Bob and Sara’s marriage didn’t work. But their divorce did.
After almost 12 years of marriage, the couple attended a Helping Children Cope with Divorce seminar at Family & Children’s Services. Then, they began mediation. Notifying their 9-year-old daughter, Maggie, and actually filing for divorce came later.
Most divorcing couples don’t follow the same path Bob and Sara did. But they should, according to Claudia Arthrell, senior program director of professional and divorce services at Family & Children’s Services.
“Ideally, couples will attend together – when they’re thinking of divorce, before they’ve filed – to get a good idea of how to tell their children and how to work through the process together, rather than letting an adversarial court system dictate their relationship with their kids,” explained Arthrell.
Helping Children Cope with Divorce is a four-hour educational program designed to make the divorce transition easier for children and their changing families. In Tulsa, Rogers, Osage and other northeast Oklahoma counties, the class is mandatory for divorcing parents of minor children.
In 2012, Family & Children’s Services held 33 Helping Children Cope with Divorce seminars in Tulsa, Owasso, Broken Arrow and Claremore. Nearly three-quarters of the 4,007 parents who attended a seminar reported the information they learned would help them reduce co-parenting conflicts.
That’s a sentiment Bob and Sara would agree with. The two attend events together at Maggie’s school and make decisions jointly regarding holidays, discipline and rewards. Though their marriage is over, Bob and Sara’s co-parenting relationship is incredibly strong – and that makes all the difference for their beloved Maggie.