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Help Your Kids Deal With the Effects of Divorce

Help Your Kids Deal With the Effects of Divorce

When parents are going through a divorce, one of their biggest priorities is making sure their children get the emotional support they need. Ideally, parents would like to minimize the impact of the divorce as much as possible. In order to make the divorce easier on the children, parents should recognize how divorce commonly affects kids, and take the necessary steps to make the process as painless as possible. Research on children and divorce typically show that kids will experience a sense of loss. This feeling of loss can manifest in a variety of different ways, depending on several factors. For instance, younger children may show signs of regression in areas such as toilet training, or they may throw more tantrums. Older children and teens tend to experience their loss as depression, rebellion, or other changes to their sleeping or eating habits. Whatever the child’s experience is, parents play a huge part in easing their child’s pain. No matter what your child’s age is, the most important thing to do is to be cooperative and non-confrontational, and to continually ensure your child that you love them and that they will always have two parents. There are several other ways to properly communicate with your child while you are reassuring them. First of all, try not to vent to your child about your own frustrations regarding the divorce. It is fine to be open and honest about your feelings, and it may make your child comfortable enough to open up about how they feel. However, try not to stress your child out with details about your own difficulties. Even years...

Can you Mediate your Divorce?

Mediation, in a Family Law matter, involves a neutral third party who attempts to “facilitate” settlement negotiations between the divorcing parties. Mediation is a process where a neutral person assists in the communication between the parties to help them in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. Couples that seek a separation or divorce often seek this avenue to resolve issues with regard to child custody and visitation timeshare plans, child support, spousal support, and property division. Mediation can be completed by a single attorney, costs can be split by the parties, and if an agreement is reached the parties can avoid costly court battles. Advantages of mediation include the probability of reduced conflict between spouses; which benefit the children. Compliance is typically higher with mutually agreed upon terms, as opposed to court ordered mandates. Very important to many, the costs associated with mediation are substantially less than the adversarial process; and support agreements may provide for additional “perks” such as agreements regarding college tuition, private school, and extra-curricular activities, that the parties may not obtain from the courts. Mediation is not always the answer. The disadvantages include the lack of discovery, if one party fears the other is not being honest and forthcoming with disclosures. Mediation may not include the use of experts to valuate assets, such as land, incorporated businesses, and retirements. Joint custody agreement of children is the “norm” with mediation; if “joint custody” is not in the best interest of your child, mediation may be difficult to complete. California law mandates that parents attend a publicly funded court mediation program, to determine whether a custody/visitation agreement might...

Child Support

The Huffington Post just reported that model Linda Evangelista has requested a New York court to award her $46,000 a month in child support, even though she is worth $8,000,000.00. Some same the figure is extreme and others justify it with her need for a nanny and personal driver for her daughter. As in California, the figure is someone based upon the father’s $5.2 million base-income from last year. California Family Code states that BOTH parents are obligated to support their child “in the manner suitable to the child’s circumstances.” The Courts use a “statewide uniform child support guideline” formula which allows the judge or commissioner to input several numbers (primarily income and custodial timeshare) and in return the program spits out the “support amount” to be paid. The formula used by the Court does not take into account how much money one parent will have left over or whether that parent will be able to pay the remainder of his/her bills. The formula does not take into account the “new spouse’s” additional income if one of the parents is remarried, either. Under specific circumstances, based on the ability and opportunity to work, the Court may impute income to one or the other parent, even if they are not working. The Court recognizes Family Code § 4053 which states that, “A parent’s first and principal obligation is to support his or her minor children according to the parent’s circumstances and station in life.” “Each parent should pay for the support of the children according to his or her ability.” “Children should share in the standard of living of both...

Financial Preplanning for Divorce

The financial impact of a divorce may be greater than most of us expect. If you have been the “stay at home” parent, you may find yourself without income and may need a support order to sustain life. You may be coming to the realization that one-half of your worth with be gone; overnight. However, with some planning, you can minimize the impact if you think about your finances prior to moving towards a divorce. 1. Do some planning. It is important to know how a divorce will impact your financial goals. Establish which items may be lost and need to be replaced, therefore having an effect on your immediate cash flow. Have an understanding of where your new financial obligations may be, with regard to potential support orders. Understand future expenses, if your children are young, including school tuition, car insurance, or other large purchases, so as not to be caught off guard as time moves forward. 2. Realize that not all assets are created equal. During the course of a divorce, it is important to realize that assets have financial value and emotional value. Although sentimental value items are important, they will not pay the bills. If your wealth is sufficient that the division of property does not demand your concerns over real value, then this may not be a problem. It may be tempting to fight for the residence, but the fact that the asset requires a mortgage payment that is considerably more than you can maintain would be detrimental in the long run. Assets, such as retirement plans which are tax-deferred, are an asset worth...

Child Custody

When asking the Court for custody or visitation of your child, the court will look to the “best interest of your child.” The Court may order “Supervised Visitation” in certain cases and it can be defined as visitation limited to special situations where a third party is present with the visiting parent during the period of visitation. Supervised visitation (or “monitored visitation”) may be the order of the Court when there is a need to protect children due to past or current substance abuse, child abuse or neglect, family violence, or other serious problems. The Court may also make orders for supervised visitation when children are getting to know a previously absent parent, during the reunification process. If the Court makes an order for supervision, there are three options for providers: non-professionals, professionals, and therapeutic providers. Non-professionals are not paid for their supervision service and are typically a family member or friend; they are usually required to be of a certain age, with a clean criminal record for a certain amount of time, with no financial dependence upon the parent being supervised, and no other conflicts. Professional supervisors are paid for their services and are usually strangers to the parent/child being supervised. Professionals have age requirements, clean criminal records, the ability to speak the language of the parties involved, no other conflicts of interests, and agree to abide by and enforce the court orders regarding visitation. Therapeutic providers are licensed mental health professionals who are paid for providing visitation services; these include a psychologist, psychiatrist, clinical social worker, etc. A therapeutic provider should meet the requirements of a professional...

Can I Get an Annulment?

I have been asked several times recently about the difference between a divorce and an annulment. It might be because many people were raised to believe that “until death do us part” really meant just that; so the idea of an annulment is the easiest way to justify the divorce they need but can’t sell to the family. An annulment is the legal process that renders a marriage “null and void” and is different than a divorce, (which recognizes the marriage and terminates it). The annulment says that the marriage was never good from the beginning. Renee Zellwegger, who had her four-month marriage to Kenny Chesney annulled, claimed fraud; as did Britney Spears who was only married for about fifty-hours to her friend from high-school love interest. Although fraud is the popular, “catch-all” claim to an annulment, so is being a minor at the time of marriage (with conditions), being married at the time, or being mentally/physically incapable to enter into a marriage or marriage...