The “Rule of Relationship” is one of the most powerful forces in our lives. Often we are not even aware of its existence. In a divorce, it can be more powerful than the rule of law. Here is how it works. Let’s assume you and your spouse are separated but you do not have any legal document regulating your separation or parenting. You have informally agreed to share weekends with the children and you pick the children up from your spouse’s home of Friday, promising to return them by 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. What if you decide not to return the children at that time? You will not have broken any law since there is no divorce or court order. Yet the consequences of your decision may be even more severe than any punishment a court could order as you have violated the “Rule of Relationship.” You may have damaged trust in a manner that could be very difficult to repair. Maintaining some level of trust is crucial in almost all situations. It is tempting to think that, in a divorce, there is no trust. Indeed, your spouse may even have been unfaithful causing you to believe that all trust is lost. But, in reality, there is almost always some degree of trust that exists in any relationship. If you literally had no trust at all, you would not ever allow your spouse to even be in the presence of your children, since you need to trust them to provide for their well being and safety, for at least some portion of their week. Despite the broken promises that can give rise to a divorce, most people are able to find a way to retain some basic level of trust, out of necessity and concern for their children. Trust is generally regulated by the “Rule of Relationship” and not by laws. Trust can only be created or lost through behavior. When it comes to regulating day to day behavior no court or government, no matter how well intended, can intervene on a daily basis to address these difficult situations. Parents are often left with their own laws, the Rule of Relationship,” to help them parent their children and regulate their lives. That is one of the reasons more and more parents are choosing out of court solutions, such as Collaborative Practice, to help them resolve their issues out of court. Working parenting issues out of court, where the laws of relationship and responsibility can help rebuild trust, can help your parenting plan go more smoothly and gives your children a true role model for developing trust in their lives.