Taking Care of Your Children


 “Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage and teaching your children the wrong things about love.”

 – Jennifer Weiner, author of Fly Away Home

Many parents stay together “for the sake of the children” but once the decision to get a divorce has been made, it’s time to focus on how to make this life changing event as easy and positive as possible. I will encourage you to keep the health and well-being of your children at the forefront of your negotiations so you give them the best possible chance to grow up to be healthy, happy, self-sufficient adults.  The biggest predictor of difficulties in children during and following a divorce is conflict between their parents, according to J. Wallerstein in her classic book “Surviving the Breakup:  How Children and Parents Cope With Divorce.”  We believe that mediation/collaborative practice and parenting classes help families minimize the potential negative impact a divorce can have.

The courts in Tennessee have certain requirements before you can get a divorce.


Learn how to support your children during this difficult time and to be the best co-parents you can be


Decide on a schedule for the amount of time the children will spend with each parent


Determine the amount of child support paid by parents using Tennessee Child Support Guidelines

Be as kind as you can be. Your children are 50% you and 50% your spouse. Wanting them to choose sides is the same as wanting them to reject half of who they are.


“Out beyond ideas of wrong doing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

All parents are required to attend an interesting and informative parenting class before, during or after mediation (or collaborative practice?? Isn’t this for all divorces).  This is a four-hour class that costs about $40.  You will learn about child development, how to treat each other during and after the divorce, how to exchange children from one home to the next and other important information, including:

  •   Feelings created by the divorce
  •   Characteristic reactions of children
  •   Developmental stages and needs of children
  •   Communications techniques that work (Do’s and Don’ts)
  •   Coping skills for children
  •   Resources in the community

The class is based on a nationally known program that includes lecture, discussion and videotapes. Participation in discussion is voluntary. You will be given a workbook to take home for reference. Divorcing couples may prefer to attend separate sessions. Click here to view our contact info document for centers that offer classes in Davidson and Williamson County.

We encourage you, your spouse and your extended family to watch, The Evans Matter, Understanding Mediation, a 15-minute video about mediation (watch part 1 | watch part 2). The video explains mediation and reminds divorcing parents that they have the power to make decisions about their futures and the future of their children.


“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”
William James, 19th century American philosopher and psychologist

It is hard to imagine how life will be for your children as you split into two families. Fortunately, children are resilient and there are tools to guide you through the process. You and your spouse are required to develop a Parenting Plan that defines how you will co-parent your children following the separation and divorce. If you would like to prepare for the mediation by looking at the Parenting Plan, click here to download the Tennessee Parenting Plan Form.


“Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is going to be alright.”
– Bobby McFerrin

As part of the Parenting Plan, parents have to state how much child support will be paid. The State of Tennessee has recently revised the Child Support Guidelines.  The calculations take into account the income of both parents since both you and your spouse are responsible for the support of your children. You may download the Child Support Calculator and follow the directions to estimate the amount of support required for each parent or I can assist you with the calculations.