Published: Wed May 09 2018

While we certainly shouldnÂ’t need a reason to look out for the welfare of children, the American Legion has been doing just that since 1938 when April was designated "Children & Youth Month".

And, one Miami-based organization applauds the efforts of this well-known organization for promoting its annual theme – "Children….Our most precious national resource".

"Frequently, the welfare of children is overlooked when it comes to divorce," said Allison Hockman, President of the Collaborative Family Law Institute, ( an organization that brings civility, a focus on mutual outcomes, and a concern for children in divorce proceedings. "Divorce can become vicious and children are often placed in the middle and used as bargaining chips in the process.

"The situation can result in long-lasting psychological and developmental problems. One of our goals is to prevent this and to work toward preserving the family unit after the divorce."

Based in Miami, this organization offers a voluntary process in which couples, with the assistance of collaboratively-trained professionals, work toward reaching a settlement on fair and equitable terms without the financial and emotional cost that often accompanies litigation. Through the Collaborative Process, the parties choose to resolve the issues in their dissolution in a mutually beneficial way, outside of the court system. In a Collaborative Divorce, the parties are empowered to make their own decisions and customize the terms of an agreement based upon their particular needs and interests.
In addition to focusing on the emotional well-being of children, the American Legion also promotes issues such as immunizations, school nutrition, drug prevention, and others.

"The American Legion has a long history of looking out for children, and the organization should be commended," said Jerome Poliacoff, PhD., a mental health professional with the Collaborative Family Law Institute. "This concern today is perhaps more relevant than ever because the divorce rate exceeds 50 percent, and many of these couples have children. While it seems that divorce may be inevitable, the damage it causes to children is not.

"The process we implement focuses on the children and other issues related to having a civil divorce."
At the core of the collaborative divorce process is a team of lawyers, financial consultants, and mental health professionals. In addition to structuring an equitable and fair settlement, the team helps the parties to develop a post-divorce family plan that focuses on protecting children from the effects of a nasty divorce. The collaborative practice helps reset the dialogue, resulting in parents being able to co-parent in the future.

The collaborative process is a distinct departure from the more traditional strategies that include:

1.Do-It-Yourself with the local clerk of the courts
2.Litigation which is built on protecting the interests of one spouse while ignoring the otherÂ’s needs
3.Mediation, a divorce process as a step in litigated, collaborative or do-it-yourself divorce

"The family-friendly process is more peaceful and private," added Poliacoff. "It allows parents to partner in the upbringing of their children. The bottom line is that they treat each other with respect while acknowledging that they shouldnÂ’t be married."

The advantages of a collaborative divorce include:

ï‚·Control of outcomes
ï‚·Better use of resources (money, time, energy)

"There is a better way to divorce," added Hockman. "We hope more families consider this alternative which can prevent emotional and financial ruin."
Contact Name: Allison Hockman
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