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West Palm Beach Florida Family Law Blog

How co-parents can minimize holiday gift giving stress

The holidays can be an extremely stressful time for divorced co-parents -- particularly if this is their first holiday season apart. One issue that can become a minefield is gift giving for the kids. Too often, parents' resentments towards each other manifest themselves in how they handle Christmas or Hanukkah presents. This only saps the joy out of the holidays for the kids who are caught in the middle.

Parents often compete for their kids' affection by getting them more (or more expensive) gifts than they know their co-parent can't afford. They may splurge and get them something their co-parent doesn't think they need or are ready for yet.

Learning to parent again after getting sober

Not long ago, we talked about how parents in recovery can work to get back parental rights and access they were denied because of their problems with alcohol. Greater custody and visitation rights, however, mean learning how to parent children whose trust you may have lost and who may have suffered emotional damage because of your drinking.

While the hit TV show Mom portrays the aftermath of alcoholism and addiction on three generations of women for laughs (mostly), it also shows the truth that some damage can never be undone.

Appeal vs. modification: What's the difference in custody cases?

Child custody agreements are often changed by the courts and parents as circumstances change and as children get older and their needs evolve. Two terms that often get confused are "appeal" and "modification." It's important to know the difference.

Most child custody agreements are worked out by the parents, with the help of their attorneys. A judge will then approve the agreement they've worked out. If a parent wants to make a change to that agreement later, they wouldn't generally appeal it -- unless they believe there was an error in the agreement. They can, however, go to court and seek a modification.

Financial mistakes can complicate post-divorce life

When you look past the heartache and upheaval of divorce, you may see a silver lining. Chances are that you and your spouse have avoided facing the struggles that finally culminated in the plan to end the marriage. Now you have the opportunity to start fresh without the weight of those issues clouding your every move.

Unfortunately, many Florida spouses in the process of divorcing fail to realize that their financial future may depend a great deal on their fiscal behavior in the months leading to day the judge finalizes their split. While you may feel a certain amount of freedom in those months, your financial restraint can keep you on track so you are not struggling on your own after the divorce.

Giulianis argue over the former mayor's wealth

Most divorcing couples likely think they have little in common with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his third wife, Judith. The couple is divorcing after 15 years of marriage. The battle between the two, who own property in Palm Beach, however, is not unique.

As one attorney says, "He wants to give her as little money as possible, and she wants as much money as possible. It's pretty usual." She also notes, "It's not atypical for an attorney or spouse to say ‘if he's spending this amount of money on his luxuries, why does my lifestyle have to change right now?'"

Regaining access to your kids when you're in recovery

If your drinking and/or drug use contributed to the end of your marriage and a fractured relationship with your children, you're certainly not alone. However, many people with substance abuse problems need critical events like those to be the impetus for them to seek help.

If you're in recovery and seeking greater visitation rights or shared custody of your children, you may have to deal with a judge who doesn't understand addiction and recovery. Recovering alcoholics and addicts still face prejudice and discrimination in family courts. If your co-parent isn't yet ready to give you a second chance to pull your parental weight, it may seem like the odds are stacked against you for once again being a meaningful part of your children's lives.

Tips for easing time sharing transitions for your kids

Shared custody is becoming increasingly common for divorced parents. There are many positives for children in having both parents involved in their lives. However, the transition between homes, whether it's every few days, once a week or on some other schedule outlined in your custody (or "time sharing," as it's called in Florida) agreement, can be difficult for children -- particularly in the beginning.

Parents can help make those transitions smoother for their kids -- and for themselves. Following are a few tips:

The advantages of settling your divorce in mediation

If you and your spouse are considering a mediated divorce, you're not alone. Increasingly, couples are choosing mediation as a way to work out property division, child custody, support and alimony issues. Here in Florida, all divorcing couples must go through mediation before they take their divorce to court. However, many are able to settle all of their issues in mediation.

Mediation is generally less stressful, less time-consuming and less expensive than a litigated divorce. Couples with children often find that working together in mediation helps them begin the productive, cooperative partnership they'll need as co-parents.

Do half of all marriages really end in divorce?

People have long thought that the divorce rate in the United States was approximately 50 percent. That is to say, around half of all marriages end in divorce. Florida readers may also assume that this statistic is correct, but truly understanding the divorce rate and the factors that play a role in divorce requires a deeper look. 

If you are considering divorce or you are preparing to marry, it may be helpful to look at divorce rates and prepare yourself to protect your interests. Unlike what you have heard, the rate that marriages end in the U.S. may not actually be 50 percent. While the actual number of divorces has little to do with the outcome of your specific relationship, it is interesting to consider the rates of divorce in various demographics and age groups. 

Don't forget these items in your prenuptial agreement

You and your soon-to-be spouse have decided to put a prenuptial agreement in place before the big day. That's a wise decision. You each should detail and protect the money, property and other assets that belong to you before you begin making purchases together and opening joint bank accounts.

However, there are some other things that you shouldn't overlook. Your Florida family law attorney will help you determine what you should and should not include. However, your attorney doesn't know what you don't tell them.

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Phone: 561-328-0718
Fax: 561-253-6353