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.





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.

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.

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.

Oct 17

How to Talk to Your Child About Divorce

Divorce is a very tricky subject, especially when you and your spouse decide to split, but still need to tell your child. Although the conversation is going to be tough, there are certain things you can do to ensure your child is fully aware of what’s happening and doesn’t feel as if you are attacking them in any way. When it comes to talking to your child about a divorce, here are a few steps you and your spouse should follow.


Do it together.

Even if the divorce isn’t amicable, it’s still very important you and your spouse talk to your child about the divorce together. This way, you are still providing a united front for your child, and you are giving them the ability to ask either of you questions without allowing one parent to sabotage the conversation or try and sway the child into feeling a certain way. Pick a time and a place where you can have your child’s undivided attention, and then use that as a time to tell your child about the decision the two of you have made. Even if you don’t agree, it’s still important you both talk with your child without arguing or pointing blame, as this isn’t beneficial to the conversation.


Answer the questions.

Your child is going to have a lot of questions after hearing that their parents are splitting up, so it’s important you allow your child to ask questions and then answer them honestly. For instance, your child will likely want to know the reason why as well as if there was something they did wrong. Reassure your child this isn’t their fault, and then tell them that the two of you just cannot make it work together anymore. Some questions may be difficult for you to answer, but do the best you can to give your child the straightest answers possible.


Prepare them for the changes.

During a divorce, things in your child’s life are going to change, so you need to make them aware about what’s going to happen. For instance, if one parent will have sole custody of the child, it’s important for the child to know who they will be living with and where, as well as how often they’ll see the other parent. If all of this has yet to be determined, tell your child that you will plan to share time with each parent as best as you can until an arrangement has been made by the courts. Should this divorce also result in your child needing to move or switch schools, this is also information you will want to let them know.


Offer them someone to talk to.

Chances are your child may be angry with you, which means they are not going to want to talk to you. While you will need to give them time to process their emotions, you also need to make sure they are not penting all this anger up inside. Be sure you are willing to give them someone to talk to, whether a family friend, a relative, or even a professional child counselor. Having someone to share feelings with can help your child work through their issues around the divorce and make it healthier for everyone in the long run.


Be prepared for their reaction.

Children can get sad, angry or act like they don’t care, and while you can’t assume to know how your child will react, it’s necessary for you to be prepared for any reaction. Make sure that you and your soon-to-be-ex hold that united front and don’t let your child get out of control.

Talking about divorce with your child is not something you ever hoped to do, but when it becomes a reality, using these tips can make it easier on everyone.

Oct 17

How to Make Shared Parenting Work

Studies have shown that shared parenting is the best option for children after a divorce. That’s because shared parenting allows the child to still have a relationship with both parents, which is beneficial for their well-being. However, shared parenting requires both parents to make an effort that puts the child’s best interests in mind and forces the two of you to work together in a way that works for everyone. If you have recently experienced shared parenting, here are a few tips that will help you and your ex make it work in the best possible way.



The best way for you and your ex to make this shared parenting work is to communicate effectively with one another. This allows you to share important information regarding your child and keeps you both on the same page regarding how your child is being raised. For instance, open communication allows you to discuss your child’s schedule as well as anything you may want to discuss, such as your child’s college plans, their most recent group of friends, their health issues, etc.

Communicating can be done in whatever way works best for the two of you. For instance, if you and your ex communicate better via text, then use that as your method of communication. If you prefer to talk things out, then set aside time every week to have a phone call or meet in person to discuss your child. As long as you have an open line of communication that works, you’ll be able to raise your child in the best possible way.


Stay United

Even though you don’t live in the same household, you and your ex need to stay united when it comes to raising your child. If one of you is more lenient than the other, it can make your child start to desire less time with you, and that’s not fair. Be sure the both of you have the same rules at your house regarding curfew, friends, and general everyday rules. By doing this, you’ll ensure your child is being raised as if you were in the same house.

In addition to having the same rules, you need to stay united when decisions are made by the other parent. For instance, if your ex grounded your child from their phone, then be sure child is still grounded from his/her phone when at your house. If you disregard the other parent’s rules, it shows your child that the two of you can be separated, and this can open you up to dealing with other issues as your child gets older.


Follow the Agreement

Chances are the court system or mediator has created an agreement for you and your ex to follow. If both of you can follow this agreement in the best possible way, it will ensure there aren’t any issues in the future. However, because situations change, it’s often possible changes will need to be made to the agreement. By staying open with the other parent and ensuring these changes are made in a legal way, you can help make your shared parenting plan work effectively for everyone involved.

Shared parenting can be tough to accomplish, but it’s important for your child. Work hard with the other parent to ensure you’re both doing what you can to raise your child in the best possible way.

Oct 17

5 Mistakes Parents Make When Getting Divorced

On your wedding day, you never think that you and the love of your life, your soul mate, your partner in crime will ever get divorced; however, as you get older, things change, people change, and divorce becomes a reality. If you have kids, it puts a bigger strain on the divorce, but it’s important to remember that your child always comes first. Unfortunately, divorce brings up a lot of heated emotions, and many parents find themselves making mistakes they’ll soon regret. If you are in thinking about or in the middle of a divorce, here are five mistakes not to make.

Mistake #1: Talking Bad About Each Other

People get divorced for a variety of reasons, and sometimes this makes one parent feel passionately angry towards the other parent. Regardless of what happened or how you feel, you need to remember that the other parent is still a parent of your child, and your child needs to see you and that parent getting along and being respectful. Speaking bad about the other parent or trying to put your child in the middle as a spy will only turn out to cause problems, and this could also be stressful for your child and make them lose respect for you. If you really want to talk about your feelings, it’s better to do so with the help of a counselor.

Mistake #2: Being Greedy

Obviously your child is your whole world, and the last thing you want to do is lose time with that child. However, divorce means having to allow your child to spend time with each parent, which means you need to give up some of that time with your child to the other parent. During the divorce proceedings, you may try to take out your feelings towards your ex by trying to fight for sole custody or trying to limit the amount of time they have with the child. Although you may feel some initial satisfaction from this, remember that it’s only doing your child harm not to spend time with both parents, so don’t be greedy just to stick it to your ex.

Mistake #3: Avoiding Legalities

If you have an amicable divorce, you may try to decide things like visitation or child support arrangements on your own; however, this creates plenty of loopholes that can come back to be a problem in the future. In fact, according to Raleigh lawyers Marshall & Taylor LLC, “child support arrangements can become difficult even after the divorce is finalized.” Even if you don’t want to go through the hassle of court, you can always opt for mediation to try and settle your situation in the best way. This not only allows you to do things more amicably, but it’s also legally binding, which keeps both you and your ex protected should you need it.

Mistake #4: Internalizing

As an adult, you take on a lot of responsibilities and stresses, and divorce will only add to that. Even if you feel as if the divorce isn’t affecting you, it may just not be something you’re noticing. Be sure that you are not internalizing your feelings and instead are seeking the help you need to make this smoother on you. If this requires you to seek professional counseling, then do so. If you need to ask friends or family members for assistance, then do so. Nobody is expecting you to walk away from this divorce without a struggle, and asking for help is better for you and your child.

Mistake #5: Hiding it

Your child may not need to know the gory details about your divorce, but you don’t need to try and pretend that everything is fine if it’s not. Once you and your ex decide that divorce is the option you’re going with, you need to talk with your child about. Explain why you are getting divorced and what will happen in the future. Be sure to constantly reinforce the divorce is not their fault and there’s nothing they could do to make it work. Be sure to explain that they will still see both parents and what changes, if any, will happen in their life, such as if they will be moving, going to a new school, etc. Keep in mind that divorce can be stressful on your child, so be sure you are prepared to have them talk with a professional if it needs to be done.

Nobody wants to go through divorce, especially with kids, but if you do, be sure to avoid these mistakes.





Oct 17

Post-Divorce Parenting: Rules You Should Both Follow

Getting divorced sucks, but getting divorced with children sucks even worse. You don’t want to make your children unhappy or stressed, but staying in a loveless marriage for the sake of your children can actually do more harm than good. If you’ve already gotten divorced, it’s important for you and your ex to still be actively involved in your child’s life. This means that, even though you may have differences with each other, you still need to act as a team and indulge in post-divorce parenting together. Here are rules you both should follow to ensure your children are happy, safe, and healthy even after the divorce.


Communicate often.

Regardless of your personal feelings toward your ex, you both need to communicate with one another, whether through phone calls, emails, or text messages. This way, you can both be sure you’re aware of everything going on in your child’s life, from sports schedules, to after-school activities, to their general well-being. Make it a point to keep each other in the loop when you hear of something regarding your child, or maybe schedule a weekly call with one another to discuss anything you deem is important.


List you both as contacts.

It’s more common today for parents to either be divorced or never married, so schools and organizations have started to separate the parental boxes on forms for children. Whether you’re signing your child up for school or an after-school activity, be sure you both are listed as contacts. This way, if important emails or text messages are sent out regarding news or schedule changes, each of you can be in the know and won’t have to rely on the other parent to keep you informed.


Don’t put your child in the middle.

It may be hard for you to keep your feelings to yourself, but you need to do it for your child’s sake. Do not ever put your child in the middle of a spat between you and your ex, and do not ever talk bad about the other parent in front of your child. They love the other parent unconditionally, and it’s not your place to try and ruin that relationship just because you have your own feelings or agenda.


Put your child first.

It’s easy for parents to become selfish and want more time with the child, but that’s not fair and you need to remember to put your child first. For instance, be sure you have a parenting agreement in place that delivers a solid child custody agreement between the two of you. Be fair with this agreement to ensure the child has equal time with both parents, including on holidays and on birthdays. Although you may not want to give up time with your child, you need to understand that your child benefits from having time with both parents, so suck it up and make it equal.


Make decisions together.

Of course you don’t have to talk to your ex about everything your child wants to do when with you, but when it comes to big decisions, it’s important to make them both together. For instance, if your child wants to go away with friends for the weekend after prom, be sure you and your ex discuss it together. If your child’s doctor is suggesting a certain medication, treatment, or surgery for some type of illness, be sure to make that decision together.


Post-divorce parenting is going to be tough, but that doesn’t mean the two of you can’t make it work for your child’s sake. By following these rules, you can create a better relationship with one another that benefits your child.

Sep 17

What to Do if Ex Stops Paying Child Support?

Your divorce proceedings usually decide which parent will pay child support, how much will be paid, and how often it will be paid. Although this is a legally binding agreement, sometimes the paying parent may stop paying child support, possibly because they can’t afford it or because they are simply being neglectful. If your ex has stopped paying child support, there are things you should do in order to help get the situation back into control.


Budget for the gap.

If you count on your child support payments for your own personal budget, you need to find ways to cover that gap until you can get your ex to start paying you again. Hopefully you will not need to cover this gap for an extended amount of time, but it’s still possible that you won’t be able to rely on this money, so you’ll want to ensure it doesn’t affect you financially.


Talk with your ex.

The very first thing you should do if your ex stops paying child support is to talk to them. Maybe they simply cannot afford to make the payments due to a financial hardship. If this is the case, ask them to at least give you what they can every month, even if it’s not what the courts have agreed upon. If possible, maybe you can even let them off the hook until they are back on their feet financially. However, if your ex is not paying you just to be spiteful, then you’ll want to take additional actions to get them to start paying you again.

If you do allow your ex to pay you less than what’s agreed upon until they are back on their feet, be sure you get this agreement in writing, as a written agreement is a legally binding contract that you can use in court should you need to.


Talk to a lawyer or legal service.

If your ex is simply being defiant with their child support payments, then you’ll want to talk with a lawyer or professional legal service to see what your options are in terms of covering yourself and forcing your ex to pay. Depending on the terms of your agreement, taking legal action could force your ex to pay child support by taking the money directly out of his or her paychecks or putting your ex in jail until he or she could pay the child support.

However, before you take legal action against your ex, you want to ensure it’s the right thing to do financially. For instance, if your ex only owes you $500, but it will cost nearly $2000 in legal fees, then taking legal action may not be the smartest thing to do, especially if you know there’s no way your ex will be able to afford to pay you.

It’s also important to note that the courts have specific terms and timelines to follow before they enforce unpaid child support payments. For instance, some courts will require your ex to not have paid for at least six months before they do anything about it. If this is the case, you’ll want to know this information ahead of time so you can prepare. Your lawyer should know the possible outcomes for your case at your specific moment, so be sure to talk about the likelihood of you getting your money before you make a decision to go to court.

Child support is meant to help you care for your children after a divorce, so it’s possible you’ll need that money to stay afloat financially. However, if your ex is failing to pay, know there are steps you can take to get back to normal.



Sep 17

What are My Rights with Joint Custody?

After a divorce or separation, you want to be sure you’re getting the right amount of time and responsibilities in your child’s life. This will either result in sole custody or joint custody according to the court system. With joint custody, both parents have an equal role in how your child is raised, which means you’ll need to learn to communicate with your ex, especially when it comes to the well-being of your child.

For those with sole custody, one parent has more legal responsibilities for the child over the other parent. However, just because a decision was made does not mean it is set in stone forever. Regardless of if you have sole or joint custody, know this can change at any time if the situation changes with one or both parents.

In the meantime, if you are granted with joint custody of your child, it’s very important to know your rights and responsibilities. This way, you can ensure you are having the proper say in your child’s life as well as helping to make the right decisions that are best for your child.



With joint custody, you and your ex need to decide together what religion the child will be raised. If you each share similar religious beliefs, this decision will be an easy one. However, if you vary on your religious beliefs, the decision could be more difficult. However, should you and your ex not agree on one religion, consider compromising and teaching your child about each religion. This way, you are giving your child an open mind toward religions and allowing them to make their own decision as they get older.



Your child’s education is important, and joint custody parents have to agree on the child’s education. For instance, parents must agree on the school the child will attend. Should your child be going to public school, this is determined by your physical address. However, if you want to send your child to private school, this is something you both must agree on to make it happen. Depending on your child’s age, this may be something you want to discuss with him or her before making your final decision.


Medical Care

There are a lot of medical decision that must be made for your child, and parents with joint custody must work together to make the right decisions. Everything from doctors to vaccinations to medications and procedures must be agreed upon by both parties in order for the medical care to happen. Discuss your options in detail with your ex and make the decision that’s best for your child’s well-being.



Children get involved in a lot, and it is what can help them grow, learn social skills, and become members of a team. When you have joint custody, you and your ex must agree on the activities your child will participate in. Not only should you think about your child’s interests, but also be sure you discuss schedules so each one of you fully understands where your child needs to be and when.

Joint custody can be a great thing for your child and can ensure both parents still have an active role in your child’s life. However, with joint custody, it’s very important you and your ex find a solid way to communicate with one another to make those tough yet important decisions. Again, the age of your child is going to play a role in how you communicate and what about, but remember that open communication and providing a united front with each other will be extremely beneficial in the long run.