Sample Interests in Divorce and Custody Cases
To aid in distinguishing Interests from positions, and to help you define your own specific Interests, we have provided the following list of common client interests that our clients have expressed in cases over the years. This is not the list of any specific client’s Interests, but rather a summary of common Interests and themes that we see over and over again in our collaborative practice.
Specific credit and thanks for use and reprinting for this program is given to Ron Dusky and Stu Webb. This list originated from Appendix E in their book, “The Collaborative Way to Divorce.” Some updates and changes have been made, but the original list was compiled from their book and is being re-used with permission for this course.
- I want sustainable financial stability
- I want to learn how to budget and start doing it.
- I want to start saving
- I want to understand our investments/ how to manage investments
- I want to stay/get out of debt.
- I want to learn how to live within my means.
- I want my spouse/co-parent to learn how to live within his/her means
- I want to learn to manage my money properly.
- I want to be able to maintain my/our current lifestyle.
- I want to be able to own a home on par with the one we had during our marriage
- I want to maintain a lifestyle that is equal to the lifestyle that my exspouse/partner has.
- I want to be able to retire by a certain age (or at all)
- I want to have more free time.
- I want to get out of debt/maintain a debt free lifestyle.
- I want to minimize the costs of the case.
- I want to be able to restore my credit.
- I want to reduce my/our tax obligation.
- I want a financial settlement that will last (is durable).
Career Related Interests
- I want more/additional education.
- I want to learn a profession/skill.
- I want to be able to choose the work I do.
- I want to be able to change careers at some point.
- I do not want to have to work outside the home until _____ /at any time in
- I want to be able to pursue a job that I enjoy (or at least do not hate).
- I do not want to have to work overtime/more than X hours per week/day.
- I want to be treated fairly/with respect.
- I want to treat my spouse fairly.
- I want to resolve the divorce issues amicably.
- I want to keep our divorce issues private.
- I want both of our dignity to remain in tact
- I want to maintain a respectful relationship with my ex.
- I want to be able to trust my ex-spouse.
- I want my ex-spouse to be trusting of me.
- I want to know that I have a safety net/plan b (insurance).
- I want to maintain a good relationship with my in-laws in the future.
- I want to/want both of us to maintain a good relationship with our mutual
- I want to make up for the mistakes I have made.
- I want to apologize for the harm I have caused.
- I want to feel/become more emotionally stable.
- I want my ex to become more stable emotionally.
- I want to maintain my sobriety (recover from addiction).
- I want my spouse to maintain his/her sobriety (recover from addiction).
- I want to learn and employ a better way to handle my anger/sadness/fear.
- I want my spouse to learn and embrace a better way to handle his/her anger/sadness/fear.
- I want to save the marriage.
- I want to know that we made our best effort to save the marriage.
- I want him/her to know how much she/he hurt me.
- I want him/her to apologize for what she/he has done.
- I want to do the honorable thing.
- I want to settle this manner in a way that is consistent with my religious or spiritual values.
- I want a religious annulment.
- I want to listen better.
- I want to express myself better.
- I want to be less sad (depressed).
- I want to be less angry.
- I want to be less frightened.
- I want to be less compulsive.
- I want to work on an addiction issue.
- I want closure.
- I want to be able to start healing.
- I want to be generous.
- I want my spouse to acknowledge that I have been generous.
Interests relating to the pace of the process
- I want to get done soon.
- I want to slow down the process.
- I want the process finished by_______(ie: before our __ anniversary, by my __ birthday, before summer…)
CHILD FOCUSED INTERESTS
Interests relating to the general well-being of your children
- I want our children to know this is not their fault
- I want our children to know that we both love them
- I want our children to be well-adjusted.
- I want our children to be happy.
- I want our children to be able to maintain their lifestyle in both parents homes
- I want our children to feel good about themselves.
Interests relating to stability for children
- I want the parenting schedule to provide stability for the children.
- I want the parenting schedule to be predictable.
- I want to make sure each parent honors the agreed-upon schedule.
- I want the children to live in close proximity to both parents.
- I want the children to be able to stay in their current school/school district.
Interests related to spending time with children
- I want our children to have consistent and meaningful contact with both
- I do not want to be away from the children for more than___days in a row/
at a time.
- I want to maximize my time with the children
- I want us to have equal parenting time
- I want to maintain my role as the primary caregiver of the children
- I want to be able to stay home until the youngest is__ years old or starts the
Interests relating to education
- I want our children to be able to continue with their current schooling.
- I want both parents to participate in their school conferences/activities.
- I want our children to attend __ _______school (private school, magnet
or charter school program, college, religious school…).
- I want our children to maintain their current grades.
- I want our children to attend university/college.
- I want both parents to support the same educational goals.
- I want both parents to participate in our children’s homework.
- I want both parents to support tutoring for the child, as
needed/recommended (financially and/or in terms of getting them there).
Interests related to child financial issues
Interests relating to children’s general financial issues
- I want our children to maintain their pre-divorce lifestyle in both homes.
- I want our children to be financially responsible.
- I want to make sure we set money aside to provide for university/college.
- I want to have an agreement about how we will pay for college for our
- I want us to commit to continuing to provide X dollars per month into the 529 account for each child.
- I want us to share in the children’s expenses relative to our incomes.
- I do not want either of us to feel taken advantage of by the other with respect to expenses for the children
- I want to find a way of sharing the kids’ expenses that is manageable
- I want us to share the children’s’ expenses equally.
- I want us to commit to an allowance amount for the children and develop a plan to teach them to be fiscally responsible.
- I want our children to maintain their pre-divorce lifestyle in both homes.
- I want our children to be financially responsible.
- I want to make sure we set money aside to provide for college.
- I want to have an agreement/specific plan about how we will pay for university/college for our children.
- I want a commitment that the other parent will pay for 100 per cent of college/university
- I want a commitment that we will split equally, any university/colleges expenses for the child not covered by scholarship/grant/Texas Tomorrow Fund/529 plan set up by grandpa B, etc…
Interests relating to providing consistent parenting
- I want us to provide an agreed/consistent standard of care for our children.
- I want my spouse and me to have consistent and reasonable discipline, expectations, consequences, curfews, chores, bedtimes, etc… recognized in both homes
- I want my ex and I to have the same rules for the children in both homes.
- I want my spouse and me to support each other in our parenting decisions.
- I want my ex and I to have open and honest communication about the
Interests relating to keeping the children free from conflict
- I want our children to be free as possible from the conflict in the divorce.
- I do not want our children to believe they have to report to one parent above or about the other parent or that parent’s household/activities.
- I do not want the children involved in discussions related to finances or child
- I want to avoid having financial issues/disputes/discussions spill over into our parenting.
- I do not want our children to feel that they have to do anything to choose between the parents.
- I want our children to feel comfortable talking about what they did/whether they enjoyed their time at the other parent’s home or with the other parents family
- I do not want the children to feel like they have to tiptoe around either parent in terms of discussing things that are important to them.
Interests relating to parenting skills
- I want us both to support counseling for the children, as needed/recommended
- I want to develop better/age appropriate parenting skills,
- I want my spouse to develop better/age appropriate parenting skills.
- I want to have a better understanding of what children need when going through a divorce.
Interests related to decision making for children
- I want to participate in major decisions affecting the lives of our children.
- I want my ex and I to be able to make joint decisions for our children
- I want my ex and I to agree before the children are evaluated/tested/medicated for X tie: ADHD, Dyslexia, etc..)
Interests surrounding the relationship the children will have with other adults
- I want our children to have appropriate relationships with new partners or
- I want to make sure new adults are not introduced into the lives of the children until the children are ready/the new relationship is stable (no premature introductions)
- I want us both to commit that we will not introduce a new romantic interest to the children until we have been dating that person exclusively for
- I want us both to commit that we will not allow any unrelated guests or overnight guests in the home, while the children are there/between the hours of X and X (ie 9 PM-9A111)
- I want us to both commit that the children will never be left alone with Uncle/Aunt Weezer or I want us to both commit that the children will not be allowed in the presence of Uncle/Aunt Weezer
Interests focusing on flexibility in scheduling
- I want to be able to move the residence of the minor children within X (ie: Travis and contiguous counties, the X school tract, the State of Texas).
- I would like us to agree to a right of first refusal on parenting time if either parent has to be away for X hours during their scheduled parenting time (usually an overnight or longer period/no shorter than 5 hours)
- I want to have enough flexibility in the parenting schedule so that we can adjust the schedule to meet the needs of the children.
- I would like us to honor the wishes of the child with regard to spending time with both parents, once the child is ___ (12, 13, 14, 15, 16 years old, etc…)
Interests relating to communication with the other parent
- I want us to both commit to exclusively using Our Family Wizard/AppClose/Family Docket for communications about the children and reimbursements (absent emergencies)
- I want us to engage in regular family therapy/parent facilitation/parent coordination with X, once the case is over.
- I want to be able to communicate effectively with my ex regarding changes in schedule, updates on health, school, activities, consistent parenting rules, etc.
- I want to develop better communication skills.
- I want both parents to have equal access to information relating to school, medical issues, etc…
- I want to have regularly scheduled communication.
- I want both parents to honor reasonable rules for respectful communication.
Interests relating to communication with the children
- I want both parents to be able to communicate regularly with each child by text/phone/ e-mail/skype or FaceTime.
- I want all communication around our children to be respectful.
- I do not want our children to hear negative things about one parent from the other parent.
- I want both of us to have private communication with the children, without being put on speaker phone or recorded/monitored by the other parent or his/her agent (step parent or other family member)
Interests related to child care
- I do not want our child in daycare/aftercare
- I want us to agree that the children will not be left alone until they are at least __ years old
- I want us to agree that when the children are old enough to stay alone, they will not be left unattended for longer than __ hours or between the hours of
- I want us to agree that if the children are left alone, they will have a reliable way to call/text both parents
- I want to minimize outside child care.
- I want to maintain high-quality child care.
- I want both parents to share in child-care decisions.
- I want us both to approve of any babysitters/caregivers
Interests relating to religion or spirituality
- I want our children to be raised in their current religion. (ie: the Catholic faith, the Jewish faith, etc…)
- I want our children to regularly attend religious services.
- I want both parents involved in the religious activities of our children.
- I want both parents to support the child’s participation in their current youth group
- I want both of us to support the children continuing to overnight church camp
- I want us both to support the child getting confirmed in the XX faith
Interests related to medical care/physical health
- I want our children to have a balanced diet/maintain their current organic only/vegetarian/gluten free/lactose free, etc… diet
- I want our children to get adequate exercise/maintain a healthy active lifestyle (can be defined as at least x minutes every day or every other day… or playing outside at least X minutes or hours per day)
- I want both parents to have full access to good medical/dental care for the
- I want both parents to be able to attend medical appointments.
- I want both parents to share care of our children when they are sick.
- I want both parents to make sure the child takes his/her XX meds regularly (allergy, ADHD, Anxiety…)
- I want both of us to commit that the children will not be allowed on electronics during the school week
- I want both’ of us to commit that the children will be allowed no more than x hours/minutes of screen time during the week and XX during the weekend
Interests related to activities, music lessons, sports, etc…
- I want our children to remain in their current activities.
- I want both parents to agree on the future activities for our children and to support those activities (both financially and by attending and ensuring child’s regular attendance during respective parenting time).
- I want both of us to commit that we will enroll the child in no more than 3 agreed extracurricular activities.
- We will both commit to setting aside X hours/minutes in the schedule for the child to practice X (ie 30 minutes per day to practice violin, piano, etc…)
Interests relating to vacations
- I want both parents to be able to take vacations/spend extended time away with our children.
- We will both support the child spending extended time with cousins/grandparents, etc.. (as they have historically, or for at least 1 full ..)
Interests relating to heritage/cultural awareness
- We will both commit to teaching the children about our heritage.
- I want us both commit to our children being raised according to their cultural heritage/or with cultural awareness/sensitivity.
- We will both support the child traveling to X, where my/our family is from in the summer of their 14/15/16′h year (ie: China, India, Scotland…)