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67 Rev. Jur. U.P.R. 137 (1998)
Preventive Lawyering Strategies to Mitigate the Detrimental Effects of Clients' Divorces on Their Children

handle is hein.journals/rjupurco67 and id is 149 raw text is: 






  PREVENTIVE LAWYERING STRATEGIES TO MITIGATE
  THE DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS OF CLIENTS' DIVORCES
                   ON THEIR CHILDREN

                   KATHRYN E. MAXWELL*


                      I. INTRODUCTION
  Psychological and sociological research is rife with evidence of
the disastrous effects that divorce can have upon the children of
divorcing parents. When a client seeks legal assistance in ob-
taining a divorce, the relationship between the spouses is al-
ready none too amicable. Our judicial system then pits the di-
vorcing spouses against each other as adversaries in a battle
over property, child custody, visitation, and child support. Given
this climate of antagonism and hostility during the divorce pro-
cess, cooperation for the sake of the children may be all but im-
possible after the divorce.
  Perhaps there is another way: By taking a therapeutically ori-
ented, preventive approach, the divorce lawyer may be able to
mitigate the detrimental effects of divorce on children. This arti-
cle examines what divorce lawyers could and should do to mini-
mize the negative effects of clients' divorces on their children.
  The first section of this paper examines the detrimental ef-
fects of parents' divorces on their children, and the second sec-
tion identifies the three principal causes of these detrimental ef-
fects. The third section discusses fairly recent changes in the
law made to mitigate those effects on children. In the fourth
section, the lawyer's role in the divorce process is examined,
and, in the fifth section, concrete strategies are proposed that
lawyers should or could use in order to minimize the negative
effects of divorce on children.
  The strategies proposed in this paper are intended to address
only the average divorce scenario, not situations involving do-
mestic violence and/or child sexual abuse. Though mediation is
one of the suggested strategies, where a serious power imbal-

  * Kathryn E. Maxwell, J.D., University of Arizona College of Law in Tucson,
Arizona, 1998.

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