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Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:13

Child Custody Agreement and Taxes

Published in Divorce Law
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:13

10 Tips for Winning at Custody

Winning at Custody is one of the most difficult issues parents confront in divorce. In many cases, both parents want custody and are willing to spend whatever it takes to win. Unfortunately, more than any other issue in divorce, to win at custody means that you have to be willing to prove your children's other parent unfit. Custody is all about what is best for the children - and that involves proving that you are the best parent - i.e. that the other parent is not as good a parent as you and/or that the other parent is just simply a bad parent.

My recommended tips for winning at custody are:

1. If you are not involved in your children's lives now, you are not getting custody from a judge. If you are a working parent who lets your spouse handle all of the details of parenting, you are not prepared to win at custody. You must either change your objectives or change your parenting. If you really want custody, get involved now - in all aspects of your children's lives. Get involved in your children's schooling. Attend their extra curricular events. Take them to the doctor and dentist. Get to know what professionals your children see and be involved with them?

2. Make sure that you are not exposing your children to unsafe or unhealthy environments when they are with you. Are you involved in another relationship? Has there been more than one? Be very careful about exposing your children to your companion(s). Many judges, professionals, and other parents object to the children being subjected to other relationships too early in that process. More important, if you really want to win at custody, it should be because you want to spend time with your children parenting them. Spending time with someone else when you have the children is a recipe for losing at custody in court.

3. Do you put down your children's other parent when the children are with you - either consciously or subconsciously? If you do, stop. One sure way to lose at custody is to hurt the children's relationship with the other parent. A judge will consider whether a parent promotes or prevents the other parent's access to and relationship with the children when seeking custody.

4. Winning at custody requires that you keep a calendar for everything. You need to be able to look back and remember details when it comes time to litigate custody. If you do not know when you had the children, what events you attended, where they were or you were or all of the times your spouse was not timely for a pick up or drop off, you will only hurt your own case. You can keep track on your own calendar, with your own journal, or with a professionally managed calendaring system. We do provide access to a professional calendaring system for custody cases on our web site at http://www.millenniumdivorce.com/custody-planner.asp.

5. Be on time...Be on time....Be on time. Few issues cause as much conflict as a parent who is persistently late in picking up or dropping off children. It irks the judges, it creates arguments with your ex or soon to be ex, and it stresses out the children. So, Be on time.

6. Be flexible. If the other parent wants to switch weekends or weekdays, do it if you can manage your schedule. When the time comes to tell the judge why you should have custody, you can tell the judge that you are the parent who makes sure that the schedule works. In a close case, this issue makes a difference.

7. Do not involve your children in the issues that are pending in court or with attorneys. Courts generally are very opposed to the children knowing the details of what are essentially adult issues. Children should be told that both parents love them and want to see them - that's it. The children may see a psychologist and/or an attorney or other professional if the court directs that. The children can talk to those people about your case - you should not be giving them the details, especially if giving the details involves denigrating the other parent.

8. Winning at custody requires considering one other very important factor: where do the children want to live. It is not a good idea to coach your children on this issue. They will have an opportunity to tell what they want to either the court, their attorney or a psychologist. However, it is a good idea to know what they want. If they want to live with their other parent, you should not spend all of your time and money pursuing custody, unless you believe that it is unsafe or inappropriate for the children to live with that parent.

9. You do have to be willing to show why your children's other parent should not have custody. So, you need to keep track of whether that parent is on time, involved, and flexible with the schedule. If that parent has any issues that affect custody, such as a history of mental health issues which impact his or her ability to care for the children or alcohol or drug addictions, you need to let the court know. Other issues that can and do affect custody determinations include the number and frequency of romantic relationships and the exposure of the children to those relationship, the proper supervision of the children, and ensuring that the children attend school and see professionals such as a doctor and dentist when necessary.

10. Above all else, hire a good attorney and be open and honest with your attorney. Listen to your attorney, not some friend or relative who is sure about what you should do because they had a friend or a relative who got a better deal. If you are paying your attorney, listen to what he or she has to say.

Divorce Attorney Jean Mahserjian makes it easier to make it through your divorce by providing you with the essential information you need to understand the divorce process. For more help and information on this topic, visit our site at: http://www.millenniumdivorce.com

Published in Divorce Law
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:13

Dont Divorce Your Children

Divorce is certainly an emotional time for families. In fact, it ranks as one of the most stressful experiences in life. However, it is not only the adults who experience this stress. If the adults are parents, their children often suffer greatly. Their suffering can not be entirely eliminated. A certain amount of grief at the 'death' of their parents' relationship is to be expected. Nevertheless, while the adults are going through typically arduous legal wrangling it is important for them to remember the needs of their children and put them first. Deciding to cooperate for their sake will help to protect the children's emotional well being by maintaining their sense of security and need for unconditional love. Marital breakdown is difficult for everyone - especially children. There are several ways in which loving, responsible parents can cooperate for the good of their children. Even though the marriage may have broken down, the parental relationship is 'till death do us part'.

Child and youth counselors emphasize that children need lasting relationships with both parents. More often than not joint custody is granted because of this accepted understanding. Ideally, the relationship of the parents should be business-like and cooperative for the sake of the children. Children should not witness hostility between their parents and should not hear negative statements about either parent. It is recommended that parents commit to regularly scheduled meetings, in a neutral location for the purpose of discussing child-related issues. Education, medical, religious and moral issues that concern the children's well- being need to be dealt with by both parents. If emotions prohibit calm conversation, there are often family justice counselors available in the community to facilitate these important meetings.

Children going through the divorce of their parents usually have many questions and worries. Compassionate responses are required and it certainly takes mature parents in order to put aside their own issues and help their children gain some understanding about a situation over which they have no control. Unfortunately, many children experience guilt and often blame themselves for the marital breakup of their parents. Counseling - whether group or individual - can be an effective way to lessen this destructive burden. The objectivity of the counselor may help the child open up and share his/her feelings. As children mature, their questions will differ so the issue of their parents' divorce is never really over. A commitment on behalf of both parents to open communication with the children will reassure them greatly.

Divorce Attorney Jean Mahserjian makes it easier to make it through your divorce by providing you with the essential information you need to understand the divorce process. For more help and information on this topic, visit our site at: http://www.millenniumdivorce.com

Published in Divorce Law
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:13

10 Rules for Winning a Divorce Case

Published in Divorce Law
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:13

Dating While Divorcing

Published in Divorce Law
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:13

Dissolution of marriage

Published in Divorce Law
Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:13

Divorce and Separation

Voluntary separation is when two parties agree that they need to go their own ways. Even though it may not start out as a "voluntary" situation, the parties can eventually come to a mutual agreement that separation was inevitable.

Most states require that you live separately for the statutory period of time. This means no cohabitation. Separation means residing (and sleeping) in different locations at all times. Separate bedrooms in the same house do not constitute a separation.

The courts distinguish between separation and "desertion", which is when one of the parties leaves without the intention of returning. If the other person forces you to leave, that is "constructive desertion." You won't be penalized by the court if you leave for your own protection or that of the child(ren).
When is separation the appropriate course?

Before you think about separation, ask yourself if you've taken all reasonable steps to make the marriage or home situation better by working together. Did you try sitting down calmly with your spouse to discuss the situation? Did you try counseling, either individually or as a couple? Talking to a psychologist, social worker, pastor, or trusted family friend may provide the necessary medium for working out differences.
If you have children, consider the impact of staying (or leaving) on them. And never bring them into the fight. Always remember: Children may be resilient, but their armor is only so thick. Children know more, see more and hear more than you think. If staying together is creating an emotionally troubling situation for them, perhaps separation is the best option.

If I decide to go ahead with it, how should I go about separating from my spouse?
Make a plan, if possible. You can't just kick your spouse out of the house (unless perhaps the home is titled in your name only), and leaving the house may impact your chances for obtaining custody or protecting property interests. Consider where you're going, what possessions and vehicles you can take with you, who the children will stay with, how the children will be cared for, and how bills will be paid. If you can, discuss a separation with your spouse and agree on temporary arrangements. If possible, put any agreement in writing. A handwritten agreement signed by both parties is enforceable in court and will provide extra protection for you. If your spouse is not in agreement about a separation, consult an attorney before leaving the marital home. An attorney can assist you in planning for a separation that doesn't jeopardize your rights.
How do I provide for myself and the children during the separation?

Once separated, you can apply to the court for several types of relief. First, you may request child support if you have custody of the minor children. The question is always "how much?" Both of you are going to have to contribute. One of you probably will think they are getting too little and the other probably will think they are paying too much. Fortunately, most states have implemented child support guidelines. This mandated method of calculation takes some of the guess work out of who pays how much.

But there's more to support than a monthly check. What about education or braces or money for sports competitions? What about medical expenses or counseling?

The court can grant both temporary and permanent support. Be knowledgeable about how support is calculated; changing the amount of support is neither automatic nor easy. A modification of support in the future will require a significant change in financial circumstances. A second type of support is spousal support or family maintenance. You can request that your spouse contribute to the mortgage and household expenses. If the court has determined that you and the minor children should remain in the marital home, the court may also grant an award of support. The court will generally assess the needs of the party requesting relief and the ability of the other party to contribute.

How does a judge decide who will be awarded custody of the children?

The courts use the "best interests of the children" standard in assessing a custody situation. If the two of you can work together, then a joint or shared custody arrangement may be right for you and your children. If effective communication between yourself and your spouse is not a reality, sole custody may be the only option. Having the court decide who should have custody is the very last option. The courts also look to whether an individual's bad acts are acts that have harmed the children.

What does "custody" mean, exactly?

Custody comes in two forms: legal and physical. Legal custody is the authority to make decisions concerning the minor child(ren)'s health, education and welfare. Physical custody pertains to where the child(ren) sleeps for the majority of the time. Generally, the courts will grant legal custody to the parent having physical custody. This makes sense since the parent taking care of the child(ren) may have to make emergency decisions. Two parents may share custody or one parent may have sole custody. There are several possible combinations of custody: shared (joint) legal with sole physical; shared legal with shared physical; or sole legal with sole physical. While many parents convey their desire for shared or joint custody, the Maryland courts are not inclined to grant shared custody unless that is the established arrangement.

A Maryland law firm also serving the District of Columbia and the Nations. Our Maryland divorce attorneys understand the law to better help you.

YOU SHOULD REMEMBER THE INFORMATION THAT YOU READ HERE IS GENERAL IN NATURE AND NOT MEANT TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR SPECIFIC LEGAL ADVICE FROM AN ATTORNEY.

Published in Divorce Law
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