16
Mar 18

What to Do When You Can’t Make Child Support Payments

When the court rules that you’re required to make child support payments to your ex, it’s something that you’ll need to do. How much you need to pay will depend on a variety of factors, including what state you live in, how many kids you have, how much money you make, and what type of custody arrangement is in play. However, things happen in life that can put a damper on your finances, and this may make it impossible to make your child support payments. If this happens, here are some steps you can take.

 

Talk with your ex.

The first thing you should do is talk with your ex about the situation. For instance, if you were recently fired or things changed at work that reduce your finances, talking with your ex can be the best thing for you to do. Depending on your relationship, your ex may understand and you two can do what you can to work it out. Being open and honest about it early can be more beneficial than simply ignoring the situation, dodging your ex, or being rude about it. You may be surprised with how they handle the situation too.

 

While talking, you may be able to work out a different schedule with your ex. For instance, maybe you can’t afford to make the whole payment right away, but maybe you can if you break it up into more than one payment. Talk to your ex about this option and see if this could be a solution to paying child support.

 

Get a modification.

When your situation changes, you can go to the court and ask for a modification. This will create a legal agreement that may allow lower your child support payments. Typically, there needs to be a significant change in circumstances for this to happen. The courts will require you to provide proof of why you cannot pay, so be ready to provide documentation they ask for. It’s also important to understand that asking for a modification doesn’t mean you’ll actually get one, so don’t assume the court will rule in your favor. However, it’s still important to know this is an option.

 

Make your own modifications.

It’s important to understand paying child support is more important than anything else that’s financial in your life. For instance, if you find it hard to make child support payments, but you’re spending hundreds of dollars a month on eating out or taking trips, then it will be time for you to change your lifestyle and make your own modifications. Although you may not enjoy this, it’s very important that you put your child first. If you don’t make payments to keep up with your lavish lifestyle, your ex can take you to court and you can find yourself with garnished wages in order to make your payments happen.

 

Take on extra work.

If you can’t make your child support payments, it may be necessary for you to take on some extra work to make some extra cash. Maybe there are things you can do around the neighborhood to make some extra dough, or maybe you can start to sell some of your


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.

 

 

 

 


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.


17
Aug 16

Staying on Track – How to Be Positive in a Long Custody Case

Everyone who is involved in a child custody battle wishes that they weren’t and struggles with keeping positive.  It is so hard to be involved in this type of situation because of the emotions that are involved.  Parents will find that in the best situations they are able to agree upon things.  However, this is not typically the case and many times a family court judge is forced to determine what is going to be best for the child and parents involved.

In most cases, it is possible for both parents to be able to have a safe and nurturing environment for the children at their homes.  Even if this is the case, when it’s time to go to court for custody, it’s always a stressful time and usually neither parent ends up with exactly what they were hoping for.  There are many steps that you can take in order to show how committed you are to your children.  Doing these things can help you to remain positive while you are going through a tough custody battle.

 

Be Involved with the Schools

Many parents find enjoyment when they are able to be involved in their child’s day to day activities at school.  When you are staying involved, you are helping yourself to have positive times with your child in their school environment.  You are also working together with your child to provide them with the things that they need for success in their education.  Showing your dedication to your children and their education will help you to have a more positive attitude as far as your child is concerned.

 

Help Your Children Be Involved

One of the biggest mistakes that parents make when they are going through a custody battle is that they withdraw.  When they withdraw, they withdraw their children with themselves.  This can be damaging to your child and their self-esteem.  Instead of withdrawing, help to ensure that your children stay involved.  Being involved in activities with your children will help you to have a more positive attitude and will help your children to be able to stay positive as well.  Plus, they will be working on developing friendships and working on skills needed for success in different areas of life.

 

Take Photographs

Many people do not realize how important it is to be able to show how a child spend their time when they are with a parent.  Photographs of things that you are doing with your children, their living environment, and the family members/friends that they associate with is important.  If you are spending time with others and having a good time with your children, you are going to be able to look at the brighter side of things as well.

 

Set Boundaries & Enforce Them

 Children who are going through a tough time, like the divorce of their parents and a custody battle are going to be more likely to try and push the boundaries.  One of the things that you can do in order to help maintain a stable home for your child is set clear boundaries for them.  Make sure that your child has expectations and knows what is expected of them.  You will also want to ensure that your child knows what the consequences for not following through with expectations can be.  While your child might at first try and get around the boundaries that you set, both you and your child will be happier in the future with clear boundaries and rules.

 

Care for Your Child

 During a bad custody battle, life might feel as though it is out of your control.  In some ways it will be, but there are many aspects of life that you can remain in control over.  Make sure that you are taking your children to regular doctor appointments and staying on top of any health concerns that you might have.  In addition, you will want to make sure that you are following through with eating healthy meals and gaining certifications that can show that you are going to be a qualified parent.  Be willing to take classes like child CPR and parenting classes so that everyone involved understands your goal to be a better parent.

 

Stay Positive

Instead of looking at everything that is going on in your life, take time to look at everything that is going right.  Instead of falling into a negative attitude or allowing yourself to look at the negative things that are going on, make sure that you stay positive and that you are focusing on each and everything that is going right in your life.  If you have a positive attitude and avoid being negative it is going to be harder for your ex to portray you in a negative light.  Remember, even if they are lying about you and saying things to purposely anger you, that if you give them any hint of anger in a courtroom, what your ex is saying is going to appear to be true.  Keep calm and levelheaded and stay positive no matter what you are going through.

 

Know Who Your Children Are

Do not allow yourself to get lost from your children while you are going through a custody battle.  Take time to get to know your children.  Learn about the things that they enjoy, what they are into, things they like to do, what they want to become, and who they really are.  The more you know about your child, the better that you are going to be able to be a parent to them.

Child custody battles can be intense and tough situations to deal with.  It might feel as though nothing is going right and you might feel as though you have every right in the world to give up.  However, with the right attitude and the right presence you will be able to truly understand who you and remain positive even in the worst of situations.

 


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.