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.

A Cautionary Tale: Divorce Leads to High Emotions

A Cautionary Tale: Divorce Leads to High Emotions

Heightened Emotions during a divorce can lead to Abuse

All too often when clients are first dealing with the throes of divorce or separation, the emotions involved run high. There is an old adage that says that criminal lawyers see people at their best and divorce lawyers see people at their worst.

Sometimes, however, emotions can run too high and things can turn violent.  Attorneys and judges work very hard to keep this from happening. That said, in April of 2011, Catie Scott-Gonzalez was brutally beaten by her husband, Paul Gonzalez, after a judge ordered that he pay child support. According to an ABC News report, Gonzalez told the judge he was going to take his children and nobody was going to see them again. When Catie looked to see the judge’s response, Gonzalez came after her from behind and started strangling her with his left hand and started hitting her on her face with his right hand. The first blow to her head knocked her unconscious. Bailiffs had to taser Gonzalez twice to subdue him.  Catie spent three days in the hospital with a broken nose, fractured cheekbone and broken jaw. She was so badly beaten that her children, Isabella, 2, and Nathaniel, 3, didn’t recognize their mother.  This incident took place in the judge’s chambers.

Although child custody, child support, and divorce are difficult issues which can and do put a great deal of stress on both the individual spouses and the families, no person has the right to let stress turn into violence or to hurt another person physically (or emotionally or mentally for  that matter).  The point is that in the above situation, because of his poor choices, Gonzalez will now face serious criminal charges, jeopardizing his parenting time and his children will be without child support while he serves time in jail.

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.

Why does anyone agree to premarital agreements in Florida?

Why does anyone agree to premarital agreements in Florida?

Reasons for having Florida Premarital Agreements  (the Pre-nup)

People aiming to marry use premarital agreements for a variety of reasons, a few of which may very well be interrelated. Premarital agreements help clarify the parties’ expectations and rights into the future. The agreements may avoid concerns or fears about how a Florida divorce court might divide property or spousal support in the event the union fails.

Individuals who want a future partner to sign a premarital agreement often has something they hope to secure, usually money. One partner probably wants to avoid the risk of a serious decrease in assets, earnings, or a family business in the instance of a divorce.

People marrying for the second or third time may also want to make sure certain assets or personal belongings are passed on to the children or grandchildren of prior marriages, rather than to a current spouse.

The less prosperous spouse generally is giving something up by signing a premarital agreement (or prenuptial agreement). That spouse (along with the other spouse) is agreeing to have her or his property rights determined by the agreement rather than by the standard rules of law that a court would apply on divorce or death. Courts have rules for dividing property when a couple divorces. In Florida, courts divide property as the court considers fair, and the result is less predictable. The split might be fifty-fifty or something different.

If one spouse dies, courts normally follow the decedents’  will, but under state laws the surviving spouse usually is eligible for one-third to one-half of the estate regardless of what the deceased spouse’s will says. If the couple have signed a legitimate premarital agreement, however, that agreement will supersede the typical laws for dividing property and income upon death. Oftentimes, the less wealthy spouse will receive less under the premarital agreement than he or she would receive under the usual laws of divorce or wills.

If the less wealthy spouse will get less under the agreement than under the general laws of divorce and death, why does the person opt to sign the agreement?  The answer to that question varies according to the person.

A lot of people would rather control their fiscal relationship rather than to leave it to state regulation. They might wish to avoid uncertainty about what a court might decide if the marriage ends in divorce. For some people, the solution might be “love conquers all”–the less wealthy person might just wish to marry the other person and not care much about the financial details. For others, the agreement may provide ample security, even if it’s not necessarily as generous as a judge may be. Still others might not like the agreement, but they’re prepared to take their chances and hope the partnership and the financial arrangements work out for the best.

 

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.

If I move before the divorce is final, what can I take?

If I move before the divorce is final, what can I take?

What can you take when separating?

If you decide to move out before your divorce is final and you do not have a Marital Settlement Agreement in place, try to come up with an agreement with your spouse as to who is going to take what.  If that is not possible, literally make a list of all the property in your marital home.

When making the list put everything on there… even the dresser that your Uncle Bobby’s sister’s cousin made you for your high school graduation… meaning put non-marital or pre-marital items on there (things you bought or got as a gift before you got married).  Note on the list that those items are non or pre-marital.   For the remaining items that are marital (meaning you and your spouse purchased them or received them as gifts during your marriage), use eBay, craigslist, the Flier, and the newspaper to determine the fair market value of the property and put that on your list.  Then divide up the property as close to 50/50 as possible.

Conventionally speaking, this means if you have a master bedroom set and a guest bedroom set, you take one and you leave one.  If you have a dining room set and a kitchenette set, you take one you leave one.  If you have two smaller television sets and one big set, you take either the two smaller ones or the one big set.  The idea is that you don’t strip the house bare on your way out, because if you don’t have an agreement and you take it all, you could be placing yourself in a bad position in front of the court and the judge hearing your case may not find your method of emptying out the house to be the right way to do it.

Every case is different of course, but as a rule of thumb, take half (and not just the nice half but half of all of the good, the bad, and the ugly).  Always speak to your lawyer before you make a move of this sorts in order to determine what the best course of action is for you in your individual case.

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.

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