7 Things You Should Not Do During Your Divorce in Florida

As most anyone who has been entangled in a divorce in Florida will tell you it is rarely easy or smooth. Tensions can mount, and poor decisions are made when tempers flare, only to be regretted later. When you consider the array of overwhelming details which must be decided, it’s really no wonder couples end up making mistakes during their divorce. To have fewer regrets later, consider the following tips which you should avoid doing amid your divorce proceedings.

1.Do not increase your debt in any way. Let’s face it, divorce in Florida can be a costly process. Even for the simplest uncontested divorce, both parties will likely pay their attorney from $1,500-$3,000 each—and few divorces are that simple. Aside from divorce attorney fees, at least one spouse will need money to begin a new life including securing a home which can include first and last month’s rent, utility deposits and the actual costs of moving your things. And don’t forget, instead of one set of bills on two salaries you will now be dealing with two sets of bills and an equitable distribution of your marital assets. Start practicing frugal living from the moment you decide to divorce, and don’t take on any additional debt.

2. Do not give in just to get out. Even if your marriage has become untenable, don’t be deprived of your financial future so you can escape the stress of your divorce. Make copies of every sort of financial documentation in your possession, which relates to your finances as a couple, putting them in a safe place. Credit card statements, pension fund statements, tax returns, bank statements, mortgage information—these can all be hugely important during the divorce. If your marriage and subsequent divorce is especially contentious, you may be tempted to hand over the assets just to be done with the marriage. You will almost certainly regret such a decision down the line. Remember that you are engaging in negotiations which will affect your future and that of your children for a long time to come.

3. Don’t think taxes don’t matter. Taxes are a huge issue during a divorce, not only in the filing of your personal income taxes for the year, but also in capital gains taxes on your home if you are the one who gets to keep it, taxes on alimony payments, and the important issue of who gets to claim the children as dependents for tax purposes. If you are close to the end of the year when you decide to divorce, you might want to wait until the New Year rolls around for tax purposes. It is a good idea to consult a tax professional before you start divorce proceedings.

4. Do not think you are “fine” and don’t need a family counselor. Seeing a counselor can be an enormous benefit in getting through the emotions brought on by the divorce. A therapist can help you cope with anger directed at your spouse, fear of the future, depression, and loneliness, teaching you the necessary steps to enable you to look forward to your new life. Change is hard under the best circumstances, and a reputable therapist will be able to help you and your children come through the divorce in the best way possible. Our website lists several qualified and experienced therapists, that we can recommend, who specialize in family matters.

5. Do not overlook mediation or collaborative divorce as a possible alternative to a traditional divorce:- Typically, a collaborative divorce employs the services of not only divorce attorneys, but coaches and therapists who specialize in divorce who can help lessen the stress of divorce as well as divide the property fairly. In most cases, collaborative divorce is much less antagonistic than traditional divorce. Mediation involves a divorce mediator who can also be an attorney that specializes in divorce mediation. The goal of the mediator is to aid the two parties in reaching a mutually acceptable divorce settlement. Mediation can be a continuing process, and your attorney will be a vital asset during this time, as you work on negotiating terms during the mediation process. Many people feel they are way too angry with their spouse to even consider mediation, but you could be surprised at how well it can work. Besides, most Courts, in the State of Florida, require the two parties to mediate before Trial, in an effort to resolve their divorce issues amicably.

6. Do not forget to change your Last Will and Testament as well as other important papers. Make sure you have not only changed your will but the beneficiaries on all your life insurance policies as well. Whatever property you are awarded in the divorce must have the appropriate name changes, and your home and auto insurance will need to reflect your single status as well.

7. Do not jump into a new relationship. Although this may seem obvious, many people ignore this advice and jump right into a new romantic relationship when they are at their most vulnerable. Experts say you should always wait at least a year before getting involved in any type of romance. Take some time and get some perspective about your divorce. Although loneliness can set in after your divorce, find ways to deal with it rather than getting into an inappropriate relationship.

Divorce is difficult, but it can be made much easier simply by taking a deep breath and making a concerted effort to deal with issues as they come up, get through one day at a time, and realize that a year from now things will look much different.

Integrity and Commitment, You Can Trust

If you are experiencing legal problems such as divorce or other family law issues, you are entitled to receive fast and effective solutions that restore your peace of mind and quality of life.

You need an experienced and successful family lawyer who will explain your legal rights in easy-to-understand terms and represent you with integrity and commitment you can trust.

Related Articles for additional information:

Top 8 Legal Documents to Change After a DivorceAt Eric C. Cheshire, P.A., we will treat you with the utmost compassion and respect. Call us today at (561) 655-8844 to speak with an experienced West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney to discuss the details of your case.

Divorce, Taxes and Children

The combination of taxes and divorce can add another layer of complexity to an already complicated situation. Divorce affects taxes in different ways.  This is especially true for divorced couples with children. Read how divorce affects taxes; especially if you have children.

Child Support

Arguably, alimony and child support are both forms of income, but the IRS tends to treat them very differently. Generally speaking, alimony is taxable for the recipient and tax-deductible for the person paying it. That’s not true of child support. In fact, the IRS does not require that child support be reported as income, so the parent receiving child support will not have to declare it as taxable income. Meanwhile, the person paying child support cannot use these payments as a tax deduction. However, if alimony is scheduled to end within six months of a child’s 18th or 21st birthday, then the IRS may view it as child support.

Dependency Exemption

An exemption reduces your taxable income, and you may receive an exemption for each person you claim as a dependent. Many couples specify who will be claiming a child on taxes in their divorce agreements. In the past, if the parent who was awarded the least amount of time-sharing was awarded the right to claim a child as a dependent in their divorce agreement, they could simply refer to the agreement to support their claim. Now, it may be necessary to secure and sign an IRS Form 8332, which is entitled “Release/Revocation of Release of Claim to Exemption for Child by Custodial Parent”.  However, what if your divorce agreement is silent about dependency? If the agreement doesn’t address the issue, then the parent with the majority of time-sharing awarded typically receives the tax credit. If, for any reason, the parent does not qualify for the tax credit, or decides to opt out, they may agree to allow the other parent to claim the credit by signing an IRS Form 8332.

The Child Tax Credit

A tax credit reduces your tax liability, and the Child Tax Credit allows parents with incomes below certain amounts to claim a credit for each qualifying child who is under the age of 17. If you meet the requirements, you can claim both the exemption for dependency and the tax credit, but you cannot claim the tax credit for a child who is not listed as one of your dependents.

The Child Care Credit

The Child and Dependent Care Credit is designed to help cover the costs of child care. Even if the parent with less time-sharing claims the child as a dependent for tax purposes, they won’t qualify for this particular credit. However, if you are a parent with the majority of time-sharing, you may be able to claim this credit regardless of whether the child is your dependent. The requirements for this credit are specific, so before claiming it, consult with a tax professional.

If you are looking for additional information about taxes and divorce, we’ve also written another article about understanding the different ways to file taxes after a divorce.

Tax codes are continually changing. If you have detailed questions about taxes and divorce, we recommend that you also consult with a qualified tax professional. If you are facing legal issues relating to divorce, child support or child custody, Eric C. Cheshire offers over 29 years of experience, dedicated exclusively to divorce and family law. Contact us today at 561-655-8844 to schedule a consultation.

Top 5 Signs Children Are Not Dealing With Divorce

How can parents tell when their children are not dealing with divorce? Their behavior is the best indicator.  Sometimes, divorce is more than the end of marriage. If children are involved, it is the end of family life as they’ve known it and the start of a new version. Even if the new version is ultimately an improvement for everyone, it’s a big change and change can be scary.

When it comes to children and divorce, many parents wonder what they can do to make the transition in family life easier. It is important that parents be ready to offer their kids plenty of support and reassurance. They should also be on the lookout for signs that they are struggling to cope. Parents should watch for:

1. Misbehavior.

When under pressure, people of all ages sometimes react with anger. For children, this can mean arguing or acting out becomes more of an issue at home, at school or with their friends. While the arguments and the behaviors may not be linked directly to the divorce, the stress of the situation is often the hidden trigger.

2. Sadness.

Children of divorced parents who are struggling to cope with their new family situation may not have the resources to deal with other disappointments. Where some kids get angry, others react with sadness. They may seem depressed or cry over things that usually would not disturb them. Sometimes a little extra reassurance is all it takes.

3. Anxiety.

Childhood should be a carefree time, but stress is known to be one of the possible effects of divorce on children. A child may react with worry or fear, clinging to their parents and expressing concern that something might happen to them.  Divorce can be quite confusing to children, and they might not understand that one parent will not just disappear.

4. Withdrawal.

Withdrawal is another typical response. Children who react this way tend to forgo activities they once enjoyed, avoid family and friends, and retreat into their rooms for solitude.  Encourage children to stay active with friends and activities.

5. Slipping grades.

Distractions and upheavals at home can lead to declining school performance. Sadly, poor grades can be an additional stressor that makes things more difficult for children. If you notice that your child is struggling at school, reach out to the school staff for assistance.  They might be able to offer support or suggestions to get your child back on track.

Many of these emotional reactions are normal during a divorce.  Parents should pay attention to their severity. A brief period of minor sadness or misbehavior may only signal that a child needs a little extra reassurance as they adjust to the new norm, but if the behavior continues for an extended period, parents might need to seek professional assistance. If a child exhibits extreme anxiety, severe depression or violent behavior, parents should reach out for help without delay. Other red flags that should lead parents to seek immediate assistance include drug or alcohol abuse, forms of self-injury like cutting, and eating disorders. As unfortunate as these behavioral issues are, they do happen.  By being acutely aware of your child’s change in behavior, there is a possibility to either help or deter any of these behavioral problems.

A divorce with kids presents unique challenges that impact the entire family. With more than 25 years of experience in the areas of divorce and family law, attorney Eric C. Cheshire combines compassion, integrity, and expertise in his unswerving effort to provide every client with the best possible service. If you are struggling with legal issues related to a divorce or child custody matter, contact us today at 561-655-8844 to schedule a consultation.

Determining if You Have to Sell Your House During a Divorce

sell your house during a divorce

Since divorce elicits a range of emotions, it is a devastating experience, especially when asset distribution becomes necessary.  In an effort to achieve equitable distribution, many times you must sell your house during a divorce.

However, it may be possible for the husband or wife to hold onto the house. Here are common divorce property division questions that will help determine whether or not the home must be sold when two spouses split.

Considerations for Couples Whether to Sell Your House During a Divorce

When a couple divorces, there are certain decisions that must be made regarding the family home. There are a few considerations that will affect the situation.

  • Housing Options. Before selling or keeping the home, it is important for both spouses to compare the cost of house ownership and similar rental costs. It is wise to consider how moving will affect children’s school situations as well.
  • Actual Profits. It is essential for a couple to speak with a real estate expert and uncover the true worth of the marital home; as well as to learn the amount of money that will be left over after the mortgage and other bills are paid. There may be less profit than expected.
  • Affordability. Divorce is a time when finances will need to be evaluated. One party may not be able to make home payments alone or qualify for a refinance. Expensive taxes, utility bills, and maintenance costs are key factors as well. If neither party can afford the home, it must be sold.
  • Benefits of Breaking Clean. Although a family home contains countless memories, there are certain benefits that come from making a clean break. For instance, both parties can begin fresh with new houses that fit individual needs. Any profits can be used to accomplish future financial goals. Also, there will never be thoughts of exes sharing the old home with new loves.

Dealing With a Mortgage

When a marital home holds an expensive mortgage, it is important to discuss whether a spouse will remain or move on. If one partner can afford the home, it is possible to arrange a buyout. This person must refinance the loan in his or her name.  Whatever you do, do not leave both names on the home regardless of any written agreement.

Divorce Sale of House

If neither party can afford the house, then you must sell your house during a divorce.  Since a quick house sale is best, it is essential to list as fast as possible. No matter how long the home remains on the market, it is vital to keep making the loan payments so that good credit is maintained.

If a couple cannot afford the payments, there are alternatives. For instance, many couples exercise a short sale divorce option. A short sale is an agreement with a lending institution that agrees to the sale of the property for less than the mortgage amount. In this circumstance, neither spouse leaves with any profit. A short sale is much better for a person’s credit than foreclosure or bankruptcy.

If you are going through a divorce and have come to equitable distribution of assets, it is not always necessary to sell your home. However, in certain cases, it may be best for both parties. To discuss all the options, it is wise to consult with a divorce attorney at Cheshire Family Law. Attorney Cheshire will help you consider all the possibilities so that you make the right decision for your future.  Call Eric C. Cheshire today at 561-655-8844 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.

Getting Through the Emotional Stages of Divorce

The emotional stages of divorce can be like riding a roller coaster in the dark. Your thoughts and feelings twist and turn in unexpected directions, and you’re often left feeling as if the ground beneath you is being yanked away.

Emotional-Stages-of-Divorce

As your emotions send you through yet another gut-wrenching, gravity-defying loop, it’s easy to wonder if your world will ever be stable again. How do you prepare emotionally for divorce? It helps if you understand the emotional stages that you’ll go through.

1. Denial

Your spouse can’t be serious about wanting a divorce. It’s a phase or a fad or whatever excuse you can come up with to explain away the reality that you aren’t yet ready to face. Denial is a coping mechanism. There’s nothing wrong with a little denial, but too much can prevent you from progressing to an emotionally healthy place.

2. Anger

Your spouse can shove the blasted divorce where the sun don’t shine! You’re happy to see them go. After all, they’re undoubtedly the cause of every single bad thing that ever happened to you. Anger is cathartic, freeing you up to move forward, but it’s important to choose your audience wisely. Little ears shouldn’t be exposed to this dark fury. After all, your spouse is also their parent.

3. Pain

How can your spouse hurt you like this? The demise of a relationship, divorce is a kind of death, so it’s only natural that you will grieve. Just as you’d try to stop a physical ache, you’ll be tempted to do whatever you can to stop the pain. You’ll rehash the relationship endlessly, search obsessively for solutions and desperately hope for reconciliation because just the thought of a life without your spouse is terrifying. This is when your support system is most important. Reach out to a select few and lean on their support to get you through.

4. Exhaustion

If your spouse wants a divorce, they can have it. You don’t have the energy to care. Bouncing between the various emotional stages of divorce is mentally and physically exhausting; at times, getting out of bed in the morning is a major accomplishment. A brief bout of this emotional exhaustion is normal. However, if it goes on too long, it may be wise to speak with your physician about the possibility of depression.

5. Determination

Many people get divorced. You’ll be just fine. You’ve figured out how to cope with divorce. Contemplating a life without your spouse may be somewhat scary, but you’ve made up your mind that you will move forward with your life. You may slip back occasionally, but you know that you’ll eventually reach a point where you’ll be just fine because you’re determined to do so.

6. Acceptance

Divorce happens, and it happened to you. While you may harbor some regrets and negative feelings, you’ve accepted that divorce is part of your reality. The intensity of your emotional reaction to the situation has faded, and you know that you really will be okay.

7. Hope

There’s life after divorce. In fact, life after divorce contains new possibilities and new opportunities that you’re ready to embrace.

Like the roller coaster’s track, your progress through these stages won’t be a straight line. You’ll bounce back and forth between them, lingering in some and speeding through others. At Cheshire Family Law, we understand that divorce takes an emotional toll on everyone involved. Experienced professionals, we’ll approach your situation with the necessary sensitivity. Contact us online or call us at 561-655-8844 to arrange a consultation.

Parental Alienation Syndrome During Divorce

How to prevent parental alienation syndrome in children during or after divorce

Sometimes, marriages come to an end, and both spouses know it’s time to say goodbye and file for divorce. The time during the divorce process can go one of two ways: It can go smoothly with mutual respect, or it can create bitter feelings and hurt everyone involved.

Effects of Divorce on Children

Though a divorce is often never easy for either the spouses or the children, it doesn’t have to be a destructive process.  In fact, the process can be so destructive that the parents can unknowingly alienate the children.

What is parent alienation, and how does it happen?

During a divorce, especially one that involves child custody disputes, one or both parents can attempt to distance the child from the other parent. It can even be a subtle attempt by a parent, such as making indirect negative statements about the other parent in front of the child. A parent will often criticize the other parent, trying to instill anger and destroy the child’s bond with the other parent.

Sometimes, a parent will inform the child about the divorce process and the conflict between both parents. The mother may roll her eyes at something the father said, or the father may blame the mother for not trying to make the marriage work. All of these things create certain emotions in a child and almost force them to pick sides. When parents invoke these emotions of resentment toward the other parent, it can have lasting effects on a child. The child may develop separation anxiety or use the same techniques for dealing with relationships as an adult.

What are the signs of parental alienation?

Not all children show the same signs of parent alienation; however, many children do develop some type of resentment, hostility or desire to stay away from the other parent. A young child may cling to one parent and avoid the other parent. An older child may develop sleep disorders or have anger issues. Other signs of alienation syndrome include:

  • Having trouble forming close relationships
  • Feelings of vulnerability
  • Conflicts with authority
  • Withdrawing from social situations
  • Developing psychological dependency

The Difference Between Alienation and Preference

Though parental alienation syndrome does occur in some divorce cases, there’s a difference between a child feeling alienated from a parent and preferring to live with the other parent. Some children may feel closer to one parent because of similar interests or because that parent is the primary care provider in the home. Though children may have a parental preference, they still want to spend some time with the other parent.

Parental conflict takes its toll on the child, resulting in the child choosing one parent over the other just to end the conflict. When children are caught in the middle between conflicting parents, they may align with one to remove themselves from the situation, even if they have no problems with either parent. An alienated child aligns with a parent because of deliberate parental involvement.

Children sometimes suffer the most during the divorce, but parents can decrease their children’s anxiety and make the process easier for them. The children are losing a unified home and must deal with the stresses that come with having divorced parents. Understand the signs of parental alienation, and keep the children’s best interests in mind to avoid any further hurt that comes with the divorce.

For more encouraging tips on co-parenting after divorce, you can also read the following:

5 Tips for Co-Parenting after Divorce

Tips for Working Through Time Sharing and Child Visitation Challenges

Life After Divorce

10 Ways to Cope During and After a Divorce

Effects of Divorce on Children

3 Ways to Obtain an Amicable Divorce

Amicable DivorceMany couples start the divorce process thinking they can go through an amicable divorce.  Divorce does not always have to be a drag out fight.  Going through a divorce is rarely an easy task, and the process often leads to hurt feelings and making the children feel isolated and confused. As painful as it can seem sometimes, divorce doesn’t need to end in bitterness or have an ugly resolution.

In the state of Florida, you have 3 divorce options that not only make getting a divorce easier; but, also save you time and money while protecting your children through an otherwise difficult time.

There are three types of amicable divorce options:

1. Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce has many benefits, which include terminating the marriage within days instead of weeks and months. It costs much less than a contested divorce, and both parties can create agreements that work for their situations rather than abide by whatever the court decides.

To seek this type of divorce, both parties must agree with every issue of their marriage, such as custody and visitation, alimony and child support. Afterward, the parties sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, which must then be approved by the court before it becomes the particulars of the divorce decree.

Read more information on uncontested divorce.

2. Collaborative Divorce

A collaborative divorce is similar to the uncontested process, as both parties agree to the issues of their marriage and decide to bypass a typical litigation. This type of divorce places the children’s best interests first, and both parties work together with their attorneys, a neutral advisor and a mediator to reach an agreement on all the issues related to the divorce. A collaborative-style divorce involves a few steps:

  • Both spouses must agree to the collaboration before starting the legal portion of the process. Afterward, the parties establish a participation agreement, which outlines the commitments in the divorce.
  • The spouses and their attorneys sign a contract that commits to resolving the issues related to the termination of marriage without going to court. Everyone involved works together to arrive at a mutually acceptable settlement.
  • Both parties act in the best interests of the children to promote positive relationships with the divorcing spouses and to minimize any emotional effects.
  • If either spouse ignores the participation agreement and pursues outside legal representation or court, the collaborative attorney must end his or her representation of the client.

Read more information on collaborative divorce.

3. Divorce Through Mediation

Mediation during divorce helps both spouses create a more amicable resolution to the marriage. Mediation helps spouses develop their own unique resolutions rather than having the court impose its own solution. This type of divorce is a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to formal litigation, which costs a lot more money and can take a few months or more.

Divorce through mediation helps both spouses deal with various kinds of disputes, such as child custody arrangements and co-parenting. However, mediation during divorce also works for spouses who have no children and require assistance dealing with dividing marital property. The benefits of mediation include:

  • A more time-efficient and cost-effective process than a traditional divorce
  • A less-expensive alternative to court trials and hearings
  • A confidential process with no public record of the mediation session

We hope that learning about the different options to make divorce easier on you and your family.  We understand sometimes divorce is inevitable.  But it doesn’t have to be costly or time consuming.  If you think you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are candidates for any of these types of amicable divorce options, please give Attorney Cheshire a call to set up an initial consultation.

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Tips for Working Through Time Sharing and Child Visitation Challenges

Time-sharing and post-divorce family living isn’t as easy as it looks on paper. Once you and your ex-spouse complete the process of divorce and separate households, you may see and welcome this as a ‘fresh start’. However your children may experience a longer post-divorce  adjustment period and they may continue to feel a roller coaster of emotions as a result of  the change.

father son reading

When this happens, even the most amicable of co-parenting arrangements can prove stressful.

Many, if not most, children have a difficult time comprehending and adapting to new life circumstances. Different living arrangements and unknown things, places and people can be unsettling to a child. There may be a new step-parent or partner in one (or both) households, the change in neighborhood and daily routine can lead a child to withdraw, throw tantrums, cry and act out in anger without cause. In essence, kids frequently respond to post-divorce change with feelings rather than reason.

Due to this, people sometimes feel divorce is psychologically harmful for kids, though research actually shows divorce generally does not harm children over the long-term unless other factors come into play. When both parents are respectful of each other, actively involved with parenting and are loving toward their children, there is little opportunity for emotional or psychological harm to occur.

Still, even with no negative activity or harmful behavior going on in either household, children may become unruly and emotional for unexplainable reasons and refuse to leave one parent to go to the other parent’s house at switch time. It’s one of the most common issues divorced parents face with time-sharing. What can you do to make this process easier and smoother for your family?

Here are 5 top co-parenting and visitation tips to keep in mind when faced with a child refusing to switch homes for visitation:

1. Recognize And Respect The Co-Parenting Arrangement And Responsibilities.

 As the custodial parent, do your best to maintain a good relationship and attitude toward your ex-spouse so that your child or children feel a sense of ease and security with both parents. Part of your responsibility is to encourage, and even require, your child or children to visit and spend time with their other parent, as scheduled.

Keep in mind, you may be in trouble if you don’t comply with the court’s order on  visitation. Your ex-spouse can ask the judge to hold you in contempt of court if  you intentionally fail to comply with the visitation order by not sending, or refusing to send, your child for visitation.

2. Express Understanding And An Encouraging Attitude To Your Child Or Children.

Know that adjusting to living in two separate households may be challenging for your child, and expect that it will take time for the adjustment period. In the meantime, show your child or children the understanding and encouragement they need to make the transition and be  as supportive as possible.

3. Be Caring But Firm About The Visitation When Your Child Refuses To Cooperate.

It may take more than once that you’ll need to explain to your child that part of having parents living apart is spending time with both parents.  Share with them how much both parents equally love them and want to spend time together . Remember, it may take time before kids have adjusted to living in two households and different routines at each. As the adult, it’s your job to be supportive and caring but also to make the decision to follow through with the visitation as directed by the courts.

4. Make Ongoing Efforts To Check In With Your Child About How They Feel About The Assigned Living Arrangements.

While children are young and in their formative years, time-sharing custody provides an important reminder that their parents still love them and will remain a fundamental part of the lives.  As children become teenagers, visitation with your ex-spouse may change in scope due to outside school activities and even after-school/part-time employment.  Perhaps in recognition of this fact, the courts largely tend to hold older teenagers responsible for their behavior with respect to visitation, not the custodial parent.  Nonetheless, children of all ages benefit from maximum possible contact with both parents so actively encourage teens to maintain visitation as ordered by the family court.

5. Over Time, Modification To The Time-Sharing Arrangement May Be Required.

What worked well for co-parenting at the beginning of the post-divorce period may not work well as children grow and/or parent work obligations change.  The co-parenting arrangement should always be made with the best interest of the child or children in mind – it is for their benefit and well-being that such arrangements are formally made by the courts.  When you become aware that visitation may be detrimental to your children’s academic progress or perhaps your ex-spouse has a new job (or workload) that prevents adequate time, attention and supervision of your children during the visitation, then it may be time to go back into court and ask for a modification, which may trigger a custody evaluation by the court.

If you are a parent who shares custody with your ex-spouse, remember that your child did not choose for his or her parents to get married or divorced, and as such they should suffer as little as a possible as a result of the dismantling of the marital relationship.

Provide your children the support they need  to express how they feel about the living arrangements, and try not react too emotionally to whatever feelings they share.  If a child resists the idea of visitation, or prefers to live with one parent over the other, it naturally makes life tough for the parents.

Though working through these familial time-sharing challenges can be difficult, the most successful parent and parent-child relationships will always be those where the child feels that his or her feelings are respected. Ultimately, time-sharing and visitation rights are more inclusive than simply setting up a schedule. It is a connection to both parents. And continuing to have a connection with both parents is absolutely essential for  the well-being and successful future of your child and children.

5 Tips for Co-Parenting During Summer Break and Vacations

It’s that time of year again!  Summer time offers children a special time to look forward to fun, outdoor activities and freedom from school duties. While all that typically comes with summer break for kids, for post-divorce parents, it can be a challenging time.

What is typical in many co-parenting arrangements, children are with one parent or the other for longer periods of time over the summer than during the school year.

vacation

In summer time, regular schedules and habits change. It’s this change up in routine and scheduled parent time that can produces anxiety for children and concern for parents.

Here are 5 tips to help post-divorce parents make a smooth transition from a school year schedule to summer vacation time – and make it easier for everyone in the family.

1. Discuss Vacation Plans Early and Be Flexible:

Well in advance of booking tickets or making camp reservations, talk to your ex-spouse about plans to enroll children in summer programs and/or taking vacation trips. This provides busy adults an opportunity to make plans, schedule work and also gives children a clear understanding of how their summer break will be spent. By taking care of this sooner rather than later, it allows time for parents to identify and resolve any schedule concerns that might arise in the planning process. Good advance planning will help reduce frustrations later.

2. Don’t Overschedule or Overwhelm Children With Activities:

 Part of the fun of summer and vacation is in the casual use of time to play and relax together. While it may be tempting to make best use of the break with multiple activity camps and sports sessions; too much activity might just leave kids stressed and burned out. Children value time together with you and their friends without constant structure or demands.

3. Communicate Directly When Scheduling Changes Must Be Made:

Good communication is key in order to keep the peace and also respect as the foundation of a healthy post-divorce relationship. Clear communication about schedule changes minimizes surprises and ensures you know what’s happening in your children’s lives. If talking to your ex-spouse in person is too stressful, consider using email to stay up to date and also a shared online calendar. However, DO NOT use your child or children as messengers of schedule and vacation updates. Planning and scheduling are adult concerns, especially in co-parenting arrangements. Work to maintain a respectful tone in your communications, and use thoughtful negotiation to resolve any conflicts.

4. Maintain Positive Attitude:

Your children will remember the example of your attitude and mirror your behavior with your ex-spouse. Do your best, at all times, to never speak poorly about your ex-spouse in front of your child or children and avoid asking them to take sides or favor one parent’s or home over the other. In order for your children to grow and thrive as adults, they should feel free to love both parents equally.  A child should never feel badly or confused about wanting to spend time with the other parent at any time of the year, vacations included.

5. Vacations Should Be A Special Time To Remember:

Think back to your own childhood and you may recall how much you looked forward to the long stretch of summer break, spending time with family, friends and unscheduled play time. By creating the space and opportunity for these types of situations, you’ll be positively creating those same types of memories for your own children. Spending summer vacation time with each parent, is simply part of the scheduling process that the adults must properly manage. What your children will remember is how they felt and what they experienced through their parents’ interactions with each other.

Though summer vacation may require additional planning and communication with your ex-spouse, it can also be a time that you create special memories that will last forever. Cooperating and co-parenting with your ex-spouse can help ensure that summer break is a fun time for the entire family.

Ground Rules for Living Together While Separating or Divorcing

Ground Rules for Living Together While Separating or DivorcingObtaining separate residences during a divorce is not always an option.  Sometimes, a married couple needs to wait until the house sells or experience other financial challenges.  Hopefully, the terms of the divorce are amicable enough to last another few months under the same roof.  If you are considering living with your soon-to-be ex-spouse during a divorce, then hopefully, this list will help you.  We’ve included a few ground rules for living together while separating or divorcing for the potentially uncomfortable situation.

Create a Manageable Budget While Living Together

Since financial disagreements are one of the main reasons that people split up, be sure to handle this situation cautiously. Sit down with your ex to determine the financial obligations that you share. If both of you work and earn similar incomes, then consider dividing the financial burden equally. However, if one of you earns significantly more than the other one does, then you’ll need to negotiate. While preparing for divorce, create a manageable budget for the time that you’ll remain in the same residence.

Allocate Responsibilities and Live Courteously

Once you and spouse have decided to dissolve your relationship, be sure to share household responsibilities while you are living in the same home. Allocate the chores fairly and plan a time to do them. Decide where each of you will sleep, and be considerate of each others’ personal space. In fact, try to think of your ex as a roommate. For instance, wash the dishes that you use, and don’t eat food that the other person purchased. Be mindful of the time that you spend in the bathroom and share the home’s common family areas.

Arrange a Parenting Schedule

When you’re preparing for divorce, you’ll need to organize a parenting schedule. Decide which days each of you will have full responsibility of the kids. If you have an infant or a toddler, then you will need to decide who will take care of feedings, oversee baths and get up at night with the child. Be sure to share school drop offs and pick ups as well as the responsibility of transporting children to and from after school activities. A parenting schedule will help your children adjust to the separation, and it may make it easier for them to shift households once you and your ex no longer live together.

Do Not Become Friends with Benefits

It can be easy to fall into old habits, but do not sleep together. The intimacy is likely to be confusing, and if one of you would like to reconcile the relationship, then your eventual permanent separation will be even more devastating.

Don’t Bring Home a Date

To make your living situation function more smoothly, do not bring a date home while you are living under the same roof with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Once you are divorced, it’s fine to date, but be considerate of your ex’s feelings.

Final Thoughts about Divorce and Living Together

When you carry out basic living considerations and exercise patience, you and your ex can continue living together while getting a divorce until your finances and emotions permit you to move on to the next phase of your life.

If you are considering divorce and unsure whether or not you could continue living with your spouse, you might want to consult with a divorce attorney.  Please contact Eric C. Cheshire for an initial consultation.

Lastly, if you are currently living with an ex-spouse and have another tip you want to share, please contact us.  We will gladly amend the article to include new tips.

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