Saving Resources by Multidisciplinary Family Dispute Prevention and Resolution

Children of divorced and separated parents are more likely to exhibit problematic behaviors and social and emotional problems than those in intact families. Children start to react to stress related to conflict immediately, from the outset. This has visible symptoms, but there is also strong evidence of epigenetic damage – that is, delayed or arrested brain development – whose effects may only become apparent in the long term.

Each aspect of divorce and its effects have economic ramifications in different areas. Some of these effects are immediate, and some may take time to become apparent; some are direct, and some indirect. Many of the effects are interlinked.  For example, parents who are locked in an intensive and long-running court battle will lose work time, and will forfeit their salary and may even lose their jobs because of the time they spend in court and preparing for court. This will directly affect the financial state of the family.  If they lose holiday days, they will have less time to spend with their children and in child-related activities.

In cases where contact between a child and a loved parent unjustifiably ceases, only because of the actions or words because of the other parent – parental alienation  – the effects are profound and far reaching.

The costs to the state, of long court proceedings, of mental health interventions, of handling problems with the child’s education, of criminal behaviour of a child and adult who have been affected by parental disharmony, of social services, of loss of earning capacity of parents and the affected child,  etc, are immense.

For this reason, efforts must be made for prevention of divorce.

The starting point is teaching young people about relationships, which depend for their longevity on basic compatibility, as measured by communication skills and the ability to resolve misunderstandings. If a relationship depends only on attraction, without one of these elements being present, there is a strong likelihood that the relationship will not survive. Young people also need to be taught that relationships revolve around responsibilities – of each partner to the other, and to children who may be born from the relationship. The onus of teaching these understandings is on parents, schools, youth movement officers and the like.

When a relationship is undergoing problems, the couple may need help in resolving their disputes. There is a need for accessible qualified therapists, including mediators, and encouragement to get therapy. And if divorce is inevitable, Collaborative Divorce and social work support through the divorce process will minimize conflict and reduce to a minimum the need for court intervention,.

All those professionals in the fields of education, social work, psychology and law and those responsible for professional training should work together on advancing such programming.

Study guides for professionals are being prepared, with the object of saving resources; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and a small investment in professional training can lead to huge savings on therapeutic and judicial expenses.

Philip Marcus is lecturing on these topics and assisting in the production of study guides; he is also involved in research to quantify the extent of savings by prevention and early intervention.

Fees by arrangement.

For more information and to arrange a consultation, please contact: jurist@philip-marcus.com

PUBLICATIONS AND PAPERS (PARTIAL LIST)

Paper (in Hebrew): The Future of the Family Court: New Paradigms, Statutory Amendments, and More

January 2013

Position Paper:  on Report of the Committee to Review the Policy of the Ministry on Removal of Children to Residential Care and on Visitation (The Silman Report)

Delivered to the Minister and the Director General, Ministry of Welfare and Social Services

July 2014

Position Paper: on the Arrangements for Settlement of Family Disputes Bill, 5774-2014

Delivered to the Minister of Justice and the Chairman of the Constitution, Law and Legislation Committee of the Knesset

August 2014

The Israel Family Court – Therapeutic Jurisprudence and Jurisprudential Therapy from the Start

Published in The International Journal of Law & Psychiatry, Special Issue: Therapeutic Jurisprudence Today and Tomorrow, Vol. 63, 68-75

March-April 2019

Parental Alienation and Contact Refusal: How to Prevent Contact Failure between a Child and a Parent (Hebrew)

Published (in Hebrew) in Journal of the Israeli Society for Medicine and Law, Issue 51, 154-174

July 2019.

Editorial (on proposals for family court reform). Irish Journal of Family Law, Vol 23 No 1 Winter 2020

Innovative Programs in Israel for Prevention & Responding to Parental Alienation: Education, Early Identification and Timely, Effective Intervention  Family Court Review, Volume 58 Issue 2, 545-599

April 2020,

Economic Implications of Prevention and Early Intervention for Parental Alienation in chapter on Public Policy Initiatives Related to Parental Alienation,  Parental Alienation: Science and Law , D. Lorandos and W Bernet  (2020 Charles C. Thomas Publisher)

Cost-Utility Analysis of Interventions to reduce Mental Health damage to children at risk of Parental Alienation (with M. Humphries, G.Ginsberg) (in preparation)