An attorney describes what UpToParents meant in her own divorce—and can mean for others.
One of the most helpful resources during my divorce process was the free UpToParents website. I hope more courts will adopt a policy to refer all divorcing parents to the website.
Although I am a litigation attorney in a large national law firm, I do not practice family law and had never heard of UpToParents. My county required divorcing parents to attend a live class on co-parenting after divorce, and the sign-up materials recommended that we prepare for the class by first completing UpToParents. The website work moved me greatly and reinforced the importance of a child-centered, conflict-free divorce.
The website includes more concrete suggestions about co-parenting after divorce than can be part of any half-day class, but, just as important, does so in a way that makes parents want to make better choices for their children's sake. It appeals directly to the deep wish of most parents to do well for their children.
UpToParents invites parents to make commitments to their children and draws parents in by personalizing the work with their children's names. I believe nearly all parents will be moved to make better choices by selecting the commitments they will make to their children. Here is a sample of the commitments I made to my children:
- We’ll remember this is Robert’s one and only childhood.
- We know that Robert’s one and only childhood is forming many of the gifts and problems he will carry into adulthood.
- We remember that we have the same child—and that we’ll win together if we give Robert a good childhood, or we’ll lost together if conflict between us poisons his childhood.
- To Robert, we will always be family; when he thinks of his family, he will think of us.
Rather than seeking to replace the mandated classes, UpToParents supports them by its promotion of the child focus that helps parents get the most out of their classes. And, because UpToParents is available without cost, parents' and courts' finances are preserved for live classes.
My wish for my own county as well as other counties is that the tools on UpToParents be required and not merely recommended. Very few of the parents in the class I attended had done the website work, and several were openly bored and put out at having to attend the class. I'm confident their attitudes would have been different had they been required to complete UpToParents.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my experience and learn more about UpToParents. I am honored to volunteer my voice for UpToParents and hope that more families will be referred to it. I welcome any inquiries judges and other professionals may have.
Stacy L. Prall, J.D.