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Category Archives: Divorce

Memories with grandma and grandpa

GrandparentsLoveI was reading an article on Kidshealth. It said that over 5 million children live with their grandparents. I started reminiscing about when my family went on vacation to visit my grandma and grandpa. Those are great memories. They lived in Florida and they had an orange tree in their yard. We would get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, with my Grandpa, to go fishing in Lake Okeechobee. We caught speckled perch, using worms and then Grandma would clean them and cook them for dinner that night. Sometimes we would go to Fort Pierce and go in the ocean. When I was 14, Walt Disney World opened up and we would go there for one day, every year, for many years. My grandma and grandpa died many years ago but the memories of those vacations make it seem as if it was yesterday.

Unfortunately, when some people get divorced they don’t let their children see their ex spouse’s parents. To me this is unfair because the children deserve to have a relationship with all of their grandparents. Grandparents nurture in different ways than parents do. A child cannot have too much love. If you are one of those parents who try to punish your ex by keeping your child/children away from their parents, I encourage you to think about how that will affect your children. Stop the madness and let your children start  making those memories.

Please let us know what your remedy would be for keeping in touch and building those relationships with their grandparents, even when you’re divorced from their son or daughter.

Visit us on our official website at www.MyTurnYourTurn.com. My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website designed to help organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation.  Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar,  online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.

 

Parenting Plans: Is it A Plan for Success or the Beginning of Future Litigation

divorced parents getting alongI heard a Judge tell a husband and wife in a divorce case, “Although you are divorced now, you will be in each other’s lives for the next 18 years!” As a witness to the Judge’s statement, I can say with complete certainty that both parties were not excited about the Judge’s frank announcement. Most people think when they divorce they are permanently removed from their former spouse’s life.  Realistically, when there are minor children in the picture, it does not work that way.  Why?  You guessed it correctly! Because a new relationship must be forged with the same person you believe you divorced; a relationship that revolves strictly around the needs of your children with no regard of your own needs. That is a difficult concept for many parents to grasp.

I am not a parent and I am not married. Nevertheless, I am a family law attorney. Attorney Silva and I deal with this concept and its associated issues daily. Together we have over twenty-two years of experience dealing with parents from every social and economic background yet they share a common challenge, transforming their joint relationship with the children into an individual relationship joined with the individual relationship of their former spouse.  I have gained a tremendous amount of insight about parenting and as the old adage goes, “proper preparation prevents poor performance.” This certainly applies to parenting. Thus, a well written parenting plan can be a great way to properly prepare for the challenges of parenthood after a divorce.

Since 2008, the Florida Legislature requires parenting plans be created in all divorce cases with children under 18 years of age.  Florida Statute  61.046(14) defines a parenting plan as “a document created to govern the relationship between the parents relating to decisions that must be made regarding the minor child and must contain a time-sharing schedule for the parents and child. The issues concerning the minor child may include, but are not limited to, the child’s education, health care, and physical, social, and emotional well-being.” Therefore, if you divorced in or after 2008 and you have children, “time-sharing schedule” and “right of first refusal” are familiar phrases to you.

Parenting plans can be plans for successful parenting. The parenting plan will work best if Mom and Dad cooperate and respect each other as parents.  Be specific, include anything and everything from time-sharing, tax considerations, insurance, extra-curricular, to telephone and internet rules.  Parenting plans generally contain flexibility provisions which allow parents to make agreed upon changes they deem appropriate without resorting to the Court system.  It becomes a living document, a guide to be used instead of the Court system.  However, without cooperation and respect, the parenting plan becomes more of a weapon one or both parents can use against each other. This will surely land you back in front of a Judge, who will in 99% of the cases tell you that both you and your former spouse have behaved badly.  You will have disagreements about what is best for the children as they grow.  Is that really any different than when you were married?  Learning to discuss your differences in a civilized manner and picking your mountains is important because children mimic their parents and are influenced by their parent’s behavior. In terms of conflict resolution, you can set a great example for your children by conducting yourselves appropriately when problems arise.  It is always best to have any changes, even temporary, done in writing, whether via emails and texts or a formal agreement.

On the other hand, parenting plans can also be the beginning of future litigation.  When parents do not embrace the notion of shared parental responsibility or co-parenting, this can lead to many problems. Shared parental responsibility means that neither parent is superior to the other in regards to decision making. It requires a cooperative and unified effort. For example, disagreements over where your children will attend school or who is allowed to pick them up from school are issues we see regularly at our office.  Recently, a parent moved to a new school district and removed the child from school without the consent of the other parent.  When asked why that was in the best interest of the child, the answer was that it was easier to get the child to and from school before work.  What would your answer be? When making important decisions both parents must consider what is in the best interests of the children, as opposed to what is in the best interests of the individual parent.  That one issue led to costly litigation for both parents.  Can you guess what the Judge ruled?  I often ask my clients to take themselves out of the picture and pretend it is someone else’s child, what would  you advise that parent to do for their child?

In short, successful parenting depends on the parents and their attitudes.  If you approach anything with a positive, cooperative, respectful, and loving spirit, you are sure to get the results that you desire. The most important aspect of co-parenting is the children’s needs above the parents’ needs. The “my way or the high way” attitude goes against the spirit of shared parental responsibility and will be detrimental to the development of happy and healthy children.  Remember, they will be the parents of your grandchildren, how you handle their needs as children may very likely come back to haunt you!

By: Denaro Allen, Esq.; Law Offices of Gail Linscott Silva, P.A.

Denaro Allen, Esq. can be reached at www.kissimmeelaw.net

Denaro Allen pic

 

Have you told your kids about the divorce?

Sad Little GirlWhen I left Jillian’s father it was because I was in an abusive relationship. She was all too happy that we escaped his control. When I told her that her father and I were getting a divorce it was not very upsetting to her. She was afraid of him. My situation was very different than most divorcing parents because Jillian was three and half when she met her father for the first time. We were not married when I found out that I was pregnant and he did not want anything to do with the baby initially. I moved back to my hometown and raised my daughter on my own until we got back together. She was five when we got married. She didn’t have that early childhood bonding with him and therefore did not have the same unconditional love that most children have for their parents. Even children in an abusive child-parent relationship form an attachment to that parent, in the early formative years, in spite of the abuse.

Most experts will tell you that it’s important for both parents to tell the children about the upcoming divorce together. They say that you should not give them the details of why you’re getting divorced, but assure them that you both love them and that both of you will be a vital part of their life. “Helping children understand that both parents still love them after the split-up”.  http://www.myturnyourturn.com/blog/index.php/helping-children-understand-that-both-parents-still-love-them-after-a-split-up/

How you handle this delicate situation, sets the stage for how your children will feel about themselves and how they will feel about both parents going forward. No matter how upset you are, as parents, with each other, it is important to keep your emotions under control for the sake of your children. There are numerous books on the subject. One book is “How to talk to your children about the divorce.” By Jill Jones-Soderman; http://www.amazon.com/Talk-Your-Children-About-Divorce/dp/0976427168

Most experts agree that children do not need to know the details about their parent’s faults in the marriage. It is not appropriate to expose indiscretions to the children unless they are in danger of some kind.  Nor is it wise to talk about inappropriate subject matter with your children. They do not need to know about your sex life, etc. Parents often go to great lengths to try to get the kids to side with them. You need to understand that it is vital to your children’s well being to have a healthy, respectable relationship with both parents. Once things are said, they cannot take them back. Although your needs and feelings are important, protecting your children’s feelings must be top priority.

If you feel that you will be unable to keep calm and objective when telling your children with your coparent, then I suggest you that you do so in the presence of a third party. A relative, friend, pastor, or councilor may be willing to lend support while you break the news. It’s understandable if you are upset, crushed, angry or confused, but your top priority is your children.

Please share with us your thoughts and perhaps you have a great way to share divorce news that will help our readers.

Good luck,

Tracy

Visit us on our official website at www.MyTurnYourTurn.com and sign up for your free 30-day trial. My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website that helps organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation.  Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar,  online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.

 
 
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