Our guess is that you are very concerned about how your divorce will affect your children, which is why you are reading this book, to figure out how to be part of an uncontested divorce. Perhaps all you need to know can be clarified with this story: I was a mediator in a case not long ago where the divorced parents were fighting over an issue that, along with many others, had been an ongoing battle for more than 10 years. I thought for days about how to settle this case, but I had no idea really how to help these parents. On the day of the mediation, as I drove to the office, two questions came to mind that I needed to ask these parents:
1. What is the worst thing that ever happened to your children?
2. What is the second-worst thing that ever happened to your children?
I spoke with the father in a separate conference room and I asked him these two questions. He replied: ?The worst thing that ever happened to our children is our divorce. The second-worst thing that ever happened is the constant conflict after the divorce.? Then he added: ?I have those two things reversed.?
When I spoke with the mother, she answered: ?The worst thing that ever happened to our children has been the conflict since the divorce. The second worst thing was the divorce.?
These two wise parents knew what they had been doing to their children for more than 10 years! But they could not stop. However, on this day, they did. Once they both recognized and admitted what they had been doing to their children, they settled their ongoing issue. They knew that nothing was more important than their children, but I fear that it was too late for their kids, the damage had been done. Children who grow up in constant conflict may turn to drugs, drop out of school, become abusers or victims of abuse. Their lives may be adversely affected forever; they have been robbed of their childhood. Maybe this story will help you and your children. For the sake of your children and their future happiness, please avoid the conflict. Your interests are not the most important issue in your divorce, your children?s interests are. It really is all about them.