04
Jan 18

What to Do When Your Child Doesn’t Want to Live With You

Being a parent is one of the toughest jobs you’ll ever encounter, and the unconditional love you feel is enough to make you want to do anything in the world for your child. However, sometimes parent/child relationships can become strained, whether it’s due to your behaviors or the behaviors of your child. In most cases, the parent and child need to figure out how to make it work, but in some cases, other options are available. For instance, if you and your ex are divorced and you have sole or joint custody of the child, it’s possible for your child to make up their own mind when they hit a specific age. So what do you do when your child doesn’t want to live with you?

 

Talk to Your Child

If your child is adamant about not wanting to live with you or not wanting to hold any visitation with you, the best thing for you to do is to talk with your child about his/her feelings. Maybe this is just their way of acting out, or maybe they do have some valid concerns that you weren’t completely aware of. By talking with your child, maybe you can work out whatever differences there may be.

 

Talk with a Legal Representative

If your conversations with your child don’t help you resolve the issue, the next step would be to talk with a legal representative about child visitation. In most states, a child is bound by the parenting agreement until he or she is 18. This is only changed if proof of neglect or abuse can be made against one of the parents. In addition, your child may be able to tell the court that he/she doesn’t want to live with you, but that doesn’t mean the court will rule in his/her favor. Instead, your child’s wishes will simply be recorded, but no change will be done in a legal setting.

 

Try Counseling

Sometimes just talking things out with one another doesn’t always work, and you need the help of an unbiased third party. Try to attend some family counseling sessions with your child. Maybe being able to talk openly about feelings in front of someone else will help your child fully understand how their actions are making you feel, and maybe it can allow the both of you to come to a resolution.

 

Decide What You Want to Do

While the court can rule your child is required to stay with you or required to visit you, it doesn’t mean your relationship with your child will get better. Instead, this could actually put more strain on your relationship, and that’s the last thing you want to do. While you want to spend quality time with your child, it’s not always worth it if you’re constantly arguing or fighting. If this is the case, you need to decide what to do as the parent. Do you want to allow your child to have the final say in where they live and how often they see you, or do you want to be the one making the rules? If you decide to allow your child to stay with the other parent, you’ll want to go through the court system to ensure the documentation has been changed.

No parent wants to lose time with their child, but being a parent means being able to make tough decisions when they come your way.  If you find yourself in a situation where your child no longer wants to live with you, use these tips to help the both of you come to an agreement that keeps your relationship strong and healthy.

 

 

 

 


28
Dec 17

What to do if you can’t afford an attorney

There may come a time when you’re in need of an attorney, but with the high cost associated with reputable lawyers, it’s often difficult to pay for one. If you’re stuck in a poor financial situation, you may be unable to afford an attorney out of pocket, and this could be detrimental to your legal needs. However, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. Below are a few great options for you to consider when you cannot afford an attorney on your own.

 

Look for free legal aid.

The US government knows that having access to a lawyer is important, which is why there are plenty of governments and organizations dedicated to providing legal services to low-income individuals or families. Reach out to any organizations near you to see if they’d be willing to take your case. Most of them will at least offer a consultation, so you can find out what your next steps should be.

 

Try a law school.

There is a decent amount of people in law school looking to practice their skills, and many law students are able to practice in a court under the supervision of a real lawyer. These schools often have programs to help those in need, so contact a local law school and see if they have any programs that could use your case. If so, you may be able to get free legal services just by helping the students learn a real-life experience.

 

Look for pro bono attorneys.

Oftentimes attorneys offer pro bono cases a few times a year. There are multiple reasons why these attorneys do this, so it’s important to look for those who do more than one per year. Do a little research online to find some recommendations, and then contact these places to see if you can get some work done for nothing. Be sure to also look for a pro bono attorney who works on the cases you need. For instance, if you’re in need of child custody attorney, be sure you’re looking for a pro bono attorney who specializes in that specific area.

 

Try to represent yourself.

The legal system gives you the option of having a lawyer represent your or representing yourself. Obviously, this will not cost you any money to do, but you will need opt familiarize yourself with the way the court runs as well as the different laws needed in your case. The court will give you some leeway, but you’ll still need to keep the events moving forward at a steady pace. If you choose this option, National Family Solutions can help you.

 

Opt for an alternative method.

Sometimes you may not actually need to go to court. Depending on the reason for your legal needs, you may be able to find a different way to solve your problems. For instance, if you are in the middle of a custody battle, you could opt for mediation instead of going to court. This lets you and your spouse work things out with a legal professional without having to pay court fees and spend a long time getting it accomplished. Chances are there will be fees associated with this, but it likely will not cost nearly as much as paying out of pocket for a real legal team.

Having to deal with the law can be stressful, and the last thing you need is the burden of paying for an attorney if you simply don’t have the money. However, if you use these suggestions, you may be able to find the legal services you need without breaking the bank.


20
Dec 17

Co-Parenting and Holidays: How to Make it Work

Sharing custody of your child with the other parent can be challenging, but it often becomes more difficult when the holiday season starts to come by. After all, no parent wants to be without his/her child on the holidays, but it’s often a necessity in a shared custodial agreement. Instead of allowing this issue to stress you out, it’s a good idea for you and the other parent to find the best possible way to make it work. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will also cause less stress for your child as well, and that’s the ultimate goal. Check out these tips to make co-parenting around the holidays work.

 

Follow the court’s ruling.

In most cases, your co-parenting will likely have a custody arrangement that includes holiday schedules. Most courts will have made this fair, so the best thing for each parent to do is to follow this exactly as it was written out in order to avoid any court-related grievances. However, in the case that you feel the court’s ruling is unfair, you can always petition for a new ruling or you can talk to your ex about creating your own holiday co-parenting agreement on your own.

 

Make it fair.

If you are opting to create your own holiday schedule, the best thing to do is to make it fair for each parent to spend time with the child on holidays. For instance, you can opt for an every-other-year arrangement, whereas you trade off having your child on decided holidays. As an example, if one parent had the child for Easter, then the other parent gets the child for Thanksgiving. The next year, you can switch, so each parent gets the child on different holidays. Should you have holidays you each prefer, maybe you can be fair in simply allowing the parent to have that holiday every year while you have another.

 

You should also be sure that holiday breaks for your child are also fair. For instance, if your child has a two-week Christmas break, then one parent should get the child for a week in order to celebrate appropriately.

 

Be realistic.

One of the biggest holiday challenges is Christmas, as most parents want to see their child’s face on Christmas morning. However, again you need to be fair in your custody arrangement around Christmas. Again, you can opt for the every other year arrangement, or maybe one of you can take Christmas Eve while the other takes Christmas Day. Whenever you’re deciding the best schedule, just be fair with one another. If one parent always gets Christmas morning, it’s unfair to the other parent.

 

Do it together.

One way to totally avoid these co-parenting holiday issues is for each of you to act like an adult and celebrate together. For instance, maybe you can all get together on Christmas morning or night to celebrate the holidays with one another, even if there are other family members involved. Remember that this event is about your child and his/her feelings, not yours, so you need to keep your personal feelings away from the situation. You can alternate whose house you celebrate at every year so that it’s comfortable and fair for everyone. Keep it simple by just allowing your child to open presents and eat some holiday breakfast, and then you can move on to celebrate the rest of the day how you see fit.

Spending time with your child on the holidays is always a joy for parents, and sharing custody with the other parent shouldn’t put a damper on this. Instead, do what you can to create an even holiday schedule and rest assured you’re creating great memories with your child.


28
Nov 17

How to Handle Joint Custody During the Holidays

The holiday seasons is already stressful, and adding joint custody to the mix adds a level of stress that nobody wants to deal with. Even if you have a joint custody agreement in place that already defines how you handle the holidays, there are always exceptions to the rules based on schedules and gatherings. If you and your ex have joint custody, the following tips will help you handle it better when the holiday season approaches.

 

Defer to the parenting agreement.

The best thing for you to do is to defer to the parenting agreement. Chances are the courts have already detailed how you should split custody during the holidays, so if you are ever in need of any questions, this will be the best thing to do. Most court systems find ways to make it fair, so you should understand that this agreement allows parents to have equal time with the child when the holidays approach.

 

Talk it out.

If you need to make adjustments to the child custody agreement, the best thing to do is to talk it out with your ex. Sometimes schedules change or plans change, and you may need your child on a different day than anticipated. If this occurs, just talk to your ex about it. Be willing to give up another day to take your child on a different day. This way, you can ensure you and your ex still have equal time with the child during the holidays but that it fits in better with each of your schedules.

 

Be fair.

No parent wants to give up time with their child, but you need to understand you’re both parents to the child and your child deserves time with each of you. No matter what your schedule may be, it’s important that you’re fair. Be sure you and your ex are getting equal time with your child during the holidays. This means sharing the important dates, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or Christmas Day. When you’re fair, you’ll be doing the right thing for your child and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

 

Make plans early.

The best way to avoid any issues is to make your holiday plans as early as possible. When you wait to the last minute and try to change custody dates, this is when problems arise. However, when you can make your holiday schedule early, it will allow you to talk with your ex about it so that each of you can make your plans based on the information you’re providing. If you need to wait on a work schedule, try to talk with your boss to see if it’s possible to get your schedule in advance so you can make arrangements. If you are waiting on holiday schedules from family, be sure to ask them for dates and times of family get-togethers early so you have the ability to plan for your child custody quickly.

 

Do what you can to make it easy.

Because the holidays are so stressful and busy, the last thing you need to do it make it all harder. Be willing to do whatever you can to make this situation easy. Maybe this means driving your child to and from the different places, or maybe it means doing your holiday celebration early in the morning or later at night to give equal time with both parents. By doing what you can to make it easy, you’ll make the holidays that much better on your child.

Every parent wants to spend time with their child during the holidays, and although it may be tough, doing what you can to handle joint custody will be better for everyone involved.


14
Nov 17

Benefits of Counseling During and After Divorce

Going through a divorce can take a major toll on your mental health, and it often requires the help of a professional in order to get through this tough time. For most people, seeking counseling once the divorce is over tends to be a popular option, but you can also benefit from counseling during the actual divorce process. Aside from giving you someone to talk to who’s unbiased, receiving counseling provides a variety of other benefits. See why counseling may be the best option for you during and  after your divorce.

 

Counseling can help you manage stress.

Going through a divorce will be extremely stressful, and sometimes it’s hard to manage stress in the healthiest possible way. When you’re going through a divorce, talking to a counselor can help you learn the best ways to manage your stress that’s beneficial for you, especially if your divorce involves children. You don’t want to suffer because of your divorce, and you don’t want your children to either. Your counselor can help you recognize your personal signs of stress and teach you the healthiest and best ways to cope with those stressors. By doing so, you’ll be able to handle the divorce in the  best possible way.

 

Counseling can help you gain perspective.

Sometimes divorce can make you feel confused, especially if you believe the divorce came out of nowhere. At the same time, if you were the one who asked for the divorce, a counselor can help you make sense of your own feelings and emotions during this time. Either way, the counselor is there to help you gain perspective on the actual divorce and help you determine the cause.

 

Counseling can provide advice.

While talking to people during a divorce is key to help you not internalize your feelings, it can also be destructive if you’re talking to people who only have your best interests in mind. Instead, opting to talk with a counselor allows you to talk with someone who doesn’t have an opinion of you or your spouse, which allows them to make advice based on the information you share, not their own personal feelings. This way, you can use the advice to try and move forward with your life and not get caught up in the drama of your divorce.

 

Counseling can help you adjust.

Your divorce will be a big change in your life. You will now be living on your own, paying bills on your own, making decisions on your own, and sometimes being a single parent. All of this can be chaotic, especially at first. When you talk with a counselor, you’ll have someone who can help you adjust to your life after the divorce is finalized. They can help you gain perspective on yourself and determine if there are personal things you need to work on. They can help you develop coping mechanisms to better handle stressful situations. They can even help you set goals for yourself that can help you grow and strengthen over time, even after your divorce. With the help of a professional counselor, you can be on your way to a happy life.

 

Counselors are there for a reason, and it’s a smart idea for you to start seeking their professional help once the divorce starts to happen. This way, you can develop a relationship with your counselor and use the advice and tools they provide to help you better manage the situation. Once the divorce is over, continuing to see them allows you to remain making good decisions that will benefit you.


25
Aug 16

Don’t Let Your Divorce Bankrupt You!

There are so many mistakes that you can make during a messy divorce that can land you in a position where you might feel that bankruptcy is the only way out.  Divorces are expense and attorney and expert fees can rack up quickly costing you thousands.  The sad thing is that in many cases, you might be expected to continually pay more out while your ex is able to get away with little to no representation.  There are some things that you can do to avoid becoming bankrupt when you are going through a divorce.

 Know Who Your Lawyer is Working For

In far too many cases, clients end up with attorneys who do not seem to really be working as hard as they can for them.  In these cases, you can end up with continuing legal bills and fees and no real chance to have the money that you deserve to take care of your problems.  When you are going through a divorce, make sure that you budget out what you can afford for legal fees.  If you are going to be going through a lengthy trial, try to find ways that you can cut costs by doing research or providing paperwork for your attorney that will help speed along the process and end up costing you thousands less.  Be open and honest with your attorney about what you can afford and what you are willing to pay out of your pocket.

If you notice that your attorney starts asking for more money before delivering results, make sure that you are open and honest and have a talk with them.  Explain what you were promised during your consultations and discuss outcomes so far vs what you were expecting for money that had been previously paid.  Ask them for a detailed breakdown of every invoice. Keeping your lawyer in check is important to ensure that he is really working his best for you.  You can also ensure that you end up in a divorced situation and that you end up with what you are expecting from your attorney.

 

 Don’t Be Afraid of Second Opinions

 One of the biggest mistakes that people make when going through a divorce is that they do not seek out second opinions from attorneys or anyone else. Make sure that you are willing to look for what you want by seeking out an attorney that might be a better match than your first.  Choosing the right attorney can be scary since retainers typically run in the thousands and if you are trying to avoid bankruptcy then you are going to want to find someone who is going to be affordable and willing to help you.

 Consider Legal Aid

 If you do not have a steady income or if you are not making a considerable amount of money, then you are going to want to consider checking out what might be available to you from legal aid.  In many cases, legal aid is available to help those who do not have a lot of money so that they do not go broke trying to afford legal fees.  Sometimes legal aid will not accept cases that are going to require a ton of ground work or additional help so make sure that you are really looking at the big picture of what you need when you are going through your divorce.  If you do not need to fight over something, don’t.  Choosing to simplify your requests can help you to get an attorney that is going to be more affordable and cost friendly for you.

 Consider Legal Aid a Family Advocacy Program

 If you prefer not to hire an attorney and you don’t qualify for legal aid, another option is to go through a low cost family law service. Programs such as National Family Solutions have a nationwide network of attorneys and Legal Documents Assistants that prepared all the necessary documents for family law cases and guide you through the filing, serving and representation process. Choosing an option such as this could help you save thousands of dollars in retainer fees and billable hours, but you will have to be willing to do some of the legwork yourself.

In conclusion, divorces can get very expensive and they could quickly put you in a financial bind. Don’t do things out of spite to get back at the other party because you will only be hurting yourself at the end. A successful divorce isn’t always about being right.  Remember to explore your option and see what’s best for you, your children and your finances.


26
Jul 16

Using Email to Create a Custody Log for Record Keeping

One of the most crucial pieces of evidence that you can use in court is a parenting log, also called a custody log.  This log will show times that custodial and non-custodial parents have children as well as when they do not take advantage of their time with the children.    There are many things that you should note in a custody journal and keeping one through email is a great way to easily be able to update the journal through texts or emails at the time of drop offs or pick-ups.

 How to Use Email to Create a Custody Log

The first thing that you will want to do if you are going to use email as a custody log is create a new email account that is only used for this purpose.  Each time that your child is picked up or dropped off with the other parent, make sure that you send an email to the account with a text message.  This is simple and easy and gives you a record that is time and date stamped.

Another thing that you will want to do is make notes in the texts or actually send emails if you need longer notes for different things that occur during times that your child’s other parent has them.  Make note of your child’s behavior, their moods, and the things that they say in the email.  You should also be sure to point out when the other parent is late with pick-ups or drop offs.  You can make note of when they were supposed to pick up and missed visits or canceled them.  It’s also a great way to keep track of communication about trading visits or working something out.  You can simply copy and paste your ex’s texts or take screen shots of them and email these to the account.  This way you always have the ability to look something up when you need to.

In addition to these things, you can keep record of communication that you have with the other parent, information about medical appointments or school issues, and even help keep track of milestones and developments for your child.  In addition, make sure that you keep track of issues that you want to discuss with your child’s other parent or information that you want to make sure that you relate to them.  You can even have the other parent create their own journal email so that you can email these issues back and forth between the two of you with a clear record of when you are notifying them and what they choose to do with said information.

This email is a great way to keep track of everything that you want to remember about your child.  It is also a clear record that you can use in court if questions arise with how one of you are taking care of your child or communicating with one another.  If you have a clear email chain, the other parent cannot deny receiving important information or being told about something that was important.

 How the Email Journal Can Be Used in Court

It is easy to print emails.  One of the things that you can do before you go to court is print all of the emails that you have saved as well as all of the information that was shared between the two parents.  This is a great way to keep details of everything that you have been involved in.

 Reasons You Should Maintain Custody Journal

If disputes occur in court, as they often do, having a journal that is time stamped and has all of the information in it can help to prove that what you are saying is true.  You can’t change the time on an email to suit your needs so it’s important that you are sending these emails as they occur.  In addition, it can help you to show that you are doing the things that you agreed to and whether or not the child’s time with the other parent is interfering with their behaviors or education in any way.  In addition, it can help you to provide information that can help set up a more appropriate child custody schedule should things need to be changed.

Plus, if you are recording important milestones, information about school and activities, or other information that needs to be shared with your child’s other parents then it is going to help to show that you are following through with your effort to provide good communication.   Your ex won’t be able to deny that they did certain things or that they were not notified of something if you have a clear record that shows that they were.  Having a journal also helps give you peace of mind that you are not going to have to provide information or proof to a judge in the future should there be any issues, everything will be contained in one neat and tidy place that is easy for your to access.