I’ve worked with families of divorce for roughly 30 years, and I know that parental conflict is the single most difficult divorce-related experience for children to witness and work through. As a result, in all my work with families and attorneys and finance professionals, and my writing on the subject of divorce, I readily acknowledge my bias, and urge attention to the children, and their well-being, both in the short and the long-term, as we help the spouses move towards and through a divorce settlement.
My interest in working with children of divorce originated with my studies with Chaim Ginott in the ‘70s, with Judith Wallerstein in the’80s, and through my own practice, research, and activities through the ‘90s and to date.
I initiated 10-week groups for men and women called “New Life Transition Groups”. In these groups, we explored all of the emotional aspects of divorce, from parenting to dating, finances, career, etc. Solutions to seemingly insoluble problems often appeared.
I served Connecticut as the first Marriage and Family Therapist to accept the challenge made by Judge Joseph Steinberg in the 1980s. I chaired a statewide committee whose mission it was to educate attorneys and therapists about one another’s practice, with the primary goal of reducing acrimony in their client bases. This was intended to significantly reduce the stresses imposed on the children of divorce. AAMFT then asked me to represent them on the National Interdisciplinary Forum for Mental Health and Family Law. I subsequently held the mental health chair of this committee, attended American Bar Association meetings, and lectured nationally on the committee’s mission: to reduce acrimony during divorce and thereby benefit the Children of Divorce.
In 2004, I brought this Connecticut program to New York’s attention through NYAMFT (the New York Association for Marriage and Family Therapy), and helped develop New York’s similar program, called “L2L” (a short form of: take a Lawyer to Lunch). These programs, forerunners of Collaborative Divorce, focus on helping attorneys and mental health professionals to develop mutual trust and understanding, thereby enhancing their abilities to work effectively with their mutual clients and with one another.