For parents who are facing divorce and custody arrangements, it helps to have a level-headed attorney who focuses on mediation and collaboration rather than contentious courtroom battles. Not that battles aren't always necessary, but finding a problem-solver who has the best interest of children in mind is generally a good idea.
James Lombardino of Lombardino & Associates is a Houston attorney who specializes in areas we single parents may be all too familiar with: Divorce, child custody, modification, appeals, visitation, paternity, division of property, father's rights, and, perhaps most importantly, mediation.
He is also a candidate for judge in the 308th District Family Court, with an interesting page on his campaign website: The Ten Rules for Putting Children First. These rules were adopted from Ann Landers in her January 3, 1999 column (exactly 11 years ago to the day) and are as pertinent now as they were then.
As a tribute on the anniversary of Ann Lander's sage advice and to mediation in general, here are 'The Rules'.
The Ten Rules for Putting Children First
* Never disparage your former spouse in front of your children. Because children know they are "part Mom" and "part Dad," the criticism can batter the child's self-esteem.
* Do not use your children as messengers between you and your former spouse. The less the children feel a part of the battle between their parents, the better.
* Reassure your children that they are loved and that the divorce is not their fault.
* Unless your former spouse was a molester, encourage your children to spend time with him or her. Do everything you can to accommodate the visitation.
* At every step during your divorce, remind yourself that your children's interests, not yours, are paramount, and act accordingly.
* Resist the temptation to let your children act as your caretakers. Let your peers, adult family members and mental health professionals be your counselors and sounding boards.
* If you have a drinking or drug problem, get counseling right away. An impairment inhibits your ability to reassure your children and give them the attention they need at this difficult time.
* If you are the non-custodial parent, pay your child support. The loss of income facing many children after divorce puts them at a disadvantage that has a pervasive effect on the rest of their lives.
* If you are the custodial parent and are not receiving child support, do not complain to your children. It feeds into their sense of abandonment and further erodes their stability.
* If at all possible, do not uproot your children. Stability in their residence and school life helps buffer children from the trauma of their parents' divorce.
If you find yourself facing a family crisis involving separation and divorce, consider referring to the following articles. Not everything will fit your particular situation, but these handy and timely pieces may help give you some perspective.
- The Gosselins and collaborative divorce, nesting
- Parenting coordination, collaborative law, divorce, and mental health
- Janine Godwin helps organize single parents
- Brenda Z. Page and the single parent at work
- Help! Mom! Radicals are Ruining my Country by Katharine DeBrecht
- Conservative books for children by Katharine DeBrecht
- Katy Mommy Patriots at Spring Creek BBQ
- Susan G. Komen explains links to Planned Parenthood
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