent conflict.
  • Other children enjoy the gift of consistent courtesy between their parents —shouldn't yours?

Click HERE for a Sample Child Safety Zone document.

Winning by Being a Friend to Their Relationship

How parents win through support, not competition

  • Divorced parents do not need to be friends with each other.
  • But a successful parent must be a friend to the children's relationship with the other parent.
  • Help solve any problems between your children and their other parent.
  • Make it obvious you're a friend to their relationship.
  • Click for specific ideas on this topic.

Constructive Separations Using NoDivorceToday.org

How a Planned Separation Can Keep Options Open

A guide on keeping reconciliation options open

  • Separaion without a plan is destined to produce disappointments.
  • You may be able to help yourself by using WhileWeHeal.org.
  • Consider using the NoDivorceToday.org Intake
  • Try not to imagine an emergency if one doesn't exist.

8 Hidden Keys No One Has Told You About

Heroic Steps You can Take—on Your Own, for Free, and Right Away.

  1. Observe the Child Safety Zone.
  2. Keep children out of adult roles.
  3. Use 10 good memories about your co-parent.
  4. Celebrate what your children do with their other parent.
  5. Encourage your children to call their other parent.
  6. Promptly share all important child information.
  7. Stay out of legal combat.
  8. Enjoy and admire your children.

Admiring Them by Admiring Their Other Parent

A psychologist's view of maybe the single most powerful step forward a parent can take

“To a child's ear, any comment about his parent—positive or negative—is a judgement of him.”

—M. Gary Neuman, Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce, p. 202.

Is It a Problem or an Opportunity?

A psychologist's encouragement to see opportunities every day

Inviting in Your Co-Parent

Quick Help for Families in Transition

A handy guide for all separated and divorced parents

Bonnie & Ross

A young couple's journey to making their son their priority.

A Note to Families with a History of Domestic Violence

Guidance, including on using this website, when there has been violence against a parent or child.

A Parenting Plan Worksheet

A map for co-parent success

What Exactly Is Joint Legal Custody?

A judge's explanation of a vital, but often misunderstood idea.

Words Matter

Some helpful words between co-parents.

A Final Vow

Words from a caring father (short personal essay)

Joint Legal Custody Handout

In Joint Legal Custody, separated and divorced parents make the major decisions concerning their children's upbringing in the same cooperative way that happily married parents do.

Yeah, But You Don't Know My Co-Parent!

How your peaceful leadership can make all the difference.

The Dangerous Subjectivity of Divorce

A psychologist's caution to remember that parents must be a team despite inevitable different vantages

The Law, You, and Your Family

Quick Help for Families in Transition

A handy guide for all separated and divorced parents

A Judge's View on What Happens to Litigating Parents

An experienced judge's caution on how litigation actually affects parents and parenting.

Some Common Effects of Litigation

An experienced judge's warning about what litigation actually does to parents and children

  • Litigation can be necessary in cases like domestic violence, active drug abuse, or serious mental illness.
  • But otherwise, the harm from litigation may far outweigh any hoped-for benefits.
  • Counseling, mediation, or simple courteous discussion are often better alternatives.

Click HERE for “Some Common Effects of Unnecessary Family Litigation,” a list of litigation's common effects on parents and children.

How Do Divorce Lawyers Divorce?

An inside lesson from copying how lawyers handle their own divorces.

Stacy Prall: Attorney, Parent, and Voice for UpToParents.org

An attorney describes what UpToParents meant in her own divorce—and can mean for others.

Rely on Your Legal Rights – Or Should You?

Some ways that asserting your rights can badly hurt you and your children

  • Obviously healthy children cannot be raised on a minimum of love, nurturance, or admiration.
  • Yet, without realizing it, parents relying on their legal rights are insisting on doing the bare minimum for their children.
  • Children's needs actually skyrocket when their parents separate—how can they succeed if parents compete to do less for them?

Who Do Those Judges Think They Are?

A judge's eye-opening response to those who criticize him

  • Except in cases like domestic violence that call for judicial control, almost never can a good decision come from a judge.
  • Judges can merely pick from the bad alternatives available in the midst of parent conflict.
  • Only parents can build better alternatives.

Na Na Na Boo Boo

A view of the maturity in most family litigation

  • “That's not fair to me!”
  • “I'm telling!”
  • “He started it!”
  • “I'm not going to be your friend!”
  • “Your're not the boss of me!”
  • “Na Na Na Boo Boo”
  • “Get off my property!”

3 Uncommonly Effective Judicial Decisions

Three bizarre decisions, three good outcomes, and one important conclusion

  • Is a carefully resoned judicial decision really a good way to solve family issues?
  • Why are so many families worse off for getting a carefully reasoned judicial decision?
  • And why are families in these three telling cases so much better off, even when they system seemingly failed them?

Family Attorneys' Pledge of Cooperation

Learn clearer thinking from these more caring attorneys

Why Court Rarely Helps

5 reasons to think twice before turning to law

  1. Court is inherently adversarial.
  2. Judges can give rulings but not solutions.
  3. Use of court invites all the wrong questions.
  4. The law is all about pathetic minimums.
  5. Litigation displaces better alternatives.

Choosing an Excellent Family Attorney

9 things you may hear from that lawyer

  1. “Are you interested in saving your marriage?”
  2. “Most of what can help you is up to you.”
  3. “You might be better off if I do less, so work to keep my fees as low as possible.”
  4. “Let's put your wishes aside for the moment; tell me what you think your children need.”
  5. “Divorce is about winning with your spouse, not over your spouse.”
  6. “Custody evaluations can be dangerously bad ideas—as bad as trials.”
  7. “Tell me what's really good about your spouse—and your spouse's parenting..”
  8. “If you can do so safely, you should speak with and cooperate with your spouse/co-parent.”
  9. “What do you think your spouse needs?”

Click HERE for an in-depth article.

Beware Custody Evaluations

6 reasons to be very careful

  1. Evaluations can be extremely expensive—just when you need your resources elsewhere.
  2. Evaluations, even if they were cheap and accurate, would likely be of no benefit.
  3. Evaluations lack any showing of validity.
  4. Evaluations can be highly biased and full of errors.
  5. Evaluations can be devastating to children and family relationships.
  6. Evaluations displace alternatives that can actually help families.

Click HERE to read “Custody Evaluations: The Overlooked Harm to Clients, Children, and Families”

Parents' Introduction to Mediation and UpToParents

Mediation can help you chart a path to a better future.

Good website preparation will help dramatically:

  • UpToPaents.org—for divorcing and divorced parents.
  • ProudToParent.org—for never-married parents.

Both websites are completely free and confidential.

Almost always, parents' interests are served best when they focus on building peace for their children.

Click for a copy of our Intake for Parents in Divorce and Paternity Cases.”

Click for Quick Help for Families in Transition.”

A Psychologist's Caution about Unnecessary Litigation and Custody Evaluations

Remembering to define professionals' responses by families' actual needs

Interested in Saving Your Marriage?

Quick Help for Families in Transition

A handy guide for all separated and divorced parents

The No-Divorce-Today Option

Keeping Open an Important Door

Special Resources and Insights

Quick Help for Families in Transition

A handy guide for all separated and divorced parents

A Note to Families with a History of Domestic Violence

Guidance, including on using this website, when there has been violence against a parent or child.

Divorce and the Very Young Child

Young children are more aware than we realize.

Divorce and Older Children

Their family will always matter to them.

Parent Transition Test

See how you are doing

3 Thoughts That Lead to Failure

3 Thoughts Banished by the Successful Parent

3 thoughts to intercept early:

  1. “My children get what they need if I get what I want.”
  2. “This is too hard—I give up.”
  3. “My co-parent isn't doing what he/she is supposed to.”

Don't lose sight of the way forward: meeting your children's needs.

Grandparents Can Help

Keeping grandparents involved--helpfully.

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