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Bob Emery: Let Kids Be Our First Focus

Rebecca Love Kourlis Posted in Honoring Families

Bob Emery is one of the preeminent national experts on issues related to children and divorce. He is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law at the University of Virginia. He has both written extensively on the subject and also continues to engage in a clinical psychology and divorce mediation practice. In this video excerpt, he captures the essence of the problem: almost all of the systems that relate to divorce and separation are geared around the parents—or even worse, the lawyers and judges who handle the cases. Very few systems are geared to the needs of the children—who are, of course, the most vulnerable actors. Bob advocates for a fundamental shift in thinking: a shift that would require everyone to focus on the kids—their needs, their growth, and their opportunities.

The Honoring Families Initiative at IAALS agrees. In fact, at the Resource Center for Separating and Divorcing Families, which will debut on campus at the University of Denver this fall, there is a specific role for the voice of the child. We hope to demonstrate that a system built to value not only the parents, but also the children, can indeed succeed.