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ZEN AND THE ART OF A CHILD-CENTERED DIVORCE

While I was born Jewish and am now a practicing Catholic, I am speaking with you regarding a child-centered divorce that incorporates essential teachings of Zen Buddhism. Whatever spiritual tradition parents may come from or practice, a child-centered divorce requires empathy, forgiveness, and unconditional love for your children.
It is incumbent upon all of us to practice empathy and forgiveness when addressing issues of and concerning children of divorce. These children did not ask for the circumstances that have befallen them, and have recognized rights codified within the New Jersey Children’s Bill of Rights.
Forgiveness is a key component of any child-centered divorce. We can only control and/or change ourselves and, specifically, our responses to that other parent.

Zen and the Art of a Child Centered-Divorce. A “child-centered” divorce requires, first and foremost, empathy by, for, and between the divorcing parents. Empathy is not pity for the other parent or one parent’s “willingness” to help the other parent because that parent perceives themselves to be a more effective parent than the other parent. Empathy is a sincere recognition of the other parent’s circumstances, without judgment and/or comparison, coupled with a sincere commitment to do whatever may be necessary to address the other parent’s issues and/or concerns for the benefit of that parent maintaining a healthy and loving relationship with the child(ren). Perceived weaknesses of the other parent; news flash: there are no perfect parents, are addressed collaboratively through detailed parenting agreements and/or with the help of a third-party therapists rather than by one parent seeking to use the weaknesses and/or imperfections of the other parent to somehow “win” custody of the children. Our law presumes that children are best served by having equal, continuing, and predictable parenting time with both parents; and further presumes all parents “fit to parent” unless there has been a concrete act or omission on the part of one parent that has previously caused a significantly adverse impact upon the Child(ren) Absent same, all parents are presumed “fit to parent” and should employ empathy in reaching agreements of and concerning their children.

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