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What can I do if my ex disregards the stay-at-home order and puts our children at risk?

divorce trends

Question:

What can I do if my ex disregards the stay-at-home order and puts our children at risk?

Answer:

I do not practice law in your state. Therefore, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can provide you with general tips for this sort of issue.

As you are experiencing, many parents during this time improperly are ignoring the pandemic warnings. As such, many of the nation’s family courts quickly are responding to these types of situations.

That being said, the courts generally do not like to see parents engaging in self-help, which is when a parent decides what they believe is the best course of action without seeking court intervention. For example, if you decided to withhold your children based on the other parent’s behavior, this could be frowned upon by the court. 

If you have an enforceable court order, you certainly have the right to inform the police that the order is not being abided by if the other parent is putting the children in harm’s way. At times, law enforcement is unwilling to engage in any type of situation which may be considered a family law matter and will direct people to file appropriate actions with the courts.

A lot of courts now are having emergency or expedited hearings, as it relates to contempt of custody orders. Further, if your jurisdiction is under a stay-at-home order, many courts have implemented virtual hearings, so you can participate in a hearing by phone or video conference.

In my jurisdiction, once a custody order is entered by the court, the court expects that each party will abide by the order, but the court does consider the best interests of the child(ren) paramount. If parties to a custody order do not abide by the terms of the order and/or put the children in harms way, the party seeking enforcement of the terms of the order has the ability to file a contempt petition against the offending party.

In order for contempt to be found, the moving party (the one who wants to show there was contempt) has to show that the offending party has “willfully failed to comply” with the court order. In other words, you have to show that a person purposely is not abiding by the terms of the custody order.

However, the courts generally will not enter a contempt order until such time as the custody order actually has been violated or there is a clear indication (i.e. a person actually stating, preferably in writing, that they will not abide by the terms of the court order) that the custody order will not be followed. If the courts find that a party is in contempt of the custody order, there are several remedies the court may utilize.

Some examples are: imposing monetary sanctions, awarding counsel fees if counsel is retained, changing of the custody order (a rare occurrence but may happen if contemptuous behavior is pervasive and ongoing), and potential incarceration.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce attorney Caroline Thompsoncontact Cordell & Cordell.

The post What can I do if my ex disregards the stay-at-home order and puts our children at risk? appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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COVID-19 AND DOMESTIC ABUSE: Woman with black eye holding help sign

Stay-At-Home Orders and COVID-19: A Nightmare For Victims of Domestic Violence

COVID-19 AND DOMESTIC ABUSE: Woman with black eye holding help sign

 

It’s not always obvious that you are in an abusive relationship. Many times in abusive relationships the victim will believe they are to blame or deserve the abuse.

The recent global pandemic has brought couples closer than ever.

Unfortunately, closeness can be a hell behind closed doors for victims of domestic violence.

 “Stay at Home” Orders: A Living Hell For Victims of Domestic Violence

According to Katie Ray-Jones, the CEO of the National Domestic Violence Hotline, perpetrators are threatening to throw their victims out on the street so they get sick. They are also using this time in isolation to withhold financial or medical resources or medical assistance.

Times of social distancing and isolation can be an opportunity for an abuser to unleash violence on their victim. According to recent reports, since the “stay at home” orders have been issued, the YWCA, a non-profit organization for victims of domestic violence, reports that they have seen a 50% increase in calls.

This is an important reminder that not everyone is safer at home.

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

According to the World Health Organization, one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime. It can happen in times of peace and stability, but domestic abuse can elevate when crisis strikes.

Abuse can be any action, physical or emotional, that is cruel and violent or intended to cause harm to someone. The first step to seeking help for abuse is knowing what signs to look for.

Jealousy

Jealousy has no place in a healthy relationship. Many times in abusive relationships jealousy will start off as a minor annoyance, but can quickly escalate into a daily problem.

The first signs of jealousy can be to gradually isolate you from family and friends. Jealousy can also include constantly accusing you of cheating or flirting with other people.

Possessiveness and Control 

When possessiveness and control rear its ugly head in a relationship, the outcome can be extremely damaging to a person’s mental health. Constant “check-ins” on your whereabouts and who you are with can be the main sign that your partner is possessive or controlling. In addition, a possessive partner will try to control where you go and who you see.

Signs of Possessive or controlling behavior include:

  • Checking your phone or computer without your permission
  • Constant calling you or texting you and asking who you are with
  • Constantly putting you down
  • Explosive temper
  • Mood swings
  • Gaslighting

Physical Violence

Physical abuse is any intentional forced and unwanted contact with you or something close to you. Sometimes abusive behavior doesn’t cause any pain or cruises, but it can have a lasting emotional impact.

Examples of Physical Abuse:

  • Scratching, punching, biting, strangling or kicking.
  • Throwing something at you such as a phone, book, shoe or plate.
  • Pulling your hair.
  • Pushing or pulling you.
  • Grabbing your clothing.
  • Using a gun, knife, box cutter, bat, mace or another weapon.
  • Smacking your bottom without your permission or consent.
  • Forcing you to have sex or perform a sexual act.
  • Grabbing your face to make you look at them.
  • Grabbing you to prevent you from leaving or to force you to go somewhere.

Sexual Abuse 

Sexual violence refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse. Typically, a partner who is physically violent is also sexually abusive. Intimate partner assault and rape are intended to intimidate, control and demean victims of domestic violence.

According to, The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV)’s, “Women who are sexually abused by intimate partners suffer severe and long-lasting physical and mental health problems, similar to those of other rape victims. They have higher rates of depression and anxiety than women who were either raped by a non-intimate partner or physically but not sexually abused by an intimate partner.”

Get Help Immediately 

Toxicity in relationships usually gets worse, if you find yourself in a physically or emotionally abusive relationship, it’s important to know you are not alone.

Domestic violence advocates are urging women who are not in forced quarantine or isolation to seek help immediately. For victims already in isolation, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is rapidly working to develop strategies to help those who are in lockdown.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline via text or call at 1-800-799-7233.

The post Stay-At-Home Orders and COVID-19: A Nightmare For Victims of Domestic Violence appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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stay-at-home mom

I Was a Stay-At-Home Mom: I Didn’t Regret That Until I Went Through a Divorce

stay-at-home mom

 

I started dating my high school sweetheart when I was just seventeen years old, and he was 16. Our families were friends since childhood.  Our relationship got serious rather quickly. He was the guy that checked all the boxes for the type of man I thought I was supposed to marry.

I had a ring on my finger when I was 19, and married before I even graduated college at 21 years old.  We pretty much grew up together. We were still kids trying to figure out life. Everything we had, we built from the ground up.  Nobody gave us anything that we didn’t work for.

Our relationship lasted 19 years; with two beautiful children to show for it, a custom-built home, a pretty substantial real estate portfolio, and a marriage that most people thought would last a lifetime.

Except that it didn’t. 

I was the mom that ran the household.  I worked in real estate part-time (a career that did not light me up) so that I could be there to raise our children.  I cooked all our meals, I made sure the home was clean, and I brought the kids to and from school and volunteered in the classroom.  Managing our home was my first priority.

I Was a Stay-At-Home Mom

Everything changed the minute our marriage was over.  It was as if this person I built a life with suddenly became someone I needed to protect myself from. I was dumbfounded that we instantly became strangers. I went from a life that felt safe, to thinking “what else could possibly be taken away from me?”

I am the one that asked for a divorce, but I was beaten to the punch with divorce papers.  I was suffering and processing the loss of my marriage, I wasn’t thinking that I needed to “protect” what was already mine.  I hired my own lawyer being that I was left with no other option.

My lawyer suggested I check my bank accounts to see if our funds were left untouched.  I can’t even begin to describe the feeling that washed over me when I logged into our joint bank accounts only to find that all the accounts had been closed and credit cards canceled.  To say that I felt terrified is an understatement. How did “our money” all of a sudden become “my money?”

Had I not been savvy, and blessed with the grace of God, I would have been at the mercy of a stranger, a person I was intimate with for 19 years, but none of that mattered anymore.  I was left to fend for myself, completely unsupported by my family, awaiting a court date in order to have a judge determine my fate. I still had basic survival needs.  “How do I pay for gas, groceries, the kid’s necessities, etc.?”

What came next was waking up one morning only to find my car key missing.  A car that I had been driving for a year…vanished. I was told it was a “company car” that I was no longer entitled to drive.  No warning, no conversation, just gone!

Everything changed overnight. 

I was no longer the primary caretaker of our children.  He went from running a family business fulltime to instantly becoming 50% dad, bringing and picking up the kids from school, and when he couldn’t he enlisted his family’s help during his “custodial time.” There was zero communication in raising our children.  It was your time and my time, and on my time, I will do whatever I please. Mind you it was never my intention to take the kids away, I believe children need both mom and dad in their lives. None of this was a topic of conversation, just action taken fueled by shattered pride and ego.

We were both instructed by lawyers to stay in our home until the divorce was finalized, which lasted a year.  It was excruciating. It felt outer body. I was a stranger in a home we built ourselves, a home we raised our children in, and where we hosted many family gatherings. Nothing felt comfortable anymore.  We both avoided being home when it wasn’t our custodial time. Everything was calculated and documented down to the day and the hour.  It was what I call divorce purgatory. Stuck between two worlds; life before divorce and life after divorce.

I write this in no way to place blame or to make myself out to be the victim because to be completely honest, my attorney advised me to do the exact same thing, but I didn’t want to believe that we had become these people.  I didn’t want our children to be placed in the crossfire of two people who felt the need to defend their ego and pride, but I also wasn’t going to stand around and allow someone to pull the rug out from under me.

My story is in no way unique. 

I have heard countless women in this exact predicament, especially when it comes to finances.  Begging for money in order to buy tampons. Meanwhile, their lawyer is unable to do a darn thing without getting in front of a judge, which could take months. Withholding money is financial abuse, and I don’t wish it on anyone.  I was grateful that I had other sources of income that he was unable to withhold from me in the long run, but not everyone is that lucky.

This is what many bulldog lawyers instruct their clients to do… ACT FAST, PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR ASSETS, MINIMIZE FINANCIAL LOSS, and in some cases make the other person out to be unfit and unreliable.  It’s not a lawyer’s job to do what is in the best interest of all parties involved, including the children.  Their only job is to “WIN” for the client. They have no interest in who gets burned in the process. I say this having experienced it firsthand.

I want stay at home moms to be fully aware of the possible outcomes.  If you are financially dependent on your spouse and you want out of your marriage please be aware of the situation and consult a lawyer, preferably a lawyer that isn’t out to win at all costs.  Don’t ever think to yourself that this will never happen to me, that was my first lesson. This can easily be you, too, if you are in a relationship with someone who is fueled by fear and has a bruised ego. Remember healing doesn’t happen in courtrooms, that’s your own personal journey.  Until you are in a desperate state of mind, you have no idea what you are capable of doing.

If you find yourself in this situation feel free to reach out to me for a complimentary strategy session.  Do not try and handle this alone.

Sign-up on my mailing list to get weekly content that will support you in your journey towards healing, and also get notified of my upcoming program coming out soon…Untying the Knots of Divorce.

The post I Was a Stay-At-Home Mom: I Didn’t Regret That Until I Went Through a Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: She Needs to Take These 7 Steps

Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: She Needs to Take These 7 Steps

Being a stay at home mom while going through a divorce can be stressful and difficult, but you can stay ahead of the game and keep prepared by following this guideline and meeting a lawyer sooner rather than later!

The post Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: She Needs to Take These 7 Steps appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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divorce & the stay-at-home mom

Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: 8 Necessary Steps To Take

divorce & the stay-at-home mom

 

Divorce can be an especially stressful time as a stay-at-home mom who has dedicated the past few years to raising kids and taking care of the family. By taking time away from their work life, they may be at a disadvantage. This is because it could be hard going back or relearning certain job-skills to make them competitive in the workplace again.

Being a stay-at-home mom is a beautiful way to raise your kids and fill the day with the various stresses and rewards of family care. However, It should not keep you from reaching your financial goals and well-being during a time of divorce.

Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: 7 Necessary Steps

Get all of your financial documents together:

This includes W2s and tax returns from previous years, income statements including pay stubs, insurance policies, bank statements, details about loans and mortgages, and investment accounts. This will help the attorney understand your financial quality of life over the past few years to ensure that a divorce does not keep you from providing the same financial wellbeing to you and your children moving forward.

Gain access to funds:

You will need access to your marital account to pay for the finances of divorce. Hiring an attorney to represent you is critical so that you can secure your lifestyle after the process has completed. If you lack access to a joint account, you will need to create an individual fund from savings where you can make payments for the representation you need.

Craft a new budget:

Take the time to sit down one day and realistically draw up a budget based on how much is spent monthly on food, clothing, a mortgage on the house, utility bills, phone bills, and other necessities. This will create an outline of what is to be expected to keep supporting your kids and family.

Know what the marital house is worth:

Although you may want to continue living in the marital home for sentimental value to you and your kids, a divorce already stretches you and your spouse financially. It may be wise to have the house appraised and to know how much it is worth. In this way, if the budget needs to be limited, you can always sell the property and downsize to keep paying the bills for necessary items.

Get a handle on your credit:

You can find out your credit score on sites such as Credit Karma. Having a good credit score will allow lenders to feel more confident in lending the funds you need for mortgages on homes, cars, etc. One way to improve your credit score is to pay off student loans from the past. Remember, on credit cards you should never use more than 30% of your available credit line. Also, always pay bills on time, so you do not accumulate a hefty interest fee.

Plan to return to work:

Having a job gives you a chance to set up an individual account and to grant you the financial freedom you need to cover extra expenses. Make a resume with your most up-to-date skills and go on interviews in various industries. If you have already made a budget for yourself, you will know what salary to aim for at the end of each month.

Consider requesting temporary alimony:

If a judge determines that you have been at home for an extended period of time and cannot return to work right away because you do not have immediate skills, he/she will request that your ex-spouse give temporary alimony to cover the lifestyle you have been accustomed to over the years. If no prenuptial agreements were arranged before the marriage, you might be entitled to part of your ex-spouse’s funds.

Hire a team of qualified professionals:

By finding the perfect divorce attorney to represent you, you can come to court prepared to know that you have someone there who understands your needs and where you are coming from. In hiring a team, it is essential to look for someone who has the experience, shows compassion, and has a good reputation of winning settlements in favor of the client’s requests.

Hiring a lawyer to represent you can bring a feeling of felt relief. Having someone on your side to provider knowledge and skills that deliver is an essential reason for hiring a lawyer.  Being a stay at home mom while going through a divorce can be stressful and difficult, but you can stay ahead of the game and keep prepared by following this guideline and meeting a lawyer sooner rather than later!

The post Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: 8 Necessary Steps To Take appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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