The Best Interests of the Children

From the Real Divorce Mediation Blog of Nancy Hudgins and Debra Synovec

We encourage parents during divorce to put their children first. This can be hard to do when you are in the middle of conflict. It reminds me of a cartoon in which a guy is standing on a sidewalk and there’s a sign above him with an arrow pointing down to where he’s standing which says: “In the Thick of It.”

When you’re “In the Thick of It,” sometimes it’s hard to think about the best interests of your children, or to see clearly what the best interests of the children are. Conflict brings hurt and anger, and maybe even fear, all emotional states in which looking out for number one can be the default position. Sometimes there’s temptation to not call on our best selves during divorce. By focusing on the best interests of your children, you can be motivated to think beyond yourself for their greater good.

Another way to think about this is to think about how your children, if they were older and/or knew all the circumstances, would react to your behavior during the divorce. Would they would be proud of you? If not, walk yourself back from the edge of disrespect or ignoble deeds. If so, you’re doing the right thing.



Nancy Hudgins

Nancy Hudgins, a San Francisco mediator and lawyer, began specializing in civil litigation in the 1970's. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, chiefly in personal injury, medical malpractice, elder abuse and product liability lawsuits, but also in a wide variety of complex litigation, including civil rights, fraud and class… MORE >

Featured Mediators

View all

Read these next


Aggressive First Offers and the Nash Equilibrium

Recently, in response to my Power Point Presentation on Cognitive Biases (the one labeled Social Psychology Insights) I mentioned that aggressive first offers "anchor" the bargaining range in favor of the first offeror....

By Victoria Pynchon

William Ury “Getting to Yes with Yourself” – 53 min. Video

Renowned negotiation expert William Ury visited Google's Cambridge, MA office to discuss his book, "Getting to Yes with Yourself (and Other Worthy Opponents").

By William Ury

Why Civility Matters in Mediation

We are living in interesting times here in America. It is the first time in my lifetime that I can recall a conscious effort to keep my politics and views...

By Jan Frankel Schau

Find a Mediator