The Child Specialist: Giving Children a Voice in the Divorce Process with Dr. Lauren Behrman

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Dr. Lauren Behrman

The Child Specialist: Giving Children a Voice in the Divorce Process


Parents are often wary of the role of a child specialist in the divorce process. They don’t want to put their children in a difficult position, and the divorcing couple may be under the mistaken impression that the child specialist is there to do a forensic evaluation and make custody recommendations. Rather, it is the job of a child specialist to empower the children in the collaborative process, giving voice to their needs and concerns.

Dr. Lauren Behrman is a clinical psychologist, child specialist, mediator, collaborative divorce professional and parent coordinator. She has offices in White Plains, Katonah and Midtown Manhattan, where she provides divorce services that include parent coordination, co-parent counseling, neutral child specialist and divorce coach in the collaborative setting. Working in private practice since 1985, Lauren has considerable professional experience in treating children and families of divorce. She is committed to helping families facing challenges and transitions in life and relationships.

Today, Lauren sits down with Katherine to address the role of a child specialist, explaining how they serve to empower children in the divorce process. She shares her process in first establishing trust with both parents before meeting with the children to get a picture of what they are experiencing. Lauren speaks to the value of giving children a voice in the collaborative process and the common concerns that come up. Listen in for insight around lowering the level of conflict during the divorce process and learn why children from low-conflict divorced families do better than children in high-conflict families that remain intact.

Topics Covered

The misconceptions around the role of a child specialist

How the child specialist empowers children in the collaborative process

The child specialist’s initial communication to develop trust with parents

  • Meet in-person with both parties together, then individually
  • Discuss how to prepare children for process

How Lauren addresses the children in her role as child specialist

  • Speak at developmental age, stage
  • Develop rapport (e.g.: hobbies, teams)
  • Get picture of what’s affecting children

How Lauren reassures kids that their concerns will be presented in a neutral way

How young adults are attuned to the dynamics of their parents’ marriage

How to separate your own needs from the needs of your children

The value of giving children a voice in the divorce process

What questions children ask Lauren during the process

Why nesting only works with low-conflict, mature parents

Why divorcing parents should focus on lowering the level of conflict

Connect with Dr. Lauren Behrman

Lauren’s Website

Email laurenbehrman@gmail.com

Call (914) 288-8428

Connect with Katherine Miller

The Center for Understanding Conflict

Miller Law Group

Katherine on LinkedIn

The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller

Email katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com

Call (914) 738-7765