How a Detailed Time-sharing Schedule Could Save Your Holiday Season

Time-sharing is one of the biggest challenges parents face after they divorce. Making sure children get equal time with their parents can go a long way toward easing some of the disruption that often occurs during a divorce.

Whether you’re in a situation with shared parental responsibility, or sole parental responsibility, the holiday time-sharing schedule may produce a potential for conflict during this time of year, if it is not detailed adequately within yourparenting plan.

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Parents naturally want their children to spend quality with them during the holiday season, and in that desire, they sometimes forget that equal time with both parents is most often in the best interests of the child.

Solet’s take a look at how creating awritten holiday time-sharing schedule, included in your parenting plan, can help resolve a lot of the issues that crop up when your kids are out of school during the holiday season.

What Is a Holiday Time-sharing Schedule? 

A standard time-sharing schedule details how you and the other parent will spend time with your child after a divorce. If you have agreed on shared parental responsibility, then yourtime-sharing schedule, included in the parenting plan, should list which days your child is at your home and which days your child is with the other parent.

It many cases, the time-sharing schedule will also detail how you will handle summer vacation as well as any trips that you or the other parent want to take with your child out of town.

Occasionally, divorcing parents overlook addinga holiday time-sharing schedule, which usually includes:

  • Holiday List for the Year – The holiday time-sharing schedule should include all major holidays during the calendar year from New Year’s Day to Christmas. This can include official holidays as well as other seasonal events such as Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Halloween, and birthdays.
  • Times – This details when that holiday starts and ends.
  • Yearly – Parents can decide which holiday the child will spend with a specific parent for each year.
  • Even Numbered Years – Parents can decide which holiday the child will spend with a specific parent on even numbered years.
  • Odd Numbered Years – Parents can decide which holiday the child will spend with a specific parent on odd numbered years.

Some Florida courts may have a printed model holiday time-sharing schedule, but if not, you can create your own. If a Florida court does provide a time-sharing schedule, in most cases, parents may still create their own holiday time-sharing schedule that is tailored to their specific circumstances.

While you may need to adjust the time-sharing schedule during the year, the fact that you already have a working parenting plan/time-sharing schedule to use can be helpful when changes are necessary.

Time-Sharing Is About Your Child 

Although divorce can be one of the most difficult times in a parent’s life, time-sharing should always be about providing your child with a nurturing environment. The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire has over 29 years of experience handling these cases and helping parents achieve that goal. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Reading

What Is My Parental Responsibility After a Florida Divorce?

Do I Need To Take A Divorce Parenting Class In Florida?

Why You Need To Know the Differences Between Contested and Uncontested Divorce

In Florida, any couple that wants a divorce must file a petition for Dissolution of Marriage. If they can agree on all or most major issues, they may sign a Marital Settlement Agreement, that details how they have agreed on all the major issues in the divorce. If children are involved, they may also devise a Parenting Plan, which states the rights and obligations both parents have concerning issues involving shared parental responsibility, timesharing, child support, health insurance, extra-curricular activities, decision making authority and other applicable parenting issues.

However, couples may not always agree on all of the major issues involved in their divorce.

Divorce

If you’re about to file for a divorce, understanding the differences between a contested and uncontested divorce can help you make an informed decision about the best way to proceed.

What Are the Elements of a Contested Divorce? 

In a contested divorce, a couple is unable to come to an agreement on the major issues of a divorce, which may include the division of assets, spousal support, parental responsibility, timesharing and child support, if children are involved.

As a result, the Court will require the couple to mediate to settle those differences, and if they are still unable to do so, a family court judge will make the final decision on all outstanding issues.

A divorce is referred to as ‘contested’ even if a couple disagrees over one issue, but it is typically easier for a couple to resolve one issue of contention through mediation as opposed to litigating multiple issues that remain unresolved.

What Are the Elements of An Uncontested Divorce? 

In an uncontested divorce, a couple has settled all major issues in a divorce without having to go to court, and presents a Marital Settlement Agreement, and a Parenting Plan, when children are involved, to a judge, who reviews the agreement, and finalizes the divorce.

When children are involved in the divorce process, there are often contentious issues to resolve such as shared parental responsibility, timesharing and child support.  Therefore, making a concerted effort, from both spouses, to devise a practical and fair co-parenting plan, is key to obtaining a successful uncontested divorce.

Because you have worked diligently on compromise and fairness, uncontested divorces tend to move much faster through the court system, especially because you will not have to schedule a court appearance, which can take weeks or months, depending on the court’s docket.

The Benefits of An Experienced Divorce Lawyer 

Divorce issues can range from being amicable and straight-forward, to complex and challenging. Therefore, it is advisable to always seek the representation of a knowledgeable and experienced family lawyer.  The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. has extensive experience and unparalleled dedication to our clients who are facing divorce issues. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Additional Reading

9 Tips For Great Co-Parenting

What Is My Parental Responsibility After a Florida Divorce?

Getting a Divorce? Time to Update Important Documents

Getting a divorce can be emotionally exhausting. Often, the last thing divorcing couples want to  deal with is the minutia that comes with updating legal documents. However, a failure to update these documents could result in your spouse getting your life insurance policy, or being in charge of your medical decisions.

Divorce In other cases, a failure to update your important documents may lead to considerable delay and future complications which could have been avoided.  Below are some essential documents that require review. Where appropriate, document modifications, reflecting your change in marital status, should occur.

If You Change Your Name after the Divorce

If you legally change your name during the divorce proceedings, you will need to update all identification cards, such as your driver’s license, passport, and possibly your employee badge. You also need to notify the Social Security Administration to obtain a new Social Security card.  Conveniently, the Social Security Administration provides detailed instructions  on their website.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Medical Forms

During the course of your marriage, it is very likely you signed HIPAA forms which authorized the release of medical information to your spouse. Your spouse is also likely listed as the primary contact on other medical forms. Contact your medical providers to change this information.

W-4

Employers rely on W-4s when determining federal tax withholding. Given your new, single status, you may want to adjust your withholdings.

All Forms with Beneficiaries

Now is the time to review all financial documents, from bank accounts held in your name only, to life insurance policies, retirement plans, brokerage accounts, and annuities. If you don’t want your now ex-spouse as the beneficiary, you must contact each account and amend the beneficiary information to replace them.

Titles to Property

In many divorces, property is not sold, but rather awarded to one party or the other.  Consider, for example, the family home. Your deed may currently indicate both of you own the home. When the divorce is final and the home becomes yours alone, change the title to reflect this. Failure to do so can complicate, and even delay, transactions in the future.

Your Last Will and Testament

Many couples leave their estates, in whole or in part, to their spouses in their will. Unless this is still your intention, you need to change your will.  This also simplifies things for your desired heirs. A will clearly updated after the divorce makes your intentions indisputably known. This will help avoid potential disputes.

Power of Attorney

If you have a living will and/or power of attorney, these should also be updated to reflect your current choice for who should make life and death decisions on your behalf.  If you still think your now ex-spouse is an appropriate choice, this should be documented. Otherwise, change the decision maker as soon as possible.

Other Accounts

Take a moment to review other accounts the two of you have shared. These include bank accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, etc. Close or update each account, converting it from a joint account to a single owner account.

If You Are Considering Divorce

Divorce can be a painful and challenging time.  Eric C. Cheshire, P.A. has over 29 years of experience, in family practice, including divorce law. Let Attorney Cheshire’s experience work for you.  Contact us at 561-655-8844 for a personal consultation.

Additional Reading

Divorce, Taxes, and Children

Should You Change Your Last Name After a Divorce?

A Divorce Petition Is a Dish Best Served Immediately

After you’ve decided to get a divorce, you have a lot of things to deal with, especially if children are involved.

But the most important first step is for you to legally file the divorce petition, which sets the whole process in motion. However, if this is done incorrectly, you could hurt yourself later in the divorce proceeding for not adhering to the laws regarding divorce filing.

Divorce

We think it’s important for you to understand how to properly serve a divorce petition, and though the information here is specific to Florida, most states follow the same process.

How To Properly Serve a Divorce Petition In Florida 

Florida law requires you to take the following steps when serving a divorce petition:

  • File a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage Document – this is the official document that informs the court you want to end your marriage.
  • Obtain a Copy of the Summons – after you’ve filed the petition to dissolve your marriage, the court clerk will give you a summons.
  • Take the Summons To a Sheriff Or Special Process Server – you must take the summons to the local sheriff in your area or to a special process server. The clerk can provide you with the location of your local sheriff or a special process server. You must provide them with your spouse’s last known living address and employment address.
  • Ensure That The Sheriff Or Process Server Has Delivered the Summons – the process server must personally hand the divorce summons to your spouse, or to someone who at his or her workplace or residence who is at least 15 years old.

You will receive notice that the summons has been served to your spouse. If you don’t receive this notice, follow up to ensure that the sheriff or process server delivered the summons.

In instances in which your spouse cannot be located, you will have to file a document with the court detailing all the efforts you’ve made to locate your spouse, as well as a document that allows you to publish the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in your local paper once a week for four consecutive weeks.

After that time has passed, a family court judge will finalize your divorce, although you will not be given spousal support or child support (if kids are involved) until you find your spouse.

Divorce Done the Right Way

Divorces can be challenging, which is why you should hire an experienced family lawyer to help ensure that all your rights are protected. Attorney Eric C. Cheshire has spent nearly 30 years helping clients navigate through divorces that range from amicable to hostile situations that require a skilled hand. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 for a confidential legal consultation.

Additional Reading

High Asset Divorce In Florida: Steps To Take and Mistakes To Avoid

7  Things You Should Not Do During Your Divorce in Florida

Handling After School Activities as Divorced Parents

The first school semester your children attend after a divorce can present challenges, because the family dynamic has changed, and a new schedule has replaced your old routine.

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Children may feel confused and anxious, wondering how you and your former spouse will handle after school activities, which is why it’s so important for you to implement specific strategies to help make this transition more seamless.

Obtain An After School Activity Schedule After Your Divorce

Obtain the activity schedule for the upcoming school year so that you and your former spouse can plan which events you can both attend, and which events conflict with work commitments.

Make sure that at least one of you attends every activity so that your child will always have one parent present.

Be prepared to change that schedule, however, because your children may tryout for a sport or join another activity later in the year, which will create new demands on your time.

Determine Seating Arrangements 

Not all divorces are amicable, so if there is lingering tension or resentment, it’s best that you and your former spouse figure out where you will sit at specific activities. Inform your former spouse where you will sit, and most importantly, explain to your children where you will be seated so they can find you during the event.

If your divorce was friendly, this may not be an issue and you may actually decide that sitting together is not a problem.

Keep Your Issues Out of the Activities 

Regardless of whether your divorce was amicable or contested, there may still be disagreements between you and your former spouse about certain issues.

Avoid bringing up these issues at your children’s after school activities.

Remember, these events are all about your children, so hashing out disagreements between you and your former spouse should take place in private.

You and your former spouse must determine to keep your feelings about each other, or about some other issue of contention out of the sphere of activities involving your children.

Your children want to see a united family front when they are playing sports, taking part in a school play, or performing in a music recital.

Why You Need A Lawyer In A Divorce

Even amicable divorces require the services of a family lawyer, because no matter how friendly things are, you still need to ensure that your rights are protected. This is especially true when it comes to issues such as child custody and child visitation. You may have worked out an agreement without going to court, but you need a lawyer to review the terms to ensure there are no red flags that could affect you in the future.

The team at The Law Office of Eric. C. Cheshire, PA has been handling all aspects of divorce for more than 25 years. In fact, because we exclusively deal with family law issues, we have the type of expertise you need to obtain the best settlement possible. Please call us today at 561-655-8844 to discuss your case.

Additional Reading

The Hidden Truth About Child Support Laws

9 Tips For Great Co-Parenting