13
Feb 18

How to Prepare for Mediation

Mediation has become a popular way for couples to handle their divorce, as it’s typically less expensive, faster, and less stressful. However, although preferred, mediation does require you to be prepared for the meetings; otherwise, it could extend how long the mediation takes to complete. If you’re not sure what you must prepare for, the following information will help you determine how to be ready for mediation.

 

Gather information.

The first thing you must do to prepare for mediation is to gather your facts and documents and have them ready. Your mediation can discuss anything from financials to child custody, so be sure you have everything you need to cover any topic. Have bank records, pay stubs, bill statements, and anything your mediator suggests to help you move the mediation along. All of these documents can help you prove your side and help the mediator come up with the best resolution for the items at stake.

 

Be organized.

Once you have all your information and documentation handy, you want to be sure it’s organized in a way that’s easy to understand. In order to keep your mediation running smoothly, you’ll want to move things along as best as you can. If your items are organized, you’ll be able to present your side and offer factual proof when needed. If you’re not organized, it will not only delay the meeting, but can also make you appear irresponsible, which can affect the outcome of the mediation.

 

Follow the rules.

Before your mediation begins, your mediator will likely have paperwork for you to fill out and information to provide. Be sure to follow these rules and stick to the timelines associated with these rules in order to ensure your mediation goes smoothly. If you fail to meet deadlines or provide all necessary information, it will simply prolong the event and can even make your ex frustrated to the point mediation simply won’t work for you.

 

Know what you want.

In addition to having your documents ready, it’s important for you to have an idea about what you want out of the mediation. For instance, if you want to keep certain items, then be sure you have these items listed so you can fight for them when it comes time to discuss them. Having some ideas on paper before the mediation can keep you on track.

 

Know how to compromise.

Being hard-headed isn’t going to get you anywhere, so you better know how to compromise. For instance, if there’s something you really want out of the mediation, then you better have something you’re willing to give up. It’s not fair for one person to walk away from the mediation with everything while the other has nothing, so finding the way to compromise can keep the mediation speedy and amicable for everyone involved.

 

Expect the unexpected.

You may have an idea of what’s going to happen or how your ex will behave, but anything can happen, and you may find yourself dealing with a situation you weren’t prepared for. Keep in mind that anything can come up during these meetings, so be sure to think about the situation and have an answer or solution to anything you think could occur.

 

Suppress your emotions.

Although going through mediation is easier than divorce, it’s still difficult to do. While you may want to share your feelings, it’s not a smart idea. Instead, you want to suppress your emotions and think and act rationally during this event. Doing so will not only keep the mediation smooth, but will help each of you walk away with what you want.

Mediation can be extremely beneficial to many couples, so be sure to use these tips to prepare yourself for what’s to come.

 

 


09
Feb 18

6 Ways to Help Manage Your Child’s Behavior During a Divorce

It can be heartbreaking to tell your kids that you’re getting a divorce. Having to deal with your child’s anger and sadness during the separation can be even more of a challenge. But in order to garner respect and positivity, both parents need to set a good example by being the best role models throughout the ordeal. The following are helpful ideas on how to best manage your child’s behavior.

Set the Same Rules at Both Households

No matter what age, your children can be strong-willed and test your patience. If you’re going through a divorce, you may notice their behavior is especially trying. If you’re living in separate residences, your children’s parental time may be divided within two households now that you’ve filed for divorce. Although you may feel bad about putting them through this upheaval, you don’t want to give them free reign. If you’ve set rules before the divorce, they need to be the same and in both households. Sit down with your ex and discuss the importance of enforcing the guidelines. If they disobey them, be unified in the repercussions such as grounding a teen for coming home late or no T.V. for poor grades.

Maintain Some Semblance of Normalcy

According to the National Family Solutions, an affordable family advocacy service, divorce can be an emotional roller coaster. That’s why it’s beneficial to have someone knowledgeable and trustworthy in your corner to assist you through this difficult ordeal. It can be also be hard on your children, so you want to find ways to remain tied to a normal schedule as much as possible. Sit your child down in advance and go over the schedule for the week. If there are activities they normally attend, do your best to ensure that they participate. Stay diligent with their studies to ensure that their grades don’t suffer. If the family gathers for dinner each evening, continue the tradition in each household. Vacations, birthdays and holidays may be also different. But you can help your child by pointing out the positives in celebrating events twice and with each parent.

Resist the Urge to Spoil Your Kids

You may have the urge to spoil your children for the demise of your marriage. But you can keep your kids from acting out by not letting the guilt overcome your parenting skills. If you overindulge by letting them do what they want and have their hearts desire, you’re going to raise out-of-control kids. Talk to your ex and set up the same parameters at both households. If there are to be large purchases, it needs to go through both parents such as a car, laptop and phone. While a child may enjoy the splurges, they’ll appreciate the value of things and limits their parents set in the long run.

Separate Your Feelings

You may harbor a lot of animosity toward your soon-to-be ex. But your children don’t need to know the intimate details of your break up. Instead of telling them about their lying, cheating and deceitful ways, find ways to separate your feelings. Remain respectful of your ex during and after the divorce. If your partner was that bad of a person, they’ll find out on their own. Children are perceptive, and they may already have an idea of the events that led to your divorce filings. If you’re the bigger person who plays fairly, your kids are going to have a better chance of adopting the same attitude. They may even take that positivity and respectfulness and use it in their own situations later in life.

Re-evaluate Your Parenting Skills

A divorce is a life-altering change. While you may want to co-parent similar to the way you did in the past, it’s normal to make changes. If you didn’t agree to your partner’s parenting skills, it’s ok to re-evaluate them. Talk to your ex to work toward changes in an amicable and respectful manner. Because your kids are going through enough at the initial stage of the divorce, you don’t want to change too many rules all at once.

Look for Signs of Stress and Anxiety

Divorce can be an emotional experience for each member of the family. If your kids are sad or angry about the separation, they may express their emotions in a variety of ways. You can be a proactive parent during the divorce by opening your eyes to the smallest of changes such as acting out at school, lack of motivation in social activities, poor grades, and change in sleep patterns and becoming more fearful. If you’re on speaking terms, both parents need to discuss the symptoms with your child. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you, enlist the help of a therapist who can help them deal with their feelings.

While the divorce may be a refreshing change for you, your child may react negatively to the disruption. The above strategies can be helpful when avoiding changes in your child’s behavior over the divorce. They may also offer ways for you to cultivate a more loving relationship in the future with your kids.

For more information, please visit www.NationalFamilySolutions.net.


01
Feb 18

When to Modify Your Child Custody Arrangement

Having a child custody arrangement ensures you and your ex still play an important role in your child’s life and that there are rules and guidelines set to help each of you navigate your parenting in the best possible way. However, your situation may change dramatically over time from when your child custody arrangement was initially drafted. For some people, they still try to make it work with the original terms, but for others, doing so is not simply an option.

There are certain instances where changing your child custody arrangement is a necessity. However, when dealing with the court system, it’s important to understand they don’t need to abide by your request, but they will consider the best interest of the child. If you have undergone any of the following changes in your life, then it’s a good idea to consider modifying your child custody arrangement.

Relocation

Your child custody arrangement is made up for you and your ex living in certain locations. However, that doesn’t mean each of you will stay there for the duration of your arrangement. Should a situation arise where one of you needs to relocate, especially if it puts you farther away from your child, then it’s a good idea to see if you can modify your arrangement. For instance, if you are moving out of state, maybe your arrangement will now include summer visitations and/or visitations during longer school breaks, like Christmas and Easter.

Opting for a modified custody arrangement is also important if you end up moving closer to your child. If you were out of state initially, then being closer to your child may allow you to have more visitation with him or her.

Environmental Changes

As a parent, it’s up to you to do the best for your child. However, some people go through hard times, and this can create bad environments for a child. If your ex has started to abuse drugs or alcohol, become violent towards your child, or express any behaviors that could put your child at risk, it’s important to ask to modify your custody arrangement. Whether the other parent has sole or joint custody, doing what you can to protect your child is the most important, so getting a judge to recognize the environment isn’t safe is imperative.

Reasons Not to Modify

In addition to having reasons that qualify for modifying your arrangement, it’s also important to note what won’t work. For instance, if your ex has different religious beliefs than your or is late on a child support payment, the judge likely will not adjust your schedule.

Whenever you decide to make a modification to your arrangement, you have a few options. First, if you and your ex agree on the changes, then you can informally make them and agree to them on your own. Just know these changes will not be done in writing, so there is no legal binding to them should anything else change in the future.

If you prefer to get them written down, you can meet with a judge and have him/her sign off on the changes you have made together.

However, should you want a change your ex doesn’t agree to, then you will need to get help through a service who has yours and your child’s best interests in mind. You will then be on your way to get your case in front of a judge who will listen to both sides of the story and make their final decision. Understand there’s no right or wrong answer for the judge, so be prepared for them to rule against you.


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.

 

 

 

 


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.


27
Feb 15

What Does Establishing Paternity Entail?

Every child deserves to know who his or her parents are, and legally establishing paternity can be the one way to tell your child about his or her father. Establishing paternity legally through the court system is an important step in building a bond between your child and his or her father, and the following information will teach you more about paternity and what it entails.

Why is establishing paternity so important?
Your child deserves to know who his or her father is, and they deserve to build a bond with his or her father. Paternity is also beneficial in providing your child with information about his or her heritage and medical history. By knowing who the father is, your child can be alerted to possible pre-existing medical conditions as well as understand where their family heritage was established.

Establishing paternity through the courts can also include monetary benefits such as child support. Both parents are financially responsible for their own child, and when you establish paternity, you can use this information to create a joint custody agreement that obligates the other parent to pay for some of the child’s needs or you can use the information to receive child support payments.

Along with monetary benefits, establishing paternity can also provide your child with insurance benefits as well as inheritance benefits.

How is paternity established?
There are different ways to establish paternity. First, if the mother is married when she gives birth, the husband is, by law, considered the father as long as the father is on the birth certificate.

If the mother is not married when the baby is born, there are two options to establish paternity. First, if the mother knows who the father is, and the father accepts his paternity obligations, the mother and father both sign documentation stating their maternal and paternal rights.

If the mother does not know who the father is, or if the assumed father contests his paternity, then a paternity test, usually through DNA or blood, will be taken to establish paternity.

I you are on the child birth certificate but still have doubts that you are the father of the child, it’s important to take a DNA test to make sure. It’s very unfortunate to start building a relationship with a child and start paying child support only to find our later than the child is in fact not biologically related to you. It’s also possible that you will be responsible for a child that’s not yours if enough time has passed and you’ve already built a strong relationship with the child.

How long can paternity be established?
The limitation on establishing paternity varies from state to state and county to county. However, even if your child is beyond the limitation and they want to know whom their father is, he or she and the assumed father can still opt to take a DNA test on their own. If the limitation has run out, the mother may or may not be able to collect back child support payments, depending on the laws in your specific state.

Some court houses have recommended paternity clinics that they recommend. You can contact your local court house to get instructions on their paternity procedures.

What happens after paternity is established?
Once paternity has been established, it’s up to you to determine what you want to do with the information. You can use it to create a child custody agreement between you and the father so that both parents can equally raise the child. If the father does not acknowledge his paternity, you also have the option of taking legal action against him. There are many different parenting plan options that can be incorporated into a legal and physical custody arrangement. Choosing one that is in the best interest of your child is imperative. Before deciding, weigh your options and consider the best interest of your child and what works best for you and your Ex. Keep in mind that family law courtroom judge’s don’t want both parent’s to be in a child life and don’t want children to have to choose between parents. Taking these factors into consideration can make establish paternity and custody go a lot smoother.

 


22
Aug 14

Should You Get Divorced Now or When the Kids Turn 18

Making the decision to get divorced is never easy. And adding kids to the mix makes it even worse. While some parents get divorced when the marriage becomes troublesome, other parents decide to stick the relationship out until the kids are old enough and custody is no longer an issue.

If you have kids and are contemplating divorce, you may be questioning whether you should get divorced now or wait until your kids turn 18. The choice is ultimately up to you, but the following information may help you make up your mind.

 If you get divorced now, your child may have to go to court.

If you and your soon-to-be-ex have children that are old enough to understand what is happening (the age varies from state to state), he or she may be old enough to tell the judge who they want to live with. Depending on their age and the severity of your custody battle, he or she may even be forced to choose between both parents and tell the court which parent they would rather live with. Before deciding on whether or not to get divorced, be sure to know whether or not your child will be forced to participate in the court proceedings and whether or not you will want to put them through that (as well as be able to live with the consequences if they don’t choose to live with you).

 If you wait to get divorced, it could make you and your children miserable.

Although waiting to get divorced until your children are 18 may seem like a safer and less intrusive bet, it could actually be worse. After all, there is hope that you and your spouse could divorce amicably, leaving no resentment or forced court proceedings on your child. Plus, if you wait, your loveless marriage will eventually start to show. Your child will start to see that you’re unhappy, and it may even make you irritable and force you and your spouse to fight regularly. This is likely not the upbringing you desired for your child, so if you think your well-being and the well-being of your children will suffer if you put it off, then don’t.

If you get divorced now, or if you wait to get divorced, it will take time to heal.

If you are waiting to get divorced because you don’t want your child to be mad at you or resent you, it’s important to know that he or she will have some sort of strange feeling about your divorce no matter when it happens. Both children and adult children of divorce need time to process the information as well as time to heal. If you get divorced now, know that your child will eventually forgive you for the pain he or she may feel because of it. If you get divorced later, your child may still be upset with you, and it will still take time to heal the wound. Just remember that no matter when it happens, feelings will be hurt and hearts will be broken, no matter the child’s age.

 

 


24
Nov 12

What Is There To Know?

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23
Nov 12

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17
Nov 12

All about National Family Solutions.

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