When it comes to divorce “fake news” is old news

In our current political climate,” fake news” is constantly being reported. Unfortunately, the concept of making statements of “fact” with no supporting evidence which then requires others to prove the non-existence of an alleged act

happens in other settings beside politics. The parties to a litigated divorce often find themselves in the same position. This is particularly true in child custody cases. In collaborative divorce, however, the parties’ justification for presenting “fake news” disappears leading to a better result.

In a typical litigated custody case, the key participants are counsel for both parties, an attorney for the child(ren) and a forensic psychologist. Tragically, in some of these cases one or both parties will make untrue allegations against the other party in an attempt to gain custody. Although the party making the allegation has the legal burden of proving the truth of the allegation, oftentimes the allegation itself takes on a life of its own and colors the opinions of the professionals involved and unfairly influences the trajectory of the case.

For example, if someone makes a false allegation of child abuse against the other parent, that allegation, although unproven, casts a shadow on the narrative as told by all involved and leaves the accused in the practical position of needing to prove the non-existence of the alleged act. In divorce litigation, the attorneys for each party have an agenda to advance on behalf of their clients. However, how they frame their client’s position and theory of the case has a direct impact on the attorney for the child and the forensic psychologist, both of whom will formulate their own judgments based upon their personal perspective of the “facts” being presented. Ultimately, a Judge is charged with determining the truth through the prism of individual narratives.

Every human being has a propensity to fit the facts presented into their personal judgement of what the “right thing” is and to discount other information as “fake news.” The problem with this in the context of custody litigation is that strangers making their own internal judgments of the facts as presented have the power to make determinations of how and by whom the children will be raised.

Collaborative divorce practice provides a solution that places the question of how and by whom the children will be raised into the hands of the parents, which is where it belongs. Every divorce case exists somewhere along a spectrum. On one end are the cases with straight-forward issues and parties able to resolve their matter with the assistance of a mediator. On the other end are those cases, which for a host of reasons, must be resolved by court order. In the vast majority of cases, a judicial resolution is unnecessary, but once the judicial process begins, the parties find themselves caught up in a “system” where the truth is often obscured, much to their financial and emotional detriment. In the middle, are the vast majority of cases with varying degrees of complexity and psychological functioning of the parties for which the collaborative process provides an appropriate and effective forum.

The collaborative divorce process provides support for the parties to control the resolution of their matter with the assistance of the appropriate professionals in a private setting. Attorneys, mental health and financial professionals work together to help parties going through a divorce gain control over how they restructure their financial and parenting relationship into a new family paradigm. When divorcing couples are empowered to speak for themselves and find solutions that serve the interests of all involved, there simply is no space for the distraction of “fake news.”

Spouses considering a divorce should investigate the benefits of collaborative divorce especially if they have children. To learn more about the collaborative law difference, click here.

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