Family law courts only address the legal divorce without dealing with the concurrent emotional, financial and educational needs of families in the process of divorce. Moreover, the legal divorce is conducted in an adversarial system which, by its structure (though not its intent) increases conflict. Because divorce has been identified as one of life’s major stressors (an Adverse Childhood Experience or ACE), with long-term impact on children of divorce, this systemic flaw is particularly problematic. For individuals, families and society as whole. An non-adversarial approach can help mitigate the trauma but most CDR services are unavailable, unaffordable or unknown to the majority of divorcing families. The panelists have formed a non-profit organization called HEALTHY Divorce) to offer one option for addressing the need for a way to navigate the legal system in a non-adversarial way and provide other important services. This program has been set up as a pilot project of the Los Angeles Superior Courts family law departments and is offered to persons of modest means who are willing to mediate their divorces through this program.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe the way that Family Court system procedures increase the likelihood of Adverse Childhood Experiences and the impact on the outcomes for children of divorce.
  • Participants will be able to identify the panoply of needs which must be addressed for a better outcome for divorcing parents and their children in addition to obtaining a judgment from the court.
  • Participants will be able to identify roadblocks to establishing better systems to help divorcing families in the current court system.
  • Participants will be able to use HEALTHY Divorce as a model and a resource for creating a program in their own community.