Common Ground: Family Lawyers, Teachers, & Social Workers

August 10, 2020
Gary Direnfeld

Article written by Gary Direnfeld

We all work with a concern for your kids. Our perspectives are different.

During a divorce or separation, parents wonder and worry about their kids. Who will see them and when? How will we provide for them? Will this affect their mental health and how may it affect their life at school?

As parents ponder those questions, the social worker is there to speak with parents and their kids about what’s going on. This includes their concerns and what may suite them in terms of an ongoing relationship with the parents.

Meanwhile, at school, teachers may see a distractibility or change in behavior related to the child’s concerns at home. The family lawyer, typically in meeting with just the parents, seeks to gather and sort out the information. They facilitate an ongoing arrangement for the care of the kids as well as financial considerations.

Three different professions and perspectives, all important.

It can be helpful to children for parents to include all three professionals when managing the impact of their divorce or separation.

Because teachers spend so much time with the kids, their awareness of these significant changes at home can place them in a better position to provide support at school. They can understand what may be going on if any changes are observed. Coordinating with the parents, the children can be better served.

The social worker can help parents understand how to meet with emotional needs of their children. They can also facilitate their communication with them about changes going on in the family.

With those supports in place, your family lawyer can work with you, hopefully more at ease, concentrating on facilitating your agreement on a go-forward basis and sorting out the financial issues to support your agreement.

A coordinated effort with parents and kids at the centre can make for better outcomes.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW is a Canadian Social Worker in private practice. He is recognized from his 65 episodes of the hit show Newlywed/Nearly Dead, to over 650 columns as the parenting expert of a major metropolitan newspaper, to more than 350 media appearances, to his book, Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout Canada and the US and helps family peacemakers grow their practice.