What Happens If My Ex-Spouse Won’t Pay Child Support?

You rely on your ex-spouse to help you support your children financially. So when your ex-spouse suddenly stops paying child support, it’s a serious blow for your entire family.

You might assume your ex-spouse is delinquent and simply doesn’t want to pay. But this isn’t the only reason to shirk on payments.

Here are four reasons why your ex-spouse may have stopped paying child support and how you can legally overcome these challenges.

1. Your Ex-Spouse Moved

If your ex-spouse moved to another state, he or she might think he or she is no longer required to pay child support. Fortunately, this belief is incorrect. According to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act, the court can force your ex-spouse to pay child support, even if he or she lives in another state.

Determine whether your state’s court still has jurisdiction over your ex-spouse. If it doesn’t, it can forward the child support order to the court in your ex-spouse’s new state.

If you don’t know where your ex-spouse moved, state agencies can help you locate him or her.

2. Your Ex-Spouse Lost His or Her Job

If your ex-spouse is unemployed, he or she doesn’t currently have the resources to pay child support payments. But he or she can’t just quit paying without informing the court. Your ex-spouse may petition the court to either reduce the child support payment amount or put a hold on the payments.

Petitioning right away is in your ex-spouse’s best interest. He or she must continue to pay child support payments until he or she petitions the court. Plus, your ex-spouse is still responsible to pay overdue child support payments.

Unfortunately, this situation leaves your family without a child support payment temporarily. But you may be entitled to certain government benefits.

3. Your Ex-Spouse Confuses Visitation Rights With Child Support Payments

Maybe your ex-spouse thinks that because his or her visitation rights were suspended, he or she no longer needs to pay child support. But visitation rights are completely separate from child support. Even if your ex-spouse cannot see his or her children, he or she is still required to pay child support.

Your ex-spouse can petition the court to restore his or her visitation rights, but must continue to pay child support regardless of the court’s decision on visitation.

4. Your Ex-Spouse Refuses to Pay

Sometimes, an ex-spouse shirks his or her responsibilities and refuses to pay child support. In this case, talk to the court about enforcing the child support order. A prosecuting attorney or a private attorney can impose consequences on your ex-spouse. These consequences may include:

  • Garnishing wages (requiring your ex-spouse’s employer to withhold a portion of his or her earnings)
  • Withholding federal tax returns
  • Seizing your ex-spouse’s property
  • Suspending your ex-spouse’s business or occupational license
  • Canceling your ex-spouse’s driver’s license
  • Incarceration

Whether you use the prosecuting attorney or a private attorney, the court uses the money obtained from garnishing wages, withholding federal tax returns, or seizing property to pay child support costs.

If your ex-spouse still fails to pay, the court can send him or her to jail, but this is a last resort. After all, if your ex-spouse is in jail, he or she isn’t able to earn money for child support payments. However, even if your ex-spouse is in jail, he or she usually qualify for work release during work days.

 

Your children rely on child support payments for their food, housing, and education. If your ex-spouse isn’t paying what he or she owes, you’ll benefit from the support a family law lawyer can offer. We can look at your specific case and provide legal counsel and solutions. We can also work with the court to enforce your ex-spouse’s child support order.

Call Madison Law Firm, PLLC today for a consultation pour acheter du viagra.

Gaining Custody of Your Grandchild in Washington State

As a grandparent, you want the best for your grandchild. When your son or daughter struggles to care for your grandchild, you feel an obligation to step in.

Gaining custody of your grandchild is no easy task and involves a series of legal steps. We detail more about this process below.

Reasons to Gain Custody of Your Grandchild

First, make sure you have a valid reason to seek custody. Even though you’re a close relative, the courts still prefer to grant custody to the child’s parents viagra non generic.

It’s reasonable to seek custody if your grandchild’s parents:

  • Are abusive
  • Are mentally ill
  • Are addicted to drugs or alcohol
  • Are in jail
  • Have abandoned their child
  • Prefer to have you raise their child

When the court terminates one parent’s parental rights, it prefers to keep the other parent as the sole legal guardian. However, if both parents are incapable of caring for the child, the court must appoint someone else as guardian. It prefers to appoint close relatives, such as grandparents, before turning to strangers. In fact, grandparents are usually the court’s first choice.

Types of Custody Arrangements for Grandparents

There are several types of custody arrangements available to grandparents.

Temporary Custody

If the child’s parents agree for you to temporarily take care of their child, you could be granted temporary custody.

However, immediate temporary custody is where the court believes that the child will be in danger if he or she stays with the parents. The court can place the child in your care until the temporary custody hearing. At the temporary custody hearing, the court can appoint you as temporary guardian of the child until the case concludes.

Yet another option for temporary custody is known as kinship foster care. It is either arranged privately between you and the parents or arranged by a child welfare agency. Kinship foster care means you don’t have legal custody-so you cannot make any major decisions about your grandchild’s care without state approval. However, you are entitled to the same financial help other foster parents receive.

Legal Custody

Custody gives you all parental rights, such as the ability to make medical decisions for your grandchild. In order for you to gain custody of your grandchild, an investigation will occur to determine your capability. They may perform a criminal background check or visit your home and prepare a home study report. The court must terminate the parents’ parental rights before granting you legal permanent custody.

 

Adoption

If there’s no possibility your grandchild’s parents will be able to care for your grandchild again, you can seek legal adoption. You’ll have permanent responsibility for your grandchild’s care, and the child’s parents relinquish all legal parenting rights. You must file an adoption application with the court. If your grandchild is 12 or older, he or she must agree to the adoption.

How a Lawyer Helps

The process of gaining custody is time-intensive and complex, so you’ll greatly benefit from a lawyer’s advice and guidance. A lawyer can investigate your situation and determine the best course of action. He or she can act as your advocate to help you obtain an ideal outcome.

If you hope to gain custody of your grandchild, call Madison Law Firm for a consultation.

5 Guidelines to Help Your Newly Adopted Child Adjust

When you adopt a child, regardless of his or her age, you should expect an adjustment period once the child reaches your home. Even infants require some time to fall into new routines and feel comfortable with their new families.

In this blog, we provide five tips so you can help your newly adopted child feel like he or she truly belongs in your home.

1. Avoid Overwhelming Situations Initially

Moving from one home to another is a big change, even if you do it with a family you’ve had your whole life. Moving into a home where your new parents and siblings already feel comfortable can become overwhelming.

Avoid putting additional stress on a newly adopted child for at least a few weeks. Keep celebrations simple and create guest lists composed primarily of people your child already knows. Do not purchase excessive gifts, offer huge lists of household rules, or plan a trip too close to your child’s move-in date.

Many of these fun or essential elements of your family life will come naturally and gradually as your child begins to feel more comfortable.

2. Be Patient With Your Child’s Habits and Emotions

Many children up for adoption, especially those living in children’s homes or foster homes, develop habits that make them feel safer. Sometimes, these habits may seem strange or undesirable to you.

However, if the behavior is harmless, like keeping a comfort item, you should allow your child to continue at least until he or she settles in. If your child exhibits behavioral problems, approach the situation calmly and gradually.

Also encourage your child to express how he or she feels about the transition. Even if your child feels happy to be home, he or she might miss previous foster parents or feel anxious about attending a new school. These emotions are normal and should be expressed.

3. Offer Frequent Low-Pressure Bonding Opportunities

To help your child adjust effectively, provide bonding opportunities often. Many of these opportunities will come naturally, such as cooking a meal together, sharing a conversation during a car ride, or preparing for a normal day.

Avoid high-pressure bonding opportunities, such as parties, during the initial adjustment period. This step helps you and your child get to know each other in the context of daily life rather than special events.

4. Provide Surroundings That are Familiar and Comfortable

If possible, provide your child with elements that feel familiar and comfortable. You may want to take pictures of your child’s previous living situation to get an idea of what he or she is used to. Another option is to encourage your child to bring items from a previous home, such as books or toys.

If your child is old enough to offer personal opinions on his or her living situation, ask before making changes to his or her room. This provides your child with a feeling of some control over the situation.

5. Steer Clear of Unforgiving Consequences

If you have other children in your home, they likely already know the rules and the potential consequences of misbehavior.

Avoid time-outs and other consequences that feel unforgiving, especially in response to breaking rules your child did not know. Time-outs can make your child feel isolated and diminish any trust you’ve already built.

 

In addition to the guidelines listed above, do your best to minimize disruptions to your child’s adjustment period. When you can, meet with your legal representation without your child. If possible, get all paperwork and meetings out of the way before you child moves into your home. These steps will limit the reminders of the recent adoption, allowing your child to truly feel at home avis viagra france.

Follow these guidelines to help you and your child transition into a whole and happy family unit.

Adopting? 4 Reasons to Hire a Family Law Attorney for the Process

Adoption offers an exciting opportunity to couples or individuals who might otherwise never be able to add children to their loving family unit. If you’re approaching the prospect of adopting, you’ve likely spent a lot of time researching, thinking, and consulting with various professionals.

By this point, you may feel like an expert, or you may still feel completely out of your depth. Regardless, you should hire a family law attorney before you begin the process to ensure that you navigate the difficult legal issues of adoption as smoothly as possible.

In this blog, we discuss four vital services that your family law attorney provides during this process.

1. Ensured Legal Compliance

As with many family law situations, adoption evokes a lot of strong emotions. As new parents, you may find yourself caught up in the moment and miss important legal steps. Leave these measures to your attorney.

For example, if you choose to work directly with your child’s birth mother, your lawyer ensures that all parties complete the required paperwork achat de viagra acheter on line. These documents can include comprehensive consent forms from the birth mother and birth father when needed, compliance paperwork from the hospital, and a host of other legal contracts.

Having a lawyer provide, oversee, and review your paperwork is one of the best ways to avoid legal hiccups that could delay or halt the adoption process.

2. Legal Protection

Unless you have completed multiple adoptions before this one and you work in the field, you likely don’t have the background to identify possible adoption pitfalls before you encounter them. Your attorney has the resources and experience to help you avoid untrustworthy agencies, coercive situations, and proceedings which can draw out the adoptions process indefinitely.

Whether you choose to adopt through an agency or in an independent process, you need the legal protection an attorney provides.

3. Mediation

In addition to protection from unpleasant circumstances, an attorney provides ideal communication between you and the other involved parties. A family law attorney mediates between the adopting parents and the agency or birth mother.

Mediation becomes particularly important should any legal or circumstantial issues arise. For example, if the birth mother begins to rethink her decision, the child experiences any serious medical issues, or another issue arises, your lawyer handles the situation. Having an experienced family law attorney in your corner ensures that all parties stay informed and your agreements stay up to date with the current situation.

4. Tailored Agreements

In most legal situations, you can find standard documents to fill out, and adoption is no different. However, contracts drawn up by an attorney acquainted with your situation have far greater value than a traditional agreement.

These contracts drawn up by your lawyer play a particularly large role if you plan to adopt independent of an agency. You may have an agreement to pay for the birth mother’s pregnancy expenses, but what happens if she rethinks her decision? That’s where your contractual agreement comes in. Your lawyer can create a
document which stipulates which circumstances invalidate your agreement to cover specific expenses.

Tailor-made agreements protect you and your future child from the messiness that can occur during the adoptions process.

 

Before you begin the adoptions process, reach out to your trusted family law attorney. Ideally, you should discuss your situation and desires with your attorney before you ever contact an agency or prospective birth mother. Your attorney can provide all of the services listed above, as well as recommendations based on your family situation, desires, and personal history.

As you expand your family, trust your attorney to simplify the process. For more information on the services offered by our family law firm, visit our blog section.

When and How to Seek a Domestic Violence Protection Order

If you’ve been abused by a spouse, partner, or another relative or member of your household, you should seek help right away. In order to prevent further harm to yourself and your children, ask the court for a domestic violence protection order.

A domestic violence protection order ensures the perpetrator will stay away from you. If he or she breaks the order, he or she will face arrest.

What Qualifies as Domestic Violence?

You might wonder if what someone is doing to you is considered domestic violence. Domestic violence applies to more than just physical harm, although it certainly includes physical harm. Domestic violence also includes:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Attempting or verbally threatening to harm you physically or sexually
  • Stalking you when you leave the house
  • Performing violent actions, such as breaking furniture
  • Preventing you from leaving the house

If you’re a victim of any of the above, it is in your best interest to receive a domestic violence protection order.

What Is a Domestic Violence Protection Order?

A domestic violence protection order is a legal order obtained from your local court that tells the perpetrator not to harm you.

The domestic violence protection order can also:

  • Give you temporary custody of your children.
  • Order the perpetrator not to enter your home or to leave your shared home.
  • Prevent the perpetrator from coming near you or attempting to contact you.
  • Order the perpetrator to attend counseling.
  • Allow you to keep your personal items.

You cannot obtain an official domestic violence protection order until you and the perpetrator meet with a judge, which might not happen for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, the court can offer you a temporary order that’s effective until you can meet with the judge.

Other Types of Protection Orders

 A domestic violence protection order might not apply in every situation. There are several other types of protection orders in Washington State.

  • No-Contact Order: If your spouse or partner is being tried for a crime, the court may issue a no-contact order to protect you from him or her during the trial period.
  • Restraining Order: A restraining order is issued as part of a family law case, such as a
    divorce case. It covers more legal ground than a domestic violence protection order. It can address issues such as spousal support, child support, and property rights.
  • Civil Anti-Harassment Order: This applies if you are being harassed or threatened by a nonfamily member or non-partner, such as a neighbor, coworker, or even a stranger.

If you’re unsure which type of protection order to pursue, talk with a lawyer.

What Happens at the Hearing?

At the hearing for a permanent domestic violence protection order, both you and the perpetrator will discuss the case with a judge. You will want to bring evidence, such as photos, police reports, and medical reports. You should also bring any witnesses.

The judge will ask why you are seeking a protection order. They may also ask about how and when the perpetrator has abused you.

You don’t have to hire a lawyer to get a domestic violence protection order. However, a lawyer can help you prepare for your hearing. You’ll also benefit from working with a lawyer if you’re planning to seek other legal actions against your family member, such as divorce. Also, if you know your family member has hired a lawyer, you may wish to hire one as well.

If you’re the victim of domestic violence, don’t suffer alone. The law can help you find safety for you and your family. Seek out a domestic violence protection order to protect yourself from the abuser.

What is the Uniform Parentage Act and Why Should You Care?

When you think of the words “mother” and “father,” what do you envision? Do you see your parents clapping together after you took your first steps? Do you see your dad tucking you into bed? Do you feel your mom’s kiss on the cheek as she leaves for work?

Much of what we believe or expect from parenthood depends on the historical view of the family. But with today’s technology, this traditional view of the nuclear family changes. Now women can get pregnant via in vitro fertilization without ever meeting their child’s father. Parents who can’t conceive on their own can hire a surrogate to carry their son or daughter during gestation.

When the genetic makeup of a child comes from someone other than his or her parents, who has legal parenting rights?

The Uniform Parentage Act of 2002 took all of the above factors into account to define each parent’s individual rights. It also explains the specific legal procedure for determining paternity and genetic testing.

We’ve created an outline of the most basic terms in this legislation, so read on to understand your obligations and legal rights as a parent.

Legal Maternity

Traditionally, the law considered the mother to be the woman who physically bore the child. Under the 2002 law, the legal definition of mother has expanded to include:

  • A woman designated as an adoptive mother by a judge.
  • A woman whose egg was fertilized.
  • A woman who entered into a gestational agreement.

In these extenuating circumstances, the woman who carried the child does not have maternity rights under the law. If any of the above categories apply to your situation, the law protects your rights as a mother. We’ll discuss those legal rights later on in this post.

Legal Paternity

Before parenting rights became a prominent legal issue, fathers who had a child but were not married to the child’s mother could not qualify for parenting rights. Instead, all decision making ability and legal responsibilities were delegated to the child’s mother.

Today, the Uniform Parentage Act protects the rights of fathers. A legal father can include any of the following:

  • Presumed father: the man who lived with the child during the first two years of life. A presumed father also includes the man who was married to the child’s mother when she gave birth whether or not the baby was his biological child.
  • Acknowledged father: the man who claimed paternity over the child.
  • Adjudicated father: the man designated as the adoptive or legal father by a judge, or a man determined to be the father by a gestational agreement.
  • Biological father: a man who gives his consent to assisted medical reproduction.

Regardless of the legal father’s relationship with the biological mother, once he proves his paternity, the law must protect his legal rights.

Determining Parentage

Parents who have already talked to the court about their adopted or non-biological children have legal documentation confirming their parentage. However, biological parents face a more extensive process to prove their paternity.

In the event of a civil dispute, the putative father, the assumed father involved in the suit, can establish paternity in one of two ways.

First, he can sign an affidavit assuming paternity. When he gives his consent, he agrees to perform all paternal responsibilities for the rest of his life. This agreement stays in effect as long as no other man claims to have paternal rights over the same child.

If the putative father wants to escape the responsibilities outlined by the affidavit, he must prove that he is not the biological father.

Second, he can undergo DNA testing. Using DNA from the mother, the presumed father, and the child, genetic testing can determine the probability that the presumed father is the child’s biological father. The court recognizes 95% probability and above as decisive evidence that the putative father is the biological father.

Though mothers have participated in DNA testing in some cases, the mother who carried the child is typically assumed to be the biological mother, unless egg donors or surrogates were involved.

Paternity Rights

Now that you understand the legal definitions of mother and father, we’ll explain the rights and obligations that the law expects of parents.

Each parent bears the responsibility to support the child, meaning that they provide for his or her needs. In the case of divorce or separation, the court may determine that a parent owes “spousal maintenance” or child support to provide for the child.

Both parents also have the right to visit or have custody of the child. Even if the father never married the child’s mother, he maintains his visitation or custody rights if he qualifies as the legal father.

The child also has a right to all insurance, social security, and inheritance from his or her parents, so determining legal paternity can benefit the child as well.

 

The Uniform Parenting Act seeks to protect the rights of both children and parents, even with the recent technological changes that alter our definitions of mother and father. If you feel that you qualify for paternity rights, contact a team of legal experts to establish your parentage and make a case for your legal rights.

6 Things to Consider When You Hire a Mergers and Acquisitions Advisor

Whether you own a small company or manage a mid-sized business, you need to have a vision for your company’s future. Even as you increase revenues and expand your client base, you need to keep in mind the possibilities for future interactions with other companies.

Mergers and acquisitions provide an opportunity for your company to increase its assets for development. When you acquire or merge with an existing business, you also gain new personnel and new skills to enhance your company’s performance. You reduce competition and share the costs of running a business as well.

How should you choose an advisor to handle a merger or acquisition? The right advisor shares your vision for expanding your business and has the potential to earn you the highest settlement. Your choice of legal counsel will depend on your business’s needs.

Read the following seven tips to help you find an advisor that’s well-suited for your specific business.

1. Experience

Along with a law degree and many years of experience, an advisor should also have a personal connection to your type of business. Your legal counsel will need to familiarize himself or herself with the finer details of accounting, finance, marketing, business valuation, real estate, contracting, and negotiating to understand your business’s unique needs.

2. Fit

In addition to the practical knowledge of your industry, your mergers and acquisitions advisor should have experience dealing with your business size and budget. Also, the mutual fit between your company and the law firm you select matters even more than your legal counsel’s reputation and experience.

Find an advisor that frequently supervises cases approximately the same size as your company. If your company values at $100 million, don’t choose a firm that averages $30 million in settlements.

Similarly, if you own a new startup, you might not want to hire a legal team accustomed to multi-billion dollar settlements. Larger firms won’t have time to dedicate to smaller deals if they depend on mega-mergers for their income.

3. Availability

When you work in mergers and acquisitions, timing is paramount. You want an advisor who can defend your interests while seeking a partner to help you achieve your goals. Only a narrow window exists when an expensive deal between two parties is mutually advantageous, so your advisor’s dedication to your case should influence your decision.

When you select your legal counsel, take care to ask about the other cases your team currently works on. If your advisor attempts to juggle multiple cases simultaneously, you could miss the chance of a lifetime for your company. Choose a legal team that can dedicate their available time and resources to your company-not just today, but in the long haul that lies ahead.

4. Reputation

Since your legal advisor will represent your company, you want to ensure your advisor has a reputation for integrity, honesty, and commitment. Contact a few of the firm’s most recent clients and ask them how they felt about the advisor’s strengths and weaknesses.

You should also research the firm you want to work with to make sure their reputation won’t taint your company in the marketplace. Most Better Business Bureaus and other professional organizations keep a record of customer complaints, so take advantage of these resources when you research an advisor’s history.

5. Location

Some M&A advisors claim that they can work with your company from a remote location. For prominent or established companies, this strategy may not pose a problem. But for startups or small businesses, you want to choose an advisor that can personally visit your company and assess your earning potential.

With the high stakes of mergers and acquisitions, you want an advisor who can spend adequate face-time with your business. A local firm has the flexibility to meet with your company personally. If a local company doesn’t offer the services or the scope you desire, talk to your advisor about visiting your business location on a regular basis.

6. Personality

Once you’ve chosen a firm, make sure your particular advisor is someone you can trust. Mergers and acquisitions create extremely stressful situations, often for months on end. Make sure that you can communicate openly and honestly with your advisor.

If your preferred firm’s best legal counsel seems to frustrate you or ignore your opinion, keep looking. You won’t want to spend hours on end with a person that you can’t respect. If you don’t like your advisor, other companies probably won’t want to negotiate with him or her either.

7. Cost

You want to consider how your advisor will receive compensation before you begin the process. Ask how payment will be distributed, whether your legal counsel will take commission on a portion of your settlement or if they also expect additional fees. You also want to find out if your advisor charges a standard rate for all M&A transactions or if they have scalable costs and fee reductions.

 

All of these factors should influence your decision to contract an advisor for your merger or acquisition viagra tarif. For more information about corporate law, schedule a consultation with your legal counsel.

Executing a Health Care Directive: Your Questions Answered

People today live longer than ever before. You may assume that you have many healthy years left in your life, but you don’t know how many years that will be. Now is the time to complete a health care directive. No matter your age, a health care directive ensures your family and doctors handle your medical treatment and end-of-life care the way you want.

Here, we’ll answer your questions about executing a health care directive in Washington state.

What Is a Health Care Directive?

A health care directive is a legally binding document that tells your loved ones and caretakers your preferences for medical care. This document will help them make important medical decisions, especially if you lose the ability to make them yourself.

In your directive, you can name a person or agent (known as the attorney-in-fact) to make medical decisions for you if you cannot achat viagra en france. This person could include your spouse or another trusted relative. You cannot name your doctor or other health care provider unless they are an immediate relative.

In your health care directive, you can include:

  • Instructions for end-of-life care, including whether you would prefer your life to be artificially prolonged. If you are in a permanent unconscious position and/or medical authorities have determined that continued care would only serve to prolong the dying process, you can elect to accept or refuse that care. You can also accept or refuse nutrition or hydration to prolong your life.
  • Whether you prefer to donate your organs or tissues after your death.
  • Any other instructions or preferences regarding your health care, including where you wish to receive treatment and whether you prefer not to receive certain treatments.

You and two witnesses should sign this document. Your witnesses cannot be related to you and cannot be entitled to any portion of your estate or interested in receiving your organs. You also can’t use your doctor, their employees, and any other employees at your healthcare facility as witnesses.

Make sure you give copies to your lawyer, your attorney-in-fact, and your doctor. Also, keep a copy in a safe place.

When Should I Complete One?

You can complete a health care directive as young as age 18. After age 18, you’re never too young or too old to complete one. No matter your age, an illness or injury could render you unconscious or incapable of making health care decisions. While you certainly hope this won’t be the case, it’s better to make your decisions now.

What Happens If I Don’t Complete One?

If you do not complete a health care directive, your closest relatives will make your health care decisions. While you may trust them to make the right decisions, it could also cause them a lot of stress if they do not know what you would prefer-and they may disagree with each other.

Not completing a health care directive may also increase the stress on your doctor. Without a health care directive, he or she will need to get a consensus from your family for your care. It’s much easier when he or she knows your preferences and who you prefer to make medical decisions for you.

What Happens in an Emergency?

In an emergency situation, doctors will not have time to consult your health care directive-they will make decisions to preserve your life. Once they preserve your life, your doctors can evaluate the health care directive and act accordingly.

If you have a serious health condition, you can fill out a separate form called the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST). Like a health care directive, this form lets physicians know the treatments you prefer or don’t prefer. The POLST form travels with you, whether you are at home, in the hospital, or in a care center. It is the first form doctors and nurses see in your clinical record.

What Happens If I’m Pregnant?

If you are pregnant, your doctors have the right to ignore your wishes in order to preserve the baby’s life.

Can I Change My Mind?

You can revoke your health care directive at any time by executing a revocation or destroying the documents.

If a lawyer helped you execute your health care directive, you should inform him or her of the change. He or she can help you revoke your health care directive and create a new one. Make sure you inform your family and doctors of the changes as well.

How Can a Lawyer Help?                                                      

A lawyer can provide the legal forms you need to complete a health care directive. He or she can also guide you in making legal decisions, such as choosing your attorney-in-fact. Your lawyer can also help you create a will and make other end-of-life decisions.

When you’re young, you don’t want to think about the end of your life. Yet, making these decisions now can give you and your family peace of mind. Reduce future stress on your family and doctors; create your health care directive now while you’re still healthy.

7 Tips for Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce

p>Most parents want what’s best for their children. However, this desire may conflict with divorced parents’ difficult feelings-in particular, their feelings of anger and resentment toward each other.

It’s normal to experience such feelings after a divorce. But if you have shared or joint custody of your kids, proceed carefully with those feelings. Otherwise, you risk hurting your children further.

To create a positive co-parenting arrangement, follow the seven tips listed below.

1. Remember, It’s Not About You

Even if your divorce was fairly amicable, you may struggle over which ex-spouse spends more time with the children. If you have a tough time deciding on a fair schedule, talk to a lawyer who understands joint custody agreements.

Also, remember that you’re creating a new relationship with your ex. If you need to, approach your ex as a business partner. Speak with respect and don’t equate listening with approval. Converse about children’s needs only. View each partner as a co-parent whose primary task is helping kids feel safe and loved. Every other concern is secondary.

Once you recognize that your family’s needs are bigger than your own, you may find it easier to set aside your resentment.

2. Vent the Right Way

Even though divorce is hard on everyone, it’s most confusing for children. While you work through your feelings of anger and resentment, make a goal to vent only to adults, outside of children’s hearing.

You should also consider keeping a journal. Journal writing can act as a release for you, but it can also help you plan for your children’s future. And don’t forget to ask children what they’re feeling. Sit down with them, comfort their fears, and allow them to vent their frustrations. Help them see any benefits in their new schedule, and maybe you’ll begin to see some benefits as well.

3. Stick With Familiar Traditions When Possible

Try your best to find comforting rituals and traditions during this transition time. If one parent lives too far away to regularly attend all soccer games, enlist the help of a favorite uncle or friend to come along. Surround your children with familiar people and situations whenever possible.

For example, if you always have movie night on Fridays, stick with the routine. If some traditions are too painful to follow, ask your kids to help you come up with a new tradition that will comfort them while they adjust to new circumstances.

4. Don’t Bad-Mouth Your Ex-Spouse

When you feel angry or frustrated, your natural inclination might be to argue the issue-even in front of your kids. However, resist this temptation as much as possible. The less you say negative remarks about your ex-spouse, the better your children will feel.

After all, kids deserve a good relationship with both parents. Don’t sour your children’s views by complaining about your ex in their hearing.

Likewise, avoid relaying messages to your ex via your children. You have the ability to e-mail, text, or call your ex-spouse. Your kids should never have to act as arbitrators between parents.

5. Learn Effective Stress-Relief Strategies

Both kids and their parents can benefit from healthy outlets during a divorce. You might set up stress signals that others can react to by using a code word or physical gesture. Decide that if a situation gets too stressful or difficult, another person can say the code word or use the agreed gesture.

Once you realize that your stress is high, observe your breathing patterns. Remind yourself to breathe slowly and diaphragmatically. Watch your belly expand on inhalation and collapse during exhalation. Allow your muscles to soften.

Find friends who will listen attentively, and make them an emergency contact for stressful moments. Or, you might close your eyes and imagine a calm or soothing scene. You can also speak to a counselor if you have one.

Keep up your exercise routine during stressful times. Go for a brisk walk, or join a yoga class that teaches you how to accept your physical as well as emotional limits.

6. Choose Your Battles

No matter if you face a difficult conversation with your ex or a tantrum by your five-year-old, remember that not all battles are worth your energy. Decide ahead of time that one imperfect resolution doesn’t mean either parent is a bad parent. One childish outburst doesn’t mean your five-year-old is headed for long-term behavioral problems.

Be realistic, and cut others a little slack. Stress and arguments are hard on everyone, not just you. Let it go whenever you can.

7. Ask for Legal Help

Some challenges might be too difficult to resolve on your own. If you can’t resolve a scheduling agreement, or if you suspect your joint-custody agreement has disguised a lower child-support payment, talk to your lawyer.

Also, remember that not all situations merit joint custody. Your legal advocates can help you know your options if joint custody doesn’t work well for your children. Don’t be afraid to ask for legal help when you need it.

 

By following these common-sense tips after a divorce, you help the whole family adjust better to even the most challenging circumstances. Be patient, and you’ll find your new routine easier to follow over time.