Parents: You are going through a divorce, Not your children

Parents: You are going through a divorce, Not your children

Parents going through a divorce need to remember that their words and actions have a direct impact on their children during a divorce.   Remember – you are going through the divorce – not your children… and by that I mean your children are not divorcing either you or your spouse.  So if you are going through a divorce or highly contested family law matter, please keep these “divorce rules” in mind

 

DIVORCE RULES WITH CHILDREN

Dear Mom and Dad,

I’m just a kid, so please…

  1. Don’t talk badly about each other to me. (This makes me feel torn apart!  It also makes me feel bad about myself.)
  2. Do not talk about my other parent’s friends or relatives. (Let me care for someone even if you don’t.)
  3. Do not talk to me about the divorce or other grown-up stuff like that. (This makes me feel sick. Please leave me out of it.)
  4. Do not talk to me about child support. (This makes me feel guilty or like I’m a possession instead of your kid.)
  5. Do not make me feel bad when I enjoy my time with my other parent. (This makes me afraid to tell you things.)
  6. Do not block my visits or prevent me from speaking to my other parent on the phone. (This makes me very upset.)
  7. Do not interrupt my time with my other parent by calling too much or by planning activities for me during our time together.
  8. Do not argue in front of me or on the phone when I can hear you. (This turns my stomach inside out!)
  9. Do not ask me to spy for you when I’m at my other parent’s home. (This makes me feel disloyal and dishonest.)
  10. Do not ask me to keep secrets from my other parent. (Secrets make me feel anxious.)
  11. Do not ask me questions about my other parent’s life. (This makes me uncomfortable. Just let me tell you.)
  12. Do not give me verbal messages to deliver to my other parent. (I end up feeling anxious about their reaction. Please call them, leave them a message at work or put a note in the mail.)
  13. Do not send written messages with me or place them in my bag. (This also makes me uncomfortable.)
  14. Do not blame my other parent for the divorce or for things that go wrong in your life. (This really feels terrible! I end up wanting to defend them from your attack. Sometimes it makes me feel sorry for you and want to protect you. I just want to be a kid, so please, please…stop putting me in the middle!)
  15. Do not treat me like an adult. (It causes way too much stress for me.) Please find a friend or counselor to talk with or to.
  16. Do not ignore my other parent or sit on opposite sides of the room during my school or sports activities. (This makes me feel sad and embarrassed. Please act like parents and be friendly, even if it is just for me.)
  17. Do let me take items to my other home as long as I can carry them back and forth. (Otherwise it feels like you are treating me like a possession.)
  18. Do not use guilt to pressure me to love you more and do not ask me where I want to live.
  19. Do realize that I have two homes, not just one. (It doesn’t matter how much time I spend there.) I’d also really appreciate it if you would let my other parent come into our house every now and then, because it’s my home too!
  20. Do let me love both of you and see each of you as much as possible!

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

 

Top 9 Presumptions Made by Florida Courts in Divorce Cases

Top 9 Presumptions Made by Florida Courts in Divorce Cases

Florida divorce law contains many presumptions. A presumption assumes one simple fact from the existence of another fact. Presumptions are a good way to make it easier to ascertain a fact or even to implement the state’s public procedures. Here are a few of the presumptions in Florida divorce law:

 Matrimony Presumptions
1. Florida law presumes that your union is legitimate if both parties have a ceremony and live together under a belief that they are lawfully married.

Fair Distribution Presumptions

2. Florida law presumes that assets and debts amassed during the marriage are marital and susceptible to equitable distribution.
3. Florida law also presumes that both spouses made an equal contribution towards the marriage.
4. Equitable distribution presumes a 50/50 split of assets and debt as the starting point for division.

Child-Related Presumptions

5. Kids born during a marriage are presumed to be the legitimate children of the spouses.
6. Florida legal courts are presumed to possess ongoing jurisdiction over child matters once the first decision originated from a Florida court.
7. Shared parental obligation is also assumed in Florida law.

Alimony Presumptions

8. Florida divorce law presumes that an entitlement to alimony in a long-term marriage and presumes virtually no entitlement in a short-term marriage.
9. Once ordered, Florida law presumes an ability to pay for support amounts directed by the court.


Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

50% of American Marriages End in Divorce…Not Exactly.

50% of American Marriages End in Divorce…Not Exactly.

What is the current divorce rate in America?

On a regular basis, I overhear many people discuss the American divorce rate as 50%.  Although this statistic will likely become true in our lifetimes, the generalization is not accurate.  The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that “Probably, 40 or possibly even 50 percent of marriages will end in divorce if current trends continue.”, which is actually a projection.

If we are to discuss statistics, it is better to view marriage on a sliding scale with considerations including age at the time of marriage and whether it is a second or third marriage.

Age at marriage for those who divorce in America

Age Women Men
Under 20 years old 27.6% 11.7%
20 to 24 years old 36.6% 38.8%
25 to 29 years old 16.4% 22.3%
30 to 34 years old 8.5% 11.6%
35 to 39 years old 5.1% 6.5%

The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs second or third marriage
50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.

According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

The divorce rate in America for childless couples and couples with children
According to discovery channel, couples with children have a slightly lower rate of divorce than childless couples.

Sociologists believe that childlessness is also a common cause of divorce. The absence of children leads to loneliness and weariness and even in the United States, at least 66 per cent of all divorced couples are childless.

 

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

Divorce and Children: Guidelines for Parents

Divorce and Children: Guidelines for Parents

For children, divorce is often stressful, heartbreaking, and complicated. At any age, children may experience uncertainty about what life is going to be like, or upset at the possibility of parents separating once and for all. Separation and divorce isn’t painless, however as a parent you could make the process and its effects much less painful for the kids.

Helping your children deal with your divorce process means offering balance at your house and attending to your children’s emotional and physical needs with a reassuring, positive frame of mind. To help make this happen, you’ll need to take proper care of yourself and act as calmly as you possibly can with your ex-spouse. This won’t be a seamless process, however your kids can easily move ahead feeling confident with your unconditional love.

Here are a few great guidelines for divorcing parents:

Things you should do:

Love your children as much as possible.

Show them your love through words and actions.

Let your children divorce is not their fault.

Tell your children this repeatedly, they need to hear it more than once.

Assure your children that they will be safe.

And let them know both parents will continue to provide for them to the best of their ability.

Support your children’s relationship with their other parent.

Inform the other parent of special events, school functions or extracurricular activities whenever possible.

Listen to your children.

Honor their feelings without judging, fixing or trying to change how they feel. Remember, your children’s’ feelings don’t have to reflect your feelings.

Let children know it is okay to express those feelings.

Remember your children will need help learning safe and healthy ways to express their feelings. Be sure to provide them with appropriate options.

Provide your children with discipline, as well as love.

Children still need parents to provide structure and limits especially during difficult times.

Things you should not do:

Don’t badmouth, judge or criticize your child’s other parent.

Children literally view themselves as half Mom and half Dad therefore when you attack the other parent you attack your child. This rule also applies to stepparents and other significant adults in your child’s life.

Don’t tell your children about divorce details.

Rarely is it ever in the best interest of children to be exposed to information regarding court matters, child support, financial concerns or intimate details regarding your divorce Typically children feel very confused and caught in the middle when parents expose them to adult issues.

Don’t use your children as messengers or spies.

Be responsible for finding some way to communicate with your ex-spouse.

Don’t retaliate when the other parent says or does damaging things.

Retaliation or giving children “your side of the story” continues the cycle of children feeling very confused and caught between mom and dad. Instead choose to be supportive of your children by using statements such as “I’m sorry you had to hear that” or ” How do you feel when this happens?”

Don’t make your children responsible for making adult decisions.

Children should not be place in the position of deciding parenting schedules, where they will live or how to handle household matters.

Don’t allow your children to become your best friends or confidants.

Children should not feel responsible for their parent’s emotional well being. Make sure you develop a supportive network and find other caring adults to share your feelings with about the divorce.

Don’t place blame when children ask why the divorce happened.

Children should not be placed in the position of judging or taking sides.

Don’t withhold visitation if child support is unpaid or fail to pay child support if the other parent is withholding visitation.

Both actions are illegal and are viewed as separate issues by the court.

Don’t try to buy your child’s love.

While children enjoy gifts, they will remember you for how you cherished them not for the material things you bought them.

Don’t lose your sense of humor.

It comes in handy during stressful times

Guidelines Credit: Divorce and Children

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

 

 

Florida Family Law:  How Can A Parenting Coordinator Help Me?

Florida Family Law: How Can A Parenting Coordinator Help Me?

Getting a divorce is rarely an easy task.  When it comes to divorcing with children, many parents become so emotionally involved, that it is hard for them to see things rationally.

Recently, the state of Florida made parent coordinators available to high-conflict divorcing or divorced parents. The parent coordinator will aim to help parents with deep disagreements resolve conflicts, make positive decisions regarding their children and abide by parenting plans.

Parent coordination will take place as a result of a court order or an agreement between the parents. The coordinator won’t take the place of an attorney or family therapist, but will instead be focused on shielding children from the conflicts between parents and helping parents learn conflict resolution skills and develop a parenting plan that works.

The parenting coordination process is similar in some respects to mediation and arbitration. Parenting coordinators will help parties separate issues related to their children from other disputes between the parties. Once the issues affecting their children are isolated, a parenting coordinator will help the parties agree to a solution that is in the best interest of their children. If an agreement cannot be reached, a parenting coordinator may arbitrate the dispute for the parties if authorized to do so by the parties or a court order.

Parenting coordination is different from mediation and arbitration in that parenting coordination: allows a parenting coordinator to independently gather information about a dispute; educates parents about the impact of conflict on their children; and teaches communication skills to parents.

Depending on the court’s order granting authority, parent coordinators will be able to make limited decisions for the parents regarding some issues. Parent coordinators will not be able to permanently or substantially change parental time-sharing arrangements or custody. Fees for parent coordinators will be split between the parents, as determined by the court. The court will be able to order a parent coordinator at any time in the divorce process. The coordinator can be part of any post-divorce modifications as well.

In those cases where the court does not order a parent coordinator, though, parents may still choose to involve a coordinator. Often, such a person may help to resolve lasting disagreements and eliminate costly litigation, so parents may choose to bring a parent coordinator into the process by mutual agreement.

If you are working with a parent coordinator, or handling any aspect of a child custody dispute, it is important to ensure that you fully understand your options. Speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney who can provide effective advice and guidance.

 

Family law issues can become extremely complex.  Securing strong legal representation from an attorney who knows Florida divorce law is the first step toward the outcome you deserve.  If you are concerned about what will happen to your children, the future of your home and other assets, or the overall costs of divorce, please schedule an initial consultation with experienced family law attorney.

Florida Domestic Violence Injunctions: Protection from Violence

Florida Domestic Violence Injunctions: Protection from Violence

Domestic Violence Injunctions get a bad rap…

That’s because in large part, they are used as a means in a game played by soon to be exes in their pursuit to one up the other side by making them look like they are out of control.  That said, there are times when a Domestic Violence Injunction is really needed.   In a hearing on a petition for a domestic violence injunction, the court has to find that the Petitioner (the person filing the petition for an injunction) has been a victim of Domestic Violence or is in “imminent fear” of becoming a victim of Domestic Violence in Florida.  Florida Statutes §741.30.   Imminent fear can be defined as a real actual fear of immediate physical damage to one’s body based upon a person’s words or actions.

The court, when making its decision, can use the additional criterion listed in Florida Statute §741.30 to determine whether the Petitioner’s imminent fear of becoming a victim of domestic violence is reasonable. The statute reads: In determining whether a petitioner has reasonable cause to believe he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence, the court shall consider and evaluate all relevant factors alleged in the petition, including, but not limited to:

1. The history between the petitioner and the respondent, including threats, harassment, stalking, and physical abuse.

2. Whether the respondent has attempted to harm the petitioner or family members or individuals closely associated with the petitioner.

3. Whether the respondent has threatened to conceal, kidnap, or harm the petitioner’s child or children.

4. Whether the respondent has intentionally injured or killed a family pet.

5. Whether the respondent has used, or has threatened to use, against the petitioner any weapons such as guns or knives.

6. Whether the respondent has physically restrained the petitioner from leaving the home or calling law enforcement.

7. Whether the respondent has a criminal history involving violence or the threat of violence.

8. The existence of a verifiable order of protection issued previously or from another jurisdiction.

9. Whether the respondent has destroyed personal property, including, but not limited to, telephones or other communications equipment, clothing, or other items belonging to the petitioner.

10. Whether the respondent engaged in any other behavior or conduct that leads the petitioner to have reasonable cause to believe that he or she is in imminent danger of becoming a victim of domestic violence.

In determining whether the victim’s fear is reasonable, “the trial court must consider the current allegations, the parties’ behavior within the relationship, and the history of the relationship as a whole”.  So for example, a Petitioner whose only basis for requesting an injunction was a disputed incident from three years before and a subjective fear that her anticipated request for child support might cause the Respondent to become angry was not enough to show that she was a victim of Domestic Violence or was in “imminent fear” of become a victim of Domestic Violence.  In fact, the court in that case found that the Petitioner failed to present sufficient evidence that she had a reasonable fear of imminent danger of domestic violence.  (Malchan v. Howard, 2010 WL 787800 (Fla. 4th DCA, 2010))

The bottom line, it’s not enough to say, I’m afraid he/she is going to hurt me. There has to be something that happened close to the date of the filing of the Petition for the Protection Against Domestic Violence.  Subjective fear does not meet that threshold and simply rehashing old history by itself will not be sufficient either.

 

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