SmartDivorceNetwork

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Proving Your Child Support Is Not Being Used To Support Your Child

Child Support

Is there a reason to worry?

This is an age-old argument, and while it is rarely true, sometimes it is. Sometimes parents do consider child support as a personal paycheck. Is there time for concern?

Child support is a formula. The judge considers a portion of the rent, electricity, food, and education for the child’s needs. He considers childhood doctor’s visits and their social life. After all, children are smaller, yet developing people. Then the essentials of life are added and divided into consideration in how much money each parent earns. The parent who earns the most income pays the other parent so that the child has a healthy income too. So let’s take a deeper look, and see if there is a problem. Here are some common complaints you will hear at every turn where divorced people hang out.

She doesn’t need my money

Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio

Number 1 – She doesn’t need my money

Dad stops by after work on Friday night and everyone is all dressed up for a trip to the mall for a new outfit to wear. His ex-wife is taking their daughter and her friend to a concert for her birthday tomorrow.

Dad is angry. He works all week to bring this money for her care. But she doesn’t need it. You can take her shopping and to concerts. I am going home and eating frozen pizza and you are taking not one, but two girls to the concert.

What most parents do not remember is the person getting child support gets it at a certain time of the month. But her expenses are every day of the month. Your children do not only eat on the first day of the month. They eat every day. Every day they need clean clothes, a place to sleep, and a place to stay where it is warm and dry. so, they use their money. Every cent of the money they earn feeds and provides for their children. They keep the books and when the day rolls around that you pay your money, that takes some of the money you owe them and does something fun. Of course, there is an easy way to solve the issue. Come by and pay your part in advance. That frozen pizza would have tasted pretty tasty when she gave up lunch for the last several weeks, settling instead for crackers and the coffee they keep in the break-room. Plus, you could have chipped in on her present since she is your daughter too.

Number 2 – Spending money all on herself

In this day and age, child support is electronically deposited into your spouse’s account. Many times, the non-custodial parent picks up the child on Friday after school, or after football practice, or dance class, or whatever the child is interested in.  Mom usually will ask what they have planned. If dad says nothing much, maybe going hiking or maybe going to play laser tag, she is going to send them casual, not too expensive clothes, and boots and shoes that have seen better days.

The next weekend you see her being led into a lovely restaurant with her hair done nicely. She is wearing a beautiful black dress, and when her wrap was removed her bare shoulders showed a perfect pearl necklace. Now you are fuming. She sends her kid out with you in worn clothes. Why? So she can look like this! She must have plenty of money!

Relax. Your children have nice clothing that is appropriate for any situation. She would not disrespect you by letting them go get dirty on a hiking trail or possibly tear a dress for church, a wedding, or a funeral. That’s why she asks you where you are going.

When a woman begins dating, she has lots of friends to help her. But, she could have been at a business dinner or any number of things. None of which are your business anymore. Unless you can prove your kids are uncared for, you have to assume they are.

Number 3 – Your kids are neglected

If you are continually picking up your children in worn out and outgrown clothes, you need to ask their mother why. If she is not offering an answer and instead is saying things like ”if you want him to have clothes, go buy him some,” there may be a problem. Get a notebook and begin to journal conversations and take photographs and contact your attorney. Having her child support adjusted and putting you in charge of buying what the child needs or even giving you custody is going to take some heavy ammo. Take photos of their hair. How long has it been since they have had their hair washed and cut? Contact their dentist, when was their last cleaning. Contact their doctor. When was their last check-up? Has there been any unusual injuries? Make an appointment with their teacher, principal, and counselor. How do they appear when coming to school? Are they clean and well dressed? Are they bullied? Do they do their best? Note, do not come across as if you are on the attack. Instead, thank them for the hard work they do and let them know you simply want to be part of their educational lives.

If something does seem off, your  attorney, he will give you instructions on what to do next. At no time are you to confront her, stop paying her, or let her know what you know. The courts have people who know just how to handle this. Let them.

Divorce is not easy. As you can see, most of the time, you are mistaken. But when you are correct about a careless mom, it is up to you to protect your kids. Good for you for being a real parent.

Main photo credit: Ahmad Akacha

When Your Spouse Walks Out On You

Spouse

Divorce is hard enough on a family, but when a spouse just walks out, leaving the other parent and children, it causes a lot more confusion and pain. So, how do you handle this? There are immediate actions a parent must take to bring security and comfort to the home. Then there is the long road to recovery from the shock that the children have experienced.

Getting started – To-Do List

If there is one thing you will read often on SmartDivorceNetwork.com, it is to take one step at a time, but keep moving. So, it will pay to sit down and make a list of what you need to actually do. Very soon you will feel the emotions of the situations take over every person in the house and probably more than one time. Here are some tips on what you need to begin with.

  • Set Boundaries – Change the locks

No doubt it was a shock when you realized you were now the only adult in the home. You have your work laid out for you. So, the last thing you need is your ex (or soon to be ex) walk back in and out again whenever he feels like it. It not only causes friction in the home, it confuses young children.

  • Communicate – as much as it takes

No matter their age, the children will show distress. How they express the distress will depend on how well they communicate. This means you will spend a lot of time communicating with them. Speaking with them and assuring them that they will be okay will be an exercise you will probably repeat. Even if you have told them over and over, they will find times when they need to hear it again.

  • Take some time for you

While you are busy helping the kids learn that you are under control, you are going to have to find time to discover yourself. You will learn that you are stronger, and maybe less stressed. You may even find that you have dreams and goals that you have ignored for a long time. So find yourself and decide where you want to go.

  • Emotions – everybody has them

It is okay to “not” be okay. You are going to say goodbye to some dreams. You are going to be scared, lonely, mad, and even a little sorry for yourself sometimes. Just like everyone else, it is okay to visit these places as long as you don’t stay too long. Emotions are like currency. Spend them, and leave them.

  • Keep a positive attitude

It is really easy to see all the ugly in the world when you are dealing with hurt people all day. Especially when the people are your children and the pain came from someone you trusted. But there is a lot of good ahead. You are building a good relationship with your kids. You are in a strong frame of mind before going to court. Your life is going to be better, just keep pushing.

Keep a positive attitude

Photo credit: Mohamed Abdelgaffar

Do they need some help?

Most children adjust through these times with patience. There are a lot of articles that suggest otherwise. Most children will go through distress and express some behavior problems. Some older children will lash out at other children and even try to bully others to make kids who seem to have perfect lives feel as bad as they do. These kids may need help, but right now, they just need guidance, and to reap some consequences.

However, if these behaviors do not change, you may need to go to a professional. Here are a few tips you can look for that may mean they are going a bit too far.

  • Are they having problems eating, or are they eating too much?
  • Are they spending too much time alone in their rooms?
  • Did they give up activities and friends that they enjoyed and show no desire to return?
  • Are family members or family friends expressing concern?
  • Are they watching “dark” or depressing shows or listening to inappropriate music?
  • Have any of these behaviors gone on for a few weeks or more?

Before you choose to take your child to a professional, make an appointment for yourself first. Make sure you are on the same page. When you are sure you have found the right professional and you believe the time is right, then make your appointment.

You are in control and you are going to be just fine. It will take more than divorce to break you.

 

Main photo credit: Ksenia Chernaya

The First Holiday After Your Divorce

Divorce

The holidays are here. While most of us enjoy the joy of the season, for those going through or recently having gone through a divorce it can be a freighting challenge. If you are a single adult, you will manage as you have all the trials this far. It may be hard, but life has handed you disappointments, pain, and trials before and you are still standing. This season will be no different because a the divorce. You will still be standing when the calendar page turns to reveal 2021. However, if you are a newly (or soon to be) divorced parent, it will be more difficult.

Is there a right way?

Yes. There is a right way and a wrong way to handle this major change for yourself and your children. In fact, there are many right ways, and wrong ways. The way that works for you and allows you and your family to function and grow is the right way for you. It is up to you to find that way.

Focus on this or that?

Here is the first hurdle. This is the first time you are going to Christmas as a family of three or Hanukkah in your new house. You want it to be great. You want to give your kids the happiest holiday in the history of holidays. How do you do that? Let’s take a look at some options. But first, you need to stop and consider a few things.

  • Consider the children’s ages. If they are under 10 or so, they will adapt to a different holiday menu, tree, or tradition easily. Why? Because they have not been around to know what a tradition is. They probably will still ask for “daddy” or “mommy” Just as they will not just on Christmas but as they will most nights. Have a plan (Facetalk or Skype) and do not make a big deal of it. If they are older than that, they know what they want. Ask them. Consider what you want and come up with a compromise.
  • Have a lot of events planned that you could afford and a calendar that goes right through the new year. Call this your escape plan. This is for when the plan you had exploded leaving the three of you in tears and you wanting to shove a candy cane up someone’s nose, you have a plan B.
  • Do not spend more than you can afford. You cannot depend on anyone helping you out. Yes, the expense is for the kids, but a lot of ex-spouses are jerks.

Now let’s talk about the focus of the holiday. Of course, you want the focus of the holiday to be your children. Or do you? Most parents believe they do. They work their fingers to the bone making Christmas cookies, homemade ornaments, taking the kids to the parades, light-shows, and decorating. If the children are young enough, they don’t get it. Of course, they love lights until something else gets their attention. (Like trying to make them sit on a fat man in a red suit who is yelling, HO HO HO.) In a very little while, Christmas becomes their new normal when they are under two years old.

When the children are a bit older, they love every minute of it. They get tired and if it goes on too long they really want to watch regular TV and eat anything that doesn’t have peppermint in it. But you are being rewarded by this extreme Christmasing. You are taking up the slack. You are giving everything you’ve got to your kids. You are the awe of your girlfriends, co-workers, family, and friends. When you and your children are invited to a Christmas party (and you are invited to every Christmas party) it ends with you surrounded by women dabbing their eyes with tissue telling you how wonderful you are. Your self-esteem is on full, you return home and live another day in Winter Wonderland.

When your children are pre-teens, they are old enough to tell you what they want to do and what they want to do. If you show them the respect to let that happen, then your children really are your focus. That doesn’t mean you can’t put up a tree even if they don’t want to help or you have to miss the Dirty Santa swap at Aunt Charlotte’s house. But, allow them to enjoy what they enjoy. If not, be prepared to be exposed.

At this age, your children will probably tell you some things that you may not know and probably won’t want to hear. You are using them and Christmas to draw attention to yourself. You want the title of Super-Mom. You need the Dumped Mom of the Decade award. You love to wear your little red dress and say, “I just do it for my children.”  This is the Christmas your kids call on that.

You Will Be Fine. Don’t let divorce ruin your Christmas

The main thing you need to remember is, you can do this. You have already done the hard part. You brought the children into the world. You have done what it takes to provide a stable and happy home. This year is just one year of many. You will do some things right and some things you will choose not to do again. Just remind everyone in your life that the adults have to be adults and let the kids be kids. If you can pull that off, everything else is easy.

The Ten Six Commandments Of Divorce

Six Commandments Of Divorce

Divorce is a pretty tough experience. By the time you get in front of the judge, you are ready to scream. But, hold on just a little while longer. You have already been through meetings about child support, custody, and who should get the house. You have watched in awe as your mature spouse asks for custody of the dogs, and possession of all the baseball equipment, and his son every third weekend. You know there is so much more to come, but how you behave until the papers are signed may be the difference in where your kids live day to day and not just holidays. Understandably, he or she is dancing on your last nerve, so it is time to take a break and read your well-worn copy of, ‘The Six Commandments Of Divorce.” in case you have misplaced yours, here is a fresh copy for you.

  • Do not hide, sugar-coat, or lie to your attorney in any way, at any time. He is always on your side. Letting him find out that you are involved in something that he is unaware of will interrupt you and likewise interrupt him.
  • Do not get rid of assets that you know he wants to keep. Especially if they are heirlooms. This is a low-down thing to do. It is simply the sign of a cruel person. When you basically give away her mother’s dinner ringer or his dad’s golf clubs, they cannot be replaced. Even if you are able to find one
  • Do not incur debts in your spouse’s name. Taking out credit cards, charging up the accounts you already have together, and not being honest and up-front about the money you are spending could prompt the judge to take a closer look into your honesty with the finances you have provided to the court.
  • Do not use drugs or excessive alcohol. You may think you know your partner and you think you know what they will and will not do. However, a person going through a divorce sees their entire world falling through their fingers. They experience fear, sadness, anger, and hopelessness all at once. When they accept that you are really gone, the anger grows.

They may set out to hurt you and to gain the upper hand. This is when they tell their lawyer that you drink to the point of a blackout on weekends and part with pills like Percocet and Ecstasy on a regular basis. It is in your best interest to be drug and alcohol-free in case a drug test is requested.

  • Do not make rude, ugly, or unkind remarks about their parents, their spouse’s family, or anyone their other parent is dating in front of the children. This may be the situation where you have to be an adult and tell the children, “We don’t talk about what other people say about us.”
  • Do not turn your divorce into a social media war. Keep your divorce off of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Divorce is sad. Two people put their hearts on the line. They had babies and they built dreams. They go to know each other. Then in day-to-day life, their dreams died away. Their lives moved in different directions and their hearts got cold. It is not funny. Take the high road. Being nice doesn’t cost a dime.

I hope you learned something from this article about The Six Commandments Of Divorce. If you have any comment, please feel free.

10 Things You Should Know About Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements

In the midst of all of the excitement leading up to your wedding, a prenuptial agreement may be the last thing you want to think about. You may fear that planning for a potential divorce will ruin the romance of the moment and the state of your current relationship, or you may question whether a prenuptial agreement is even necessary given your financial situation. However, a prenuptial agreement can be a good choice for many couples, and it is important not to dismiss the idea outright.

If you have never created a prenuptial agreement before, you may have misconceptions about them. An experienced Naperville family law attorney can help you better understand the benefits of a prenuptial agreement and whether it is the right option for your marriage. With the right approach, it is possible to reach an agreement that works in both partners’ favor.

As you consider a prenuptial agreement, here are 10 important things to know about them:

  1. Prenuptial agreements are not just for couples who expect to get a divorce. If you know that a divorce is in your future, chances are you would not be getting married in the first place. While a prenuptial agreement can address contingencies in the event of a divorce, it can also clarify each partner’s right to manage and use certain properties throughout the course of the marriage.
  2. Prenuptial agreements can be beneficial in second marriages. Second or subsequent marriages often occur later in life, when the partners have already accumulated substantial assets and may have children from previous marriages. A prenuptial agreement can help to specify which assets will be considered non-marital property and ensure that each partner maintains properties that they want to pass on to their children.
  3. Prenuptial agreements can define marital and nonmarital property. In Illinois and many other states, assets acquired by either spouse before the marriage are considered non-marital property, whereas assets acquired by either spouse after the marriage are usually considered marital property, which must be divided between spouses in a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can clearly delineate which properties, both currently owned and acquired in the future, will remain the sole, non-marital property of one partner.
  4. Prenuptial agreements can make for an easier division of property in a divorce. Your prenuptial agreement can include a plan for how marital property will be divided if you get a divorce in the future. As long as the plan in your prenuptial agreement is equitable, this can help you save time, money, and energy that would be spent on negotiation or litigation during the divorce process
  5. Prenuptial agreements can provide for spousal support. Your prenuptial agreement can also include provisions for spousal support payments in the event of a divorce or separation, which can be a good idea if there is a significant imbalance between the partners’ income or assets going into the marriage. This can make it possible for both spouses to maintain their accustomed standard of living even if the marriage ends.
  6. Prenuptial agreements cannot address child support, custody, or parenting time. You should not attempt to address decisions related to current or future children in your prenuptial agreement. Questions regarding financial support for children, how parental responsibilities will be shared, and how parenting time will be divided must be settled at the time of a divorce to ensure that the resolution is in the best interests of the children in their current situation. You should also ensure that other terms included in the prenuptial agreement would not detract from either spouse’s ability to contribute to child support.
  7. Prenuptial agreements only take effect upon marriage. While you and your partner may sign your prenuptial agreement before your wedding day, it will not become legally enforceable until you are legally married. This means that if anything goes wrong, and your relationship ends before you get married, you would not be bound to the terms that you agreed upon.
  8. Prenuptial agreements must be signed willingly. If either partner is coerced or manipulated into signing the prenuptial agreement against his or her will, the agreement will not be enforceable. Before going forward with a prenuptial agreement, it is important that both partners voluntarily consent to the agreement while having a full understanding of each other’s assets, debts, and overall financial situation.
  9. Prenuptial agreements that cause undue hardship may be unenforceable. If the terms in your prenuptial agreement regarding the division of property and spousal support would place an unfair burden on either spouse at the time of a divorce, the agreement may be unenforceable in its current form, or the court may order additional support outside of the terms of the agreement.
  10. Prenuptial agreements can be modified. When creating your initial prenuptial agreement, it is often difficult to predict the future. You may find that as your marriage goes on, the original terms no longer apply to your current situation in the way that you would like. If either spouse experiences a significant change in income or assets, or if your family grows with new children, you may wish to amend your agreement to reflect these changes. This is possible as long as you and your spouse agree to the changes. It is also possible to create a postnuptial agreement after your marriage, even if you did not have a prenuptial agreement in place.

Armed with a better understanding of what prenuptial agreements are and what they can and cannot do, you may feel more comfortable raising the subject with your partner. When you work with a Wheaton family law firm to create a valid prenuptial agreement, you can enter your marriage with peace of mind knowing that your assets are protected. Even if you decide that a prenuptial agreement is not for you, starting the conversation can lead to an open discussion of finances that helps you and your partner understand each other’s needs and set goals together. In either case, you can hopefully avoid future arguments and enjoy a long and healthy marriage. And, in the unfortunate case that you decide to get a divorce, you can take comfort knowing that you have a plan to minimize stress and uncertainty.

About Author: Tricia D. Goostree knew she wanted to be an attorney when she was 10 years old. After being accepted to the John Marshall Law School with a Dean’s Scholarship, Tricia added excellent writing skills to her love of working in the courtroom. Tricia is the founder and managing partner of the Goostree Law Group, P.C. – Naperville family law attorney  in St. Charles, Illinois.

smartdivorcenetwork.com contributor

Sometimes You Have To Learn Defense In A Divorce

Divorce

Sometimes a couple knows for sure they need a divorce. They know it is time to cut those ties and change directions in their lives. But while taking those steps, they begin to feel awkward. Usually, it is because you realize that you have long ago assumed the responsibility for something in your partner’s life that is not yours to carry. It is most often the responsibility to make them feel accepted and happy. Sometimes, it is the responsibility of making sure they have the money your family needs to carry on the week without worry.

Happiness

Obviously, no one can make anyone happy. When they come home we can flutter around them, asking about their day. We can bring their slippers and robe. We can bring them their dinner and drink. When we go out, we can give them all of our attention. At the end of the night, we have made him look like our God.

We are so good at pretending that he tells us when he is alone, he feels sick. He feels like when we are unable to be together he feels his heart will stop, at any moment. We are not making him feel happy. We are helping him fake it out. How hard it will be for him to open himself to another woman.

Money

It is rare for most couples to handle finances together. Usually, one person will handle all of the money. The partner may be told to not use the debit card or a few days or to lay off the American Express this month. But, that partner has little knowledge of what is in checking, savings, on credit cards, or how much debt they are in.

When the divorce is filed, they find themselves very lonely because they have not had to socialize for a long time. They have not been responsible for their share of being a partner.

When the divorce is filed, they suddenly find themselves unprepared to be financially responsible. It is like starting over. They do not know where to begin. It is frightening. They are not sure what has to be paid and when. What bills are on auto-draft? How far is the kid’s tuition paid?

They come back to you

Even though divorced people hate each other on tv, most of the time they do not. You are confident in yourself. You have carried yourself and your mate all these years so you do not feel a crash and burn coming. You do not question your abilities or your value to your dissolved marriage.

Your ex-spouse will gather the embers of their self-worth and bring it to you. You will listen to them over coffee as they tell you how lonely they are and how they can’t figure out how to budget the money. And you will reassure them, this will pass.

Don’t offer yourself!

As easy as it is to help them, you have to keep a clear line between you. This is why they make counselors. This is why they make financial advisors. You are divorced. You are relieved of duty. Shake it off. You no longer need to help this adult person. To them keeping them happy and balancing their books equals you keeping them happy and that means you still care.

Points of view

Different people read their actions differently. A thank you for helping someone get through a lonely day could be an invitation to your favorite restaurant for dinner. If you accept, you see it as one good turn repaying another. It’s no big deal. It shows two adults can be friends even if they were married to each other. They may see it like two adults hanging out together because neither of you could stand not being together on such a beautiful day. The thought of calling it a day was just too sad so you went out to dinner before you finally forced yourself apart.

Conclusion

Divorce is difficult. During a divorce, you will go through every emotion you have. Your heart will be tested and tried again and again. No matter what your grounds for divorce, you will have days of grieving and days of joy. The best thing you can do is to keep your nutrition up, keep yourself hydrated, and guard your emotions. Remember, this too will pass.

 

Feature photo credit: Vera Arsic

Should You File For Divorce Or Legal Separation?

Should You File For Divorce Or Legal Separation

There are many couples right now who are questioning their ability to maintain their marriage. Truthfully, marriage is difficult. No matter how much you want to have a strong marriage, it is hard work. Even when you are fully committed, sometimes marriages fail. However, there are times that it is advisable not to file for divorce. Sometimes, it is better to separate, but keep the marriage in place until your situation has improved. One way to accomplish that is by filing a legal separation.

Stress

Obviously, the world is in a state of stress and panic. COVID-19 is infecting people and we are still searching for a cure. Millions of people are sick, and millions more have died. People from all walks of life have lost their jobs. Many schools are closed and many children are forced to homeschool. Unemployment is at record highs. Employers are forced to have employees work remotely, most with fewer hours. Many companies have shut their doors permanently.

While people are trying to figure out how to survive this pandemic and prepare for what comes next, the strain often puts spouses against one another. Does this mean their marriage is over? Maybe, or maybe not. Rushing to divorce court will only add more stress to a stressful life and more expense to a strained financial situation.

Many Faces Of Grief

Experts that work in industries that often face death know, grief has many faces. No two people face grief the same. Spouses, family members, and friends often do not know how to help a loved one get through death. However, death is not the only reason people grieve.

Loss of a job, marriage, security, and even a dream can bring on grief. This kind of grief is especially challenging for a couple who are living through devastating times (such as a pandemic).

Many Faces Of GriefPhoto credit: Nathan Cowley

How Can Legal Separation Help?

Legal separation is very much like a divorce. It is a legal document that you and your spouse have agreed to that divides your property, and establishes your separate living arrangements. You also arrange visitation for the children, child support, and alimony payments. However, you are still legally married.

How does this help?

You will “take a break” from each other. You do not dissolve your marriage, but you live as if you have. Neither of you can marry anyone else while you are legally separated. Often, people find, when the stress is relaxed and they have some time away from their spouse, the love they had is still there. They do not want to start over. They just needed some time apart. Then it is just a matter of petitioning the court to terminate the separation.

Other ways Legal Separations help:

  • This is a way to live apart if your religion does not allow divorce
  • You can still get the tax breaks by filing jointly (in most states)
  • You can still take advantage of your spouse’s insurance benefits
  • Maintain your marriage for the 10 year minimum for certain Social Security benefits
  • If you live in a state that requires a separation period before a divorce, this protects your interests
  • If you decide to file for divorce in the future, the procedure is very easy.
  • If there is something in the legal separation that does not work for you, your attorney can address it in the divorce papers before you go to court.

A legal separation is a step that can put you in a good position before you rush into a divorce. Like a divorce, you will see ads claiming you can file them yourself. However, there are laws in certain states that you may not know about. These laws are there to protect you. That is why you need an attorney. A simple oversight could cost you money that you could have collected for the rest of your life. Don’t make that mistake. Let an attorney file your legal separation. After that, you will have plenty of time to see how it works for you.

You may want to go forward with a divorce or you may want to stay legally separated for a while. It is your choice. The one thing you will not have to do is decide during the current stress of the nation. You are safe and secure legally and emotionally until you are ready to make a move. At that time, it is a stressless and simple act.

Feature photo credit: Vera Arsic

Halloween – Not Quite A Holiday, But a Big Deal Anyway

Halloween

Fall has arrived. The temperatures are dropping and the leaves are turning to beautiful shades of yellow, orange, and brown. In a couple of weeks, children will be searching for the perfect costume to celebrate Halloween. About this time parents will realize that they did not consider Halloween when constructing their holiday custody agreements in their divorce papers. Is this a big deal? Consider your ex and the temperature of your divorce relationship so far. Has it been functioning on a mature and mutually respectful level, or has it been strained and tense? Halloween is one of those things that people forget and cause later to ruin your day.

Did you have a “usual” holiday?

Are your children old enough that they have had a few Halloweens already? If your children have already experienced three or four Halloweens, and the tradition included trick-or-treat the houses only on your street, then watching Charlie Brown on television, that is what they expect. Pointing that out to your ex, and having them explain to the children why their holiday is changing is sometimes enough to trade this day with you.

Can you take them together?

Are the two of you adult enough to put your differences aside and go together? If you loved each other once, enough to have children together, perhaps you can push the emotions aside for a few hours and celebrate one day.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years are just ahead. There will be parties, school outings, church services, and weddings popping up. There probably will be days that you want the children to attend, but the day belongs to your ex-spouse. It will be a lot easier to ask for help after you help out. The point is, you are co-parents. You will be co-parents for a very long time. You will be together at recitals, Scouts awards, graduations, and hospital waiting rooms. You are tied together by your child. How you handle Halloween if just good practice.

Kids that are over 8-years-old

If you ask a kid 8-years-old and over what is fun about Halloween, they will tell you it is dressing up like a goon and meeting up with their friends. It is all about getting out at night and acting silly with their friends! Little girls want to look beautiful like a princess or lie punk rockers. Whatever they look like, they want their friends to see them. If they wear the same costume and go into a neighborhood where they have no or few friends, it is not fun. It is not fair to do that to a kid.

Don’t take them just to spite your ex. Especially if you have plans!

Believe it or not, there are parents who really don’t want to do the whole trick-or-treat thing, and They know their ex-spouses hate it, so they are going to take them anyway. That will teach her or him, right? Yes, you have been invited to a costume party but you will just take them along. They can play video games or watch tv. They will be fine.

Kids can get overstimulated and afraid when they are put in a situation like this. Not only are they in a house full of adults that they do not know, but these adults are also dressed in horrid costumes of blood, fur, with axes, bones, and knives hanging from their bodies. They are drinking and talking loudly. They look for their parents but there are several people dressed just like them. You can tell the children that the things they see are not real but at that moment when they are stuck in a room with them, they seem too real for comfort.

Just one day

At the end of the year, if you had given your ex-partner Halloween, he or she would have gotten one extra day. That’s all. Just one extra day. When the day comes that you need extra help, your blessings will come.

The bottom line is your children need to know that both of their parents are on their side.

The scars of a broken family go deep. They need to see you handle yourselves with dignity and grace. Their holiday memories should be good ones. Filled with laughter, mystery, and fun. They should remember how both their parents gave up their time to ensure their kid had the best Halloween ever!

Getting Married? Do You Have Divorce Insurance?

Divorce Insurance

We live in a world where we must be prepared for anything. We have insurance on our homes so they will be repaired or replaced in the event of a fire or other disaster. If we are in an accident in our car, our insurance pays for medical expenses for the injured and repairs for the automobiles. We have insurance for when we are sick, for cleaning our teeth and to bury us when we die. So, it should not surprise us to find there is insurance to cover certain expenses incurred after a divorce.

Isn’t That Bad Luck?

You may feel like taking out divorce insurance while you are married is asking for trouble. But is it really? The fact is in 39% of the marriages in the United States in 2020 (to date) ended in divorce. There have been recent years that the percentage rate has been as much as 50%.

When you decided to get married, you probably took a look at your life insurance policy. Is it bad luck to make sure your spouse is financially secure in the event of your death?

It is the same for divorce insurance and homeowners’ insurance. Insurance is just a safety net and a layer of security.

How Does Divorce Insurance Work?

Divorce insurance is not insurance that pays you in the event that your marriage fails and you end up in divorce court. There are a lot of people who might wish this is true, but it is not. After a couple has gotten a divorce and their court fees and divorce fines are paid, their divorce insurance is active. You pay a premium based on the amount of the package you choose monthly. Just like other insurances (like most life insurance policies), there is a waiting period. The waiting period for divorce insurance is usually four years. This is why it is wise to take out insurance before you need it. The policy just sits in limbo unless and until you need it.

Divorce Insurance has only been around since 2010. It has been well received and today most insurance companies carry divorce policies. However, some policies are better than others. Call your insurance company and inquire about theirs but don’t be afraid to compare. Just make sure you are comparing like plans.

Fast forward to the fifth year of marriage. Statically, 20% of marriages end in the first 5-years. In the divorce, the judge will assign child support orders and spousal payments. These financial responsibilities are in effect unless a judge changes them. For example. Maybe your child support payment, which is based on your income is $4000 per month. This is affordable for you. But then COVID-19 hits and you are laid off. $4000 per month is more than you get on unemployment. Until you go back to court and have a judge change the order, you still are required by law to pay $4000 per month!

This is where divorce insurance comes in. Your divorce insurance steps in and pays the child support until you can resume paying the $4000 per month or getting the court order changed. It is the same for spousal support. The payments you made together, as a family, now ensure financial stability. There is no resentment because the insurance premiums came from family funds. It gives the person who is laid off relief and the spouse and primary caregiver of the children relief. It is a win/win situation.

Money is a major problem in divorce. Temporary loss of income is devastating, but divorce insurance covers that. It’s a shame that all money issues can’t be settled as easily as this one. Divorced families would be so much kinder to each other when their money was secured and their payments were coming in, right on time. Divorce insurance may sound a little strange. But, if you think about it, it really is an act of love.

Did you get Sole Custody? Spell Out Contact In Your Papers

Sole Custody

When you get married and begin a family, you never dream that your family will fall into the 40-50% of marriages in the United States that will end in divorce. (In some places, the divorce rate is even higher) If you fall into these statistics, you may have to face some difficult facts.

  • You probably will get little if any child support if you have sole custody
  • 3 percent of custodial parents get some child support payments
  • 5 percent of custodial parents get full payments

Why did you get sole custody?

We all know how important it is to raise our children in a balanced environment. In a perfect world, they would have the best from a father and a mother. But we don’t live in a perfect world. You may have been awarded sole custody because your ex becomes violent when he is angry. Maybe he (or she) brings home people who are drunk or on drugs, putting the family in danger. Whatever it is, the court decided the danger is significant enough that it outweighed the need that children have for having both parents in the home,

Visitation

It is rare when a judge does not order visitation. It may be supervised visitation, but usually, the ex gets time with their children. This is where having a good attorney is vitally important. Do not settle for generic visitation terms. Insist on having the terms spelled out. Here are a few things to consider.

  • The spouse is an addict and often has other addicts with him or her
  • The judge may suspend visitation until the parent completes rehab. He may further order random testing to ensure the parent stays clean and drug-free.
  • The spouse is homeless
  • This is important. Make sure your attorney has written in your divorce papers that you must have the address and phone number where the children are going to be in case of emergencies. If they do not provide that information, they cannot take the children. They may end up taking them to a friend or relatives house to have their visit, that is allowed. As long as they are not roaming the streets all day.
  • The spouse is incarcerated
  • Of course, if the spouse is in jail; They do not have to go see them. This includes going to jail to visit with a friend or family member of the spouse.
  • The spouse has physically or emotionally abused the child
  • Be sure your attorney provides all reports and proof of child abuse to the judge. Victims are not returned to abusers.
  • If the child is old enough, and the child requests no visitation
  • By the time a child reaches their teenage years, a judge considers them old enough to know if they want to visit a parent or not and they will honor that request.
  • The spouse is a flight risk
  • If the spouse is from a different country or if he has threatened repeatedly to take the kids and leave, you probably have a good enough reason to be concerned. Have your attorney address this in court.

Don’t Pump The Children

It is hard to let go of anger, curiosity, and betrayal. When we get a divorce, those emotions linger. Because of those emotions, we may question the children just a little too much when they return home from a visit. Who went with you? Did she stay the night? Did daddy drink? These questions only serve to feed your curiosity. They not only play your child against their dad they make them feel bad. Instead, let them feel empowered. Here are examples:

  • I need you to tell me right away if anyone:
  • Hits you or hurts you
  • Touches you in a way that makes you uncomfortable
  • Calls you ugly names
  • Makes you sleep on the floor or outside
  • Will not feed you
  • Feed you pet food

Closing

Divorce is never easy. This is especially true when you have children. Your attorney needs to be very detailed in drawing up your divorce papers. If you have legitimate fears for the safety of your children, have proof to present to the judge. However, unless there is substantial proof that the children will be harmed, the judge will usually assume the benefits outweigh the disagreements of the parents.

Have your papers prepared as though you expect to allow visitation. Have stipulations asking for the address and phone numbers of where your children are.

Remember this, getting a divorce changes life. Your primary focus should be on your kids. Make the best of a difficult situation. This is your first step to a happy future. Be happy.