divorce trends

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.

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How Co-Parenting Might Look This Summer Given Current Circumstances

Originally published by Bryce Hopson.

Summer season is fast approaching, and that would typically mean co-parents across the metroplex are gearing up for some significant changes to their daily schedules with kids staying home. In the current environment created by Covid-19 and social distancing, the summer of 2020 might look very different than those of the recent past. Nevertheless, with most counties slowly phasing back to a normal—or maybe “new normal” is more accurate—pace of life and business, the summer schedule remains.

There are numerous ways in which the possession schedule for summer months has been crafted into custody orders across the state. Some are standard and adopt the one-size-fits-all approach, while others are intricately unique and carefully tailored to fit the specific needs of a particular family.

What does the standard, one-size schedule look like?

The Standard Possession Order, crafted by our legislature and incorporated into the Texas Family Code, is a defined schedule delineating which parent is legally entitled to possession of a child, and it is presumed to be in the best interest of the child. Under the Standard Possession Order, one parent is designated with specific periods of possession, and the other parent is entitled to possession “at all other times not specifically designated” to the first parent.

The parent with designated periods during the school year is entitled to 30 days of possession time in the summer, which can be exercised consecutively or broken up into no more than two smaller periods of at least 7 days each if notice is provided to the other parent by April 15th (if not, the 30 days runs from July 1-31). The parent with designated periods will still get the regular 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend periods that they normally have during the school year, but the Thursday periods go away in the summer.

If a 30-day block of time in the middle of the summer is impractical because of a parent’s work schedule, or a child’s summer activities, what options are available for a more customized approach to the summer schedule? Here are a few options that some parents have utilized when the circumstances called for more of a customized fit:

  • Week-on / Week-off: Alternating seven-day periods of possession has some advantages over the standard block schedule. It shares the load of additional childcare needs that comes when both parents are working and school lets out, and limits the span of time that the child goes without seeing the other parent. 30 days without seeing a 16 year old might not sound that bad (and in some cases, might serve as a needed relief), but it is typically more difficult to say goodbye to a 5 or 6 year old for such an extended period of time.

  • The “Quadrant” Schedule: This approach takes June and July and breaks them up into four quadrants. One parent gets the first half of each month, the other parent gets the second half of each month, and they rotate every-other year. Although the summer vacation schedule will generally run into the first couple weeks of August, this schedule has some clear advantages to a standard structure. It provides each parent with two opportunities to take extended trips and travel with the child—if you have the privilege of lasting memories of road trips to the Grand Canyon, summer nights on the beach, or sleeping under the stars next to a campfire, those are typically trips that take more than 7 days, and this schedule can make creating those memories much more available. It also has the benefit of avoiding the need for designating—and potentially arguing—over which weeks one parent wants to exercise. This schedule is set as soon as the order is signed, meaning you can start planning your summer vacation three years in advance if you feel like it!

  • Alternating Weeks with Extended Election: This schedule has the same general structure as the week-on / week-off, but it includes a carve out for each parent to extend one of their seven-day periods into a ten-day period. This gives added flexibility for those longer trips to visit Aunt Betty up in Brunswick or hop across the pond for a European Vacation.

At the end of the day, the schedule that has the best chance of working is the one that both parents agree upon and work together to come up with. And most importantly, crafting your summer schedule to be conducive with the child’s activities is crucial to ensuring a smooth, successful summer vacation.

 

The post How Co-Parenting Might Look This Summer Given Current Circumstances appeared first on Hance Law Group | Dallas Divorce & Family Lawyers.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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children of divorce

Can we temporarily change our parenting plan by verbal agreement until quarantine is over?

children of divorce

Question:

Can we temporarily change our parenting plan by verbal agreement until quarantine is over?

Answer:

I practice law in the state of South Carolina. Unless you live there, I cannot inform you as to the specific laws of your state, but I can give you some general observations on family law issues and how they are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, based on the jurisdiction where I practice.

The answer is yes, and it highly is encouraged that parents be reasonable in attaining such an agreement. It is inevitable that both parties will experience some roadblock that renders their rights short of what is court ordered. Both parents should expect to make concessions for the other to abide by the spirit of the agreement as much as possible. A family court judge undoubtedly will respect the parties and their decisions considering the circumstances.

If you are the parent being asked to make a change in the parenting plan, then you should consider these requests. Keep in mind that your conduct can be scrutinized by a judge if the facts show that you were not being reasonable under the circumstances. It also is important that you make clear to the other parent that the change strictly is intended until such times as things get back to normal. You should be careful in not allowing the other party to misconstrue the change as a new agreement, but rather a temporary agreement.

If you are the parent requesting for a change in the parenting plan, then you should memorialize these communications whether the changes are consented to or not. Memorialized communications can be recorded through text message, email, or any other form of written communication wherein you can justify the other party’s intent. If the changes are not consented to by the other party, then these communications will come in handy when illustrating to a family court judge the conduct of the other parent should you need to go to court in the future. Similarly, these memorialized communications will protect the requesting parent should the other party claim some violation of the Agreement in the future. The bottom line is that written communication is key when communicating with the other parent.

Due to the fact-specific nature of this situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction to see how your state’s laws specifically can help you with this serious situation. This type of attorney should be helpful in providing you specific assistance for your matter. Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they particularly impact your potential case.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including South Carolina divorce attorney Chris Jacobcontact Cordell & Cordell.

The post Can we temporarily change our parenting plan by verbal agreement until quarantine is over? appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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your teen cope with divorce: sad teen girl on couch with dog

7 Tips to Help Your Teen Cope with Divorce

your teen cope with divorce: sad teen girl on couch with dog

 

The teenage years can be challenging for both a teenager and his or her parents after a divorce. Helping your teenager to make a smooth transition to becoming a more independent person can be complex in a divorced family.

Some of the challenges that teens face in divorced families include: going back and forth between two homes, different rules in each house, loyalty conflicts with their parents, moving, dealing with parents dating just as they’re exploring intimate relationships; and possibly adjusting to one or both parents’ remarriage and stepsiblings.

Experts advise us that adolescence is a time of transition from being a child to establishing an identity different from your parents. This normal process can become more complicated as teens experience the breakup up their parents’ marriage. Although it may take them about a year to adjust to your divorce, feelings of sadness or anger may reappear during stressful times such as taking exams or a parents’ remarriage – even if they’re coping fairly well overall.

Some warning signs that your teen is having difficulty coping with your divorce include displaying intense mood swings that range from extreme elation to extreme hostility toward others that last more than a few days. Also, they might rage towards others and overreact to triggers in their environment. This could be anything from temper tantrums (especially in public) to becoming exceedingly angry or irritable over small things.

Other warning signs of depression or psychological problems include radical changes in behavior such as fighting at school, cheating, stealing, lying, or intense arguments with others (teachers, friends; or you or their other parent), declining school performance for over a period of a few weeks, developing physical ailments or chronic complaints (such as stomach or headaches), sleep problems, eating disorders (or gaining or losing more than ten pounds when not trying to), changes in peer relationships such as losing friends or isolating themselves from social activities, and sadness that lasts more than a few days.

During and after divorce, it’s crucial that both parents promote a healthy bond with their teenager in order to nurture high self-esteem and resiliency. Showing your teen compassion and understanding won’t guarantee success every day but they’ll feel less stressed as a result. Be sure to establish an open dialogue with your teen so they can discuss the stresses in their life and brainstorm solutions with you.

7 tips to help your teen cope with divorce:

  • Be an active listener when your teen wants to talk. When kids feel valued by their parents, they will value them in return. Teenagers are under a lot of stress at school and in peer relationships so need you to be available to listen. Turn off your cell phone when you’re with him or her. If you must take a call, keep it short and apologize if it interfered with your time together.
  • Don’t bad mouth or argue with your ex in front of your teen. Model self-control and being polite with your former spouse. Negative comments about his/her other parent are likely to cause teens to experience loyalty conflicts – which can lead to emotional pain and turmoil.
  • Avoid putting your teen in the middle between you and your ex. Be careful not to share too many details about your divorce with your teenager. Don’t grill them with questions about the other parent!
  • Promote a healthy bond between your teen and both parents. It’s important to be flexible with your expectations about scheduling “Parenting Time” at both houses (if this is possible). Keep in mind that a teen needs some control over his or her schedule.
  • Be a positive role-model by taking care of your own mental and physical health. Go to the gym or take a power walk and invite your teen to join you. Seek out supportive friendships and counseling if needed so you can stay optimistic about your future.
  • Set limits with love. Many parents complain that their teens are rarely home once they begin to drive or work. Remember you are the parent and need to set a positive tone for your household, including having expectations for behavior, curfew, etc..
  • Be aware of warning signs of depression and seek professional help if needed. Adolescence is often a time of turmoil which is exaggerated by the multitude of changes that go along with parental divorce. If any of the warning signs detailed above persist for more than a few weeks, you are wise to seek professional help.

Ways to promote your teenager’s resiliency include expressing empathy, understanding, and support when they’re going through a challenging time. For instance, Haley noticed changes in her daughter Alana’s behavior when she was fourteen, after her remarriage.  Alana showed signs of depression such as sleep problems, complaints of chronic physical symptoms, and avoiding contact with her friends. She also began protesting spending overnights at her dad’s house.

Fortunately, Alana’s parents agreed that it was in her best interests to revise her custody schedule temporarily and to seek counseling for her. As a result, Alana attended counseling for six months and was able to come to terms with the losses she experienced when her parents divorced – eventually restoring a better sleep routine, improving her social life, and spending overnights at her dad’s home.

Experts agree that friends, school, extracurricular activities, and jobs are all crucial to a teen’s well-being. Being flexible in your parenting schedule allows your teenager to enjoy the things that are essential for his or her life. Operating from a mind-set that your teen needs balance in their life will serve as a protective factor during the whirlwind of adolescence. Your teen might end up feeling disappointed or resentful if you try to get them to adhere to your expectations or you’re rigid.

Why is it that some teenagers seem to make it through their parents’ divorce relatively easily, while others struggle and are more likely to have a negative reaction?  The reasons for these differences include the child’s personality and temperament, gender, parenting styles, and a families’ post-divorce adjustment. Keep in mind that some teens, especially girls, don’t show outward signs of trouble until years later. Many experts refer to this tendency as the “Sleeper Effect.”

The good news is that if you’ve built a healthy foundation with your teen prior to your divorce, it’s likely that they’ll be resilient and adjust to your divorce. When you take time to truly listen to your teenager, they’ll be more likely to ask your advice when they have a problem. Divorce expert Rosalind Sedacca CCT writes: “How you handle this now will affect your long-term relationship with her. So don’t stand on your soap-box. Show her your empathy, compassion, and the ability to turn the other cheek.”

Finally, finding time in your busy schedule to listen to their concerns and engage in mutually enjoyable activities can help ease their adjustment to your divorce. Making an attempt to stay connected with your teen is worth the effort!

Terry Gaspard on FacebookTwitter, and movingpastdivorce.com

More from Terry

6 Ways to Mend Trust After Divorce

Building Resiliency in Children After Divorce

This blog appeared previously on movingpastdivorce.com

The post 7 Tips to Help Your Teen Cope with Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.



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As a Nurse Amid COVID-19, How Can I Protect My Parental Rights?

As a Nurse Amid COVID-19, How Can I Protect My Parental Rights?

Question:

As a nurse amid COVID-19, how can I protect my parental rights?

Answer:

Michigan attorney
Jeffrey Worosz

I am only licensed in Michigan, so my answer may vary from the particular state that you reside in.

Until recently, being a nurse would not have much of an effect on custody and did not put a parent at risk for losing custody. The only issue with such a career, would have been the unconventional work hours nurses can have. However, the COVID-19 situation has certainly changed that since some parents will use whatever they can to their advantage in a custody battle. They also may be overly concerned about the safety of their children.

Making matters worse is a recent national news story, where judge in Florida stripped an emergency room doctor of her parenting time due to concerns over COVID-19, which undoubtedly emboldened some parents to seek to do the same. 

The best way to protect yourself and reduce the chance that a judge can do this is with strong evidence to show that your career has not created a danger for your children. Displaying evidence that you are not infected is necessary. It is hard for the court to say you are a danger if you do not have the virus.

Beyond that, it also is helpful to show the court what the realistic risks of contracting the virus are. Obviously, working as a nurse the risks would be higher than a parent that is working from home and not leaving their house, but that does not mean you have a 100 percent chance of contracting COVID-19.

A nurse can show that they are not at risk by noting what kind of safety precautions they use at work, how often they are tested at work, the extent of their possible exposure to COVID-19 at work, and any other measures that are taken to reduce risk. Showing the court that you are more aware than the average parent about exposure and protection will help show them that you are cognizant of the risks and are working to minimize them.

Another issue results from the misinformation and constantly evolving facts about the virus. Nurses and other medical professionals also come into contact with all sorts of illnesses by virtue of their job. Only recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic, has one’s profession become an excuse for parties to try and restrict their parenting time.

Working in the medical field, having access to more accurate information can be beneficial. If your hospital provides updates and information regularly to its employees, you can use that information to your advantage. Most judges and attorneys do not have backgrounds in the medical field and need to be educated as well from solid sources that can be trusted, such as hospitals and medical professionals. That information can allow the court to make a more informed decision regarding parenting time.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Michigan divorce lawyer Jeffrey Worosz, contact Cordell & Cordell.

The post As a Nurse Amid COVID-19, How Can I Protect My Parental Rights? appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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How Does Shared Custody Work Between Separate States During COVID-19 Quarantine?

How Does Shared Custody Work Between Separate States During COVID-19 Quarantine?

Question:

What is the procedure when traveling across state lines during COVID-19 quarantine, when you share custody?

Answer:

Texas attorney Ashleigh Bearden

As I am barred only in Texas, I cannot provide specific legal tips with regard to your state in particular. However, I can provide some general guidance that may help you navigate your child custody issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

No nationwide domestic travel prohibitions have been issued, and air and ground travel continues. However, many states have issued orders restricting both interstate and intrastate travel. Some have restricted all non-essential travel and further clarified their orders by defining what travel is considered essential.

Before traveling to exchange your children with your former spouse, consult your state’s executive orders, those in your former spouse’s state, and — if traveling by car — those in the states you will travel through for the exchange. If none of these states restrict travel, you likely are free to proceed with the exchange.

Keep in mind that a state’s stay-at-home order may define travel for these purposes as essential further into the document. Additionally, the order explicitly may not make mention of custody or children, but still may provide that travel for purposes of compliance with a court order is essential.

For example, the order may read similarly to the following: “Individuals may leave their residences for the purposes of traveling required by a court order.” This will apply to any order of the court, including any orders entered pursuant to your divorce or custody matter, so be sure to read the orders carefully and completely.

Additionally, be aware that some states specifically have issued orders regulating travel from certain states or localities. For example, Texas has ordered mandatory 14-day self-quarantines for people traveling by air from certain states, and previously implemented ground checkpoints to identify travelers from Louisiana. Keep in mind that you may be affected by travel restrictions like this.

If you plan to travel by air, be aware that the TSA has implemented social distancing procedures and modified their operations. Recent policies include an allowance for wearing a facemask during screening. However, the agency states that “a TSA officer may ask you to adjust the mask to visually confirm your identity.”

If you find that such travel is not restricted by your state, your ex-spouse’s state, or those states you will travel through by car, and your former spouse refuses to comply with your court-ordered custody or possession agreement, consider consulting a Cordell & Cordell attorney to seek enforcement of your parental rights. Bearing in mind the laws in your state, keep records of your former spouse’s refusal to comply and their stated reasons for doing so.

Regardless of whether you are able to facilitate exchange prior to the end of travel restrictions, these may be helpful to your attorney in the future.

If, however, any of the state orders restrict travel and do not provide clarification on whether travel for the exchange of children under a court order, or for purposes of complying with a court order in general, you should seek legal assistance from an attorney barred in your state.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Texas divorce lawyer Ashleigh Beardencontact Cordell & Cordell.

The post How Does Shared Custody Work Between Separate States During COVID-19 Quarantine? appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Celebrity Divorces During COVID-19: What You Can Learn From Their Mistakes

Celebrity Divorces During COVID-19: What You Can Learn From Their Mistakes

In Cordell & Cordell’s latest Virtual Town Hall about divorce during COVID-19, the firm’s divorce attorneys examined some recent celebrity divorces that have made headlines and explained what lessons could be applied to regular cases.

No matter how much money you have, divorce is a time of turmoil. The economic uncertainty is even greater during the Coronavirus pandemic as the virus has strained the finances of millions of Americans.

“The same mistakes that celebrities make are the same that guys watching [the webinar] right now make,” Cordell & Cordell Managing Partner/CEO Scott Trout said. “That’s why I think it’s so relevant to look at what’s in the public eye. Learn from what they’re doing, and don’t make those same mistakes.”

Ditch social media

The panel of divorce attorneys discussed the breakup of former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler and “Laguna Beach” star Kristin Cavallari to illustrate how social media use can be dangerous during a family law issue.

“There’s really no upside to using social media during a divorce,” Cordell & Cordell Oklahoma Senior Lead Litigator Ron Gore said. “The courts already know that even if you come across well in your social media posts, you’re on stage, and you’re probably acting at your best, hopefully.

“We also are all human, and we all have times, especially in difficult times like a divorce, that we’re not acting as well as we would like toward each other,” Mr. Gore said. “So if you’re acting well, the court may think ‘Oh, it’s just an act. If you’re acting poorly, the court may think ‘They can’t even control their behavior when they know everybody’s seeing it. What are they doing?’ Since there’s no upside and lots of downside, it’s not a good idea.”

Missing parenting time

The panel also dissected the divorce of singer Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. Ms. Stefani moved with her children to Oklahoma during the pandemic to quarantine, but that has caused Mr. Rossdale to miss out on his court-ordered parenting time.

Many parents across the U.S. are being denied access to their children with the pandemic being used as the excuse.

“It’s not legal to deny any custody or parenting time,” Cordell & Cordell New Jersey Senior Litigation Attorney Diana Megalla said. “As long as there’s a court order, that court order is place, until there is a new court order or written agreement.”

In many instances, missed parenting time can be made up at a later date.

“I had a case not too long ago, where we had to file a motion for family access, and it was granted,” Cordell & Cordell Missouri divorce attorney Igers Vangjeli said. “Parenting time can be made up, if you file.”

The key is to make sure you are proactive in filing so that your issue is documented. If you need help with any divorce issue during this uncertain time, get in touch with the divorce lawyers of Cordell & Cordell.

The post Celebrity Divorces During COVID-19: What You Can Learn From Their Mistakes appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Unemployment & Slowdown: COVID-19’s Impact on Divorce and Dads

Unemployment & Slowdown: COVID-19’s Impact on Divorce and Dads

The COVID-19 pandemic has left more than 30 million people unemployed. The financial hardship is even tougher if you are going through a divorce during this tumultuous time.

There are millions of divorced dads who can no longer afford
their child support or alimony payments because the pandemic has wrecked their
finances. Perhaps even more concerning is the number of fathers losing access
to their children because of custody exchange complications during stay-at-home
orders.

On April 30, Cordell
& Cordell
hosted a Virtual Town featuring a panel of divorce lawyers
from across the United States who answered questions from viewers about the
divorce issues they are facing during this unprecedented time.

How to file for
divorce during COVID-19

The Coronavirus has closed many family courts, but that does
not mean there is no way to move forward with divorce.

Although you might not be able to appear in court for
in-person hearings and court appearances, you should still be able to file.

“In Florida, the courts are closed to the general public,
meaning that you can’t walk into the court and file an action, unless it’s an
emergency,” Cordell & Cordell Florida Litigation Manager Marc
Cohen
said. “But they are open, in terms of us [attorneys] being
able to file actions, being able to get hearings before judges.”

How to modify support
orders during COVID-19

One of the biggest problems divorced fathers are encountering
is that their income has been dramatically reduced because of the pandemic and
they can no longer afford child support or alimony.

In those instances, it is important to file for a
modification as soon as possible.

“Whether you are looking to modify support or maintenance,
due to a job loss or you’re just starting out on a divorce, it becomes
especially important to modify if you’re now collecting unemployment and you
have had a significant decrease in your income,” Cordell & Cordell Regional
Partner Bridget Landry
said.

“In Minnesota, the support modification, which includes
spousal maintenance or alimony, and child support, are retroactive from the
date they are served. So, if already have a decrease in income, it’s very
important to get that motion served, as soon as possible, because even though
your court date may not be a month, or two, or three from now, the
retroactivity will go back to the date of service.”

The courts are unlikely to cut you any slack if you fall
behind on payments, even if it was because of the pandemic.

“When you say to judges ‘Well, it was Coronavirus. I didn’t
do anything,’ it’s not going to be an excuse,” Cordell & Cordell
CEO/Managing Partner Scott Trout
said. “We want to give the judge the maximum latitude across the country, where
ever you may be, to make that order retroactive and apply toward payments that
you couldn’t make.”

Extramarital affairs
during COVID-19

The Virtual Town Hall also briefly touched on the topic of
infidelity during the pandemic and how that can impact the divorce process. An
affair can potentially affect how much alimony is owed. At a time when the
economy is reeling, and employment is tough to come by, that determination can
end up being very costly.

“New York, like many states, is considered no fault, which
means you don’t have to show that somebody had an affair, in order to get a
divorce,” Cordell & Cordell New York Litigation Manager Asa
Neff
said. “But it is certainly taken into consideration for a lot
of purposes. It can have a financial impact, certainly if you are spending
money on an extramarital affair. If that’s found out, a judge can order that
that money come back in and have to be redistributed and repaid to the marital
estate.

“If there are issues of custody in a case, a judge is going
to look at your behavior and make a decision about whether or not that should
impact the time you’re going to have with your children.”

Child custody during
COVID-19

The top issue divorcing men are struggling with during the
Coronavirus might be sorting through child custody exchanges while still
following quarantine and stay-at-home orders.

Some dads fear traveling with their children for custody drop-offs
will risk exposing them to the virus. Other fathers are missing out on parenting
time because their ex is withholding custody and using the virus as an excuse.

During the Virtual Town Hall, Cordell & Cordell Regional
Partner Erica Gittings
explained steps to take when debating whether to withhold your child and refuse
to give up custody during the pandemic. She suggested providing written
communication expressing your worries to the other parent and documenting your
actions during this time.

“Document what you are doing to make sure that you are
following all of the Governor’s orders for your state and making sure you’re
following all of the social distancing requirements,” Ms. Gittings said. “Also
make sure to document any evidence you may have that your co-parent is not
following the isolation orders or the social distancing orders.”

She also emphasized the importance of consulting with your
divorce attorney before proceeding with any actions outside the guidelines laid
out in your custody order.

“In the state of Wisconsin, we have the statute, a motion to
enforce placement, and if you withhold the children and the court finds out
that it was intentional and unreasonable, you could be subjected to paying the
other side’s attorney’s fees,” she said. “So it is important to put all of your
ducks in a row, in order to show the courts your concerns, which are real and
are expressed appropriately, and that you’re taking the right steps.”

Proactiveness is key

Repeatedly, the attorneys stressed the importance of being
proactive on family law matters during this time.

Always document any interactions you might have with your ex
regarding co-parenting. Pay what you can in child support and alimony. Stay up
to date on the guidelines your state and local governments provide – especially
as it relates to custody exchanges and modification issues. And contact your divorce attorney
when you are uncertain how to proceed.

The post Unemployment & Slowdown: COVID-19’s Impact on Divorce and Dads appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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Coronavirus Legal News Briefing — April 27, 2020

Coronavirus Legal News Briefing — April 30, 2020

Originally published by Amy Starnes.

Editor’s Note: The State Bar of Texas is providing this collection of important links, blog posts, and media stories to keep its members and the public informed of the latest news and resources related to the novel coronavirus outbreak and its impact on the legal community.

Important links

State Bar of Texas Coronavirus Legal Resources Page — Texasbar.com/coronavirus

State Bar of Texas Coronavirus Public Resources Page — Texasbar.com/COVIDHelp

Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program Well-being Resources page — Texasbar.com/remote-well-being

Texas AG helped donor fight virus lockout — Records reviewed by The Associated Press show that an exclusive group of Texans stood to benefit when Attorney General Ken Paxton urged a small Colorado county to reverse a public health order during the coronavirus outbreak. — The Associated Press

Texas voters sue over age restrictions for mail-in ballots — Citing the threats of the coronavirus, six Texas voters filed suit in federal court Wednesday challenging restrictions that limit age eligibility for voting by mail to those 65 and older. — The Texas Tribune

Many law firms that applied for paycheck protection loans are still waiting; Texas lawyer sues — One Houston lawyer was so frustrated by delays that he filed would-be class action lawsuits against three banks on behalf of himself and other clients. — ABA Journal

Small Business Administration temporarily limits stimulus loans to small lenders — The Small Business Administration briefly closed applications for emergency small business loans to all but the nation’s smallest lenders on Wednesday. — UPI

Tips for minimizing law firm liability during COVID-19 — As with any significant upheaval, this sudden and radical transformation of the legal profession creates new risk management challenges for law firms. (Subscription required) — Law360

Big Business wants immunity from Covid-19 lawsuits — At issue is how to balance protecting businesses from lawsuits, while enabling justice for customers and workers who in a time of rapidly rising unemployment may not have the option of leaving their jobs for something safer. — The Associated Press

Texas Supreme Court approves July Bar Exam, sets alternative September testing date — The Texas bar examination set for July will continue as scheduled, but an additional testing date also will be offered in September. — Texas Bar Blog

McLennan County judges, court officials prepare for return of jury trials — As Texas and county officials prepare to resume more work under whatever the new normal will look like, judges are realizing McLennan County courtrooms were not built with social distancing in mind. — Waco Tribune-Herald

Supreme Court to begin live oral arguments; here’s how it works — For the first time in its history, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments by telephone conference. All nine justices and counsel will participate remotely starting Monday, May 5. — Court TV

COVID-19: Are your constitutional rights quarantined too? — The leading case about restrictions during public health emergencies is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1905 decision in Jacobson v. Massachusetts. — Tilting the Scales blog

Shared custody in the time of COVID-19: A Q&A with Susan Myres — Houston attorney Susan Myres, president of the AAML, discusses shared custody and the challenges divorced/separated parents face during the time of COVID-19. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Working from home does not excuse employers from safety responsibility — It is imperative that all employers who employ home workers understand that they still have an obligation to keep all workers safe and they also must keep their Workers’ Compensation insurance in force. — Workplace Safety blog

How opening businesses again will impact your unemployment. Q&A with Texas Workforce Commission (video) — BoShould you go back to work if you fear getting sick? Here are 17 questions we asked the man in charge of Texas unemployment benefits. — KVUE – Austin

Federal government sued for denying stimulus checks to Americans married to undocumented immigrants — The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, is alleging that a provision in the $2.2 trillion stimulus package known as the CARES Act that denies the benefit to mixed-status families in unconstitutional. — The Texas Tribune

Judge affirms White House plan to suspend visas for child migrants — A U.S. district judge in Oregon declined late Wednesday to block a White House plan to suspend immigration visas for children of permanent migrant residents due to the coronavirus crisis. — UPI

While volunteering in a NYC pop-up hospital, this Texas law grad learned he had passed the bar — For three weeks, John Kiraly, a May 2019 graduate of the University of North Texas Dallas College of Law, has volunteered with a Florida-based private humanitarian company, Comprehensive Health Services. (Subscription required) — Texas Lawyer

Google zooms in on Zoom with a freebie — Google on Tuesday made its business videoconferencing service free to all users, ramping up competition for Zoom as people flock online to stay connected during the pandemic. — Agence France-Presse

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To keep up on the latest legal news from around the state, sign up for the State Bar of Texas’ Daily News Briefing by clicking here.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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new chapter in my life: road sign that says new chapter

It’s Taken Me 20 Years But I’m Finally Starting a New Chapter In My Life

new chapter in my life: road sign that says new chapter

 

Divorce, Ex-Husband. Betrayal. Child support. Child custody. Splitting up costs, time, energy. When is it time for that part of your story to be done?

That’s the conundrum in divorce when you have children. But alas, someone seems to always keep that part of their story alive because one of the two parents is always left with the responsibility of raising the family more than the other.

Being the grown-up more than the other.

Being the breadwinner more than the other.

Being the responsible one.

The reminders of your ever-present past are always there. It would all be so easy, if you could just say, here’s your hat what’s your hurry! Ba-Bye!

I’ve been divorced for a very long time. But because my children were so young when the marriage ended, it felt like I was always standing at the base of a new mountain. Over and over I looked down to see my feet planted in front of one mountain after another.

Looking up, sighing and wondering how I was going to hurdle this next one. When your two children are an infant and toddler, you have many gates still to cross on the journey of their growth. And at every gate, you stand alone. Well, you stand alone when the one who wanted to flee, refuses to stand with you.

He might be uncomfortable; and God we can’t have that, now can we?

I remember a year after he left us for the other woman, my son’s kindergarten had an open house. It was one of the first official events where we were not together as a united front. We had gone to things at his preschool and though it was awkward, I don’t remember it being too bad. But things had changed as the divorce was progressing and the threats of what he wouldn’t agree to were lobbed at me like hand grenades.

Though we both attended his open house, we attended it as two separate people who were very far away from the day that little boy was born.

He wouldn’t stand next to me; He wouldn’t converse with me.

The teacher tried to speak to both of us about our son, but he refused to have a conference with both of us at the same time. I left that evening in tears because it was the first experience parenting with a total stranger. And it was humiliating. I got used to it however in the ensuing years. He would not have a parent/teacher conference with me ever again.

It also put so much pressure on our son too because he was embarrassed when teachers would always somehow mention the two conference requirements in front of his friends. It was a dialog that played over and over with my son and daughter for that matter for years and years.

“Why can’t you and Dad just do one conference?” How do you explain to a child that their Dad refuses to meet with their mom?

You can’t, so you just have to say that. It lasted all the way to my son’s college graduation. His lack of connection and inclusion that day too left me feeling somewhat humiliated and it brought back my anger for him. I just could not understand why his comfort must always precede everyone else’s.

My father used to tell me, “Karen, the day you don’t care anymore, IS THE DAY YOU JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE!”

Starting a New Chapter In My Life

That day had finally come, but when it did my Dad had passed away. I made a point of going to visit him at the cemetery and verbally declaring out loud to him by saying, “DAD THE DAY HAS FINALLY COME! I JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE!”

I don’t care if he shared a birthday!

I don’t care if he shared a First Holy Communion!

I don’t care if he shared a Christmas…. a graduation…a school play …. anything!

I didn’t care!

But they did! I kept making the requests on behalf of my children who just wanted the memory and experience to feel like their friends whose parents sat next to each other. I was already fine with his answer of “No” but always had to prepare them. Every time.

So, when is that part of your story over?

I still have another college graduation, weddings, and who knows what else that we will hold a shared interest in. But I think I can say to my Dad again, that…I JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE! I think the time has truly come now.

That part of my story is indeed over.

I will still have to share car payments, doctors, dentist bills, and school costs for our daughter until she graduates college and is on her own. But I feel a strange sense of liberation.

I have reached this 20-year milestone. As I look over my shoulder, I see many nights of tears, and fear, uncertainties, loneliness, and dread as I raised a family all by myself. But as I look over the other shoulder, I see strength, convictions, a calm confidence, and a light now within me that has eluded me for two decades.

I am a 60-year-old single woman who has most literally sacrificed herself in order to raise two children to as close to the model I got in my upbringing. My goal was to give them security which came at the expense of my own.

But isn’t that what most parents do?

Most parents who can look past their own image, see that the real image of themselves has always been in their children. I have always believed that the real legacy one leaves, is in the lives we have touched while we were here on earth.

My ex-husband once told me when we were married that what he loved most about me, was my Bubbly personality. Over the past 20 years, I lost that part of me. I’m happy to say, that even in this strange time of Global Pandemic… I have regained that part of me.

I have regained it through the outpouring of love and support I have seen in my neighbors, family, and friends. And I have seen it with my own employer who selected me to continue working and did not lay me off. Good things come to those who believe, and I do believe that good things are on their way and I look forward to showing my Bubbly side to a new special someone.

I have learned that if we choose to straddle ourselves to fear and worry every day of the week, we rob ourselves of experiencing the real essence of life.

Yes, I was at one time, joyful and bubbly, and a basically happy person! I temporarily traded it all in for a scared, worried, and exhausted personality. I had abandoned that previous part of me, and I now want to pick it back up! I am finally letting go of that other part of my story. The one that caused me so much pain. I am voting for joy!

You can’t start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one!

So, if anyone is at the point of, YOU JUST DON’T CARE ANYMORE, put down the old chapter and turn the page to a new chapter. I’m just doing it now. It has taken me a while, but it feels good.

I wish all of us the very best with expectations of nothing short of sheer joy and peace and finding their own inner Bubbly! As Chris Cuomo would say, “Let’s Get After It!”

The post It’s Taken Me 20 Years But I’m Finally Starting a New Chapter In My Life appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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