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Technology Can Ease the Strain of Co-Parenting

For couples with children who divorce, their relationship does not end when the divorce is final. Somehow, parents who have divorced still need to find a way to have a successful co-parenting relationship. While forming a co-parenting relationship is relatively easy for couples who have had an amicable divorce, this relationship can be more difficult for those who have had gone through a high-conflict divorce. Parents who have a strained relationship have started to opt for technological solutions to communicate with their ex-spouse about their children and coordinate schedules. Additionally, technology can help parents keep in touch when either they or their children have moved to another town or across the country.
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Keeping Family Communications Positive in all Circumstances

Funny, isn’t it, how just a few choice words can entirely change a family dynamic…either for good or for ill? Whether you’re trying to enjoy a meal together at the dinner table, on an outing, dealing with a split family situation, or otherwise, both what you say and how you say it can have an enormous impact on the results.

And the entire time you’re talking?

Your kids are listening. They’re learning the same communication patterns and habits you’re expressing, internalizing them, and will start responding in kind.

When you keep that fact in mind, the importance of establishing positive communication within your family becomes critical—and you recognize that, as a parent, you hold a primary responsibility in achieving this.

So, how do you lay the foundation for a future of strong and nurturing communication? Continue Reading

5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Safe in 2013

It’s a sad affair to see the near-constant news about the violence and loss that impacts families these days—both from within and without. It seems we can’t refresh a news website or turn on the television without updates on the latest school or public shooting, hearing about child kidnappings, or other tragedies. It all hits far too close to home.

It’s enough to make any worried parent want to padlock the doors and bunker down with the kids until something drastically changes in the world.

But the reality is, the world isn’t going to shape up just for our sakes. It’s up to you, the parent, to help your child stay safe without locking them away from reality.

Here a 5 ways you can help your children remain as safe as possible, despite these troubled times: Continue Reading

Making New Year’s Resolutions with Your Kids!

“New Year’s Resolutions…with my kids? Did I hear you right?”

Yes.

“But New Year’s Resolutions are grown-up things. Times when we look back on things we regret and change our behavior so we can, hopefully, feel better about ourselves in the next year. I don’t want to get my kids thinking negatively or hurting their self-esteem.”

Exactly. Too many adults approach resolutions as a painful chore. Something they do because they regret things from the previous year—weight gain, poor spending habits, bad relationships, etc.—and want to try and have a different experience in the next year.

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. In fact, when you make resolutions a family affair, something shared between parent and child, it can become an incredibly positive and relationship-building tradition! Continue Reading

Divorcing? Don’t be Trapped by Massive Debt!

Divorce is stressful enough without having to face massive debt. You need to protect yourself and your financial situation before your divorce is final. Here are some tips to help you avoid negative consequences of your soon to be ex-spouse’s actions.

  • Establish your own credit accounts. If you and your spouse are on speaking terms, come up with a way to separate and divide your credit card debt. Close out all joint accounts. While in a perfect world this should be done with your spouse’s cooperation, the fact remains many people have been dragged into financial crisis by a spiteful spouse who runs up debt and refuses to pay. By establishing your own accounts and your own credit line, you can protect yourself. Know that if you can’t agree to divide debt, the court will do it for you. Unfortunately, even if the court decrees one spouse has to pay a debt, the credit companies can still come after you if your name is on the account. Continue Reading

Child Custody Modifications on the Rise Due to Hard Economic Times

It is important to know that once a judge makes a child custody order, it can always be modified. Changes occur throughout our lives that may not have been taken into account at the time an order was put into place. The need for modifications are more important than ever with high national unemployment rates (7.9%), the enormous national deficit, significant trade imbalances and constant flux of gas prices. California, in particular, is suffering from some of the worst economic conditions in the country with unemployment rates currently at 10.2% and continuing high foreclosures of homes. The best way to deal with these changes due to circumstances sometimes out of our control, is to try to come to an agreement modifying custody with the other parent, but understandably that doesn’t always work out. If the parents cannot agree on a solution, they may ask the court to make changes for them.
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Pet Custody and Divorce

Divorce lawyers across the country have seen a dramatic increase in pet custody disputes over the last decade.  This is partly due to a shift in societal attitudes.  People have increasingly come to see pets as members of their family, deserving of affection and happiness, and whose presence in the home is essential to their personal happiness and the happiness of their children.  Because the law in all states still considers pets to be property, the problem of disputed pet custody and support has required creative legal solutions.

How Courts Handle Pet Custody Disputes

Although pets are considered property, their low dollar value and status as beloved family members means they cannot reasonably be sold and the proceeds divided in the same way as other property.  Rather, the court will either award custody of the pet to one party or craft a shared-custody or visitation agreement.  In doing this, most judges will consider: Continue Reading

Dividing Child-Related Tax Breaks After Divorce

Tax breaks can help reduce the financial burden of raising children.  Some – although not all – of these tax breaks can be divided between the parents after a divorce, which in turn can increase the net funds available to support the children.  Here is how this works.

Preliminary Requirements for Dividing Tax Breaks Between Parents

There are four preliminary requirements parents must meet before they can split the tax breaks for a child:

  1. The parents must be divorced or legally separated, or must have lived apart at all times for the last six months of the year;
  2. The parents separately or together must have provided more than half of the child’s total financial support;
  3. One or both parents must have custody during the year; and
  4. The custodial parent must have waived his or her right to claim the child as a dependent for that year, meaning that parent will not get the child’s exemption on their tax return.  For this waiver to be used, the custodial parent must sign IRS Form 8332, and the noncustodial parent must always attach a copy of the Form 8332 to his or her tax return for any tax year that he or she relies on the waiver. Continue Reading

Military Benefits Owed by a Non-Military Spouse in a California Divorce

A military divorce is uniquely complicated, in part because there are specific laws that determine what military benefits can be claimed by a nonmilitary ex-spouse of a service member.  If you or your spouse is in the military and are considering divorce, here is what you should know about the nonmilitary spouse’s benefit rights following the divorce.

Summary of Unique Military Benefits

If the nonmilitary ex-spouse of a service member meets all the required conditions, he or she may be entitled to military benefits that include: Continue Reading

The Benefits of a “No-Court” Divorce

A “no court” divorce, also called “collaborative divorce” is a way for divorcing spouses to resolve all the major issues of divorce outside of court. This gives control over important matters like property division, child custody, and support to the spouses rather than to a judge.

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