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Worried about your child post-divorce? Consider this - Part II

In our last post, we began a discussion about addressing your child’s emotional aches and pains during divorce and in the aftermath of the divorce process. You know your child best. And as a result, you likely know his or her limits better than anyone. But even parents can become stumped occasionally by the challenges of divorce-related angst.

If you are doing your absolute best to advance your child’s best interests, do not fret too terribly. Chances are that the major shift in your family’s dynamic is affecting your child in ways that will be resolved as time moves forward. There are things that you can do to aid your child during this period of time. Although if these tips and tricks do not seem to be resolving your child’s challenges effectively enough for you, please do not hesitate to speak to your pediatrician and your attorney about your child custody situation.

Worried about your child post-divorce? Consider this - Part I

As his or her parent, you almost certainly know your child better than anyone else does. This knowledge can be comforting but it can also be frustrating. When your child is hurting emotionally and you are unsure of how to help him or her, the idea that you know your child best and are still struggling with how to approach this emotional ache can be disconcerting. However, it is important to remember that even though you know your child well and care for him or her tremendously, you do not need to have all the answers at all times.

As you navigate the process of your divorce, you do not need to know all the answers. You “simply” need to advocate for your child’s best interests, do your best to foster these interests and do your best to figure out the answers to tough questions when tough questions arise. If your child is acting out or seems to be internalizing divorce-related stress, you may benefit from speaking with your pediatrician. You may also benefit from consulting numerous books on this subject that can be found at your local bookstore or library.

Are you divorcing an emotionally abusive spouse?

Emotional abuse is a phenomenon that is not always easy to identify. It may be particularly difficult for an individual involved in a romantic relationship with someone who is emotionally abusive to identify this reality. Although this may seem counterintuitive, emotional abuse is not an issue that is widely discussed in popular culture, so many individuals are not readily given the tools to identify this kind of abuse properly. And given that emotionally abusive partners tend to make victims feel that the treatment they receive is their fault, it becomes harder to identify the abuser as abusive.

It is important to identify whether the individual you are divorcing is an emotionally abusive individual. If you remain in the dark about this information, you may leave yourself vulnerable to manipulations that will affect your divorce settlement, your child custody dispute and your future wellbeing. If you have concerns that your spouse may be emotionally abusive, do not hesitate to seek out the opinion of a mental health professional. In preparation for an appointment with a professional, you may want to keep the following red flags in mind.

Should your child testify in your custody dispute?

If you and your child’s other parent disagree about where and with whom your child should live, you may find that you need to litigate your custody dispute. Many parents are able to negotiate the terms of a child custody agreement with the aid of their attorneys and perhaps a mediator. However, other parents disagree so fundamentally that negotiation and mediation are not viable approaches for their situation. In these cases, it may be necessary to go to court.

While litigating a child custody dispute, you may or may not have concerns about your child being asked to testify. On the one hand, you may feel strongly that your child’s opinion should be both heard and weighed by the court. On the other hand, you may be concerned that testifying will place your child in a position that compels him or her to “choose” between you and your former romantic partner. This can be a terrible spot to place a child or a teen in, so your concerns are certainly warranted.

How your family law dispute could be affected by online pictures

Posting pictures online and sending pictures via email is now a ubiquitous practice. Posting and transmitting pictures via the Internet is convenient and allows others instant access to visual information about an individual’s life. When you post a picture online, that picture says something about who you are, what interests you and what you value. As a result, it is critically important that you think twice about posting any pictures online that could potentially impact your family law dispute in negative ways.

When you are divorcing, disputing child custody or even seeking an adoption, the pictures you post online or send to others via email could be used as evidence against you. Even if you have certain privacy settings enabled, the pictures you post or send could ultimately come back to haunt you. It is therefore very important that you view your pictures as a judge might before posting them.

Understanding the concept of annulment

At its most basic, the institution of marriage is a legal contract between two individuals. As a result, certain principles of contract law at its broadest apply to marriage contracts. For example, when contracts of any kind are executed, they generally must be fair, legal and consented to by two parties who have the authority to enter into such contracts. If any of these broad principles is violated, it is possible that the contract will be deemed unenforceable by the courts.

When two individuals choose to marry, they do so at their own risk. If they later determine that the differences between them are irreconcilable, they may seek a divorce. However, if they were married under false pretenses or did not have the authority to enter into a marriage contract, they may be able to seek an annulment.

Understanding the basics of financial affidavits

When you file for divorce, you generally have the authority to choose the kind of approach you want to take in regards to your divorce process. If you and your spouse do not fundamentally disagree on matters of property division or child custody, you may be able to choose an inexpensive, straightforward, uncontested process. If you fundamentally disagree on important matters, you may be compelled to litigate your divorce. If you only have a few disagreements, you may be able to mediate or otherwise negotiate the majority of your divorce.

Unless you choose the most minimal process available and do not disagree with your spouse on any matters involving property division, you will likely be asked to disclose all manner of financial documents, account information and budgets. Without a clear and complete disclosure of assets, debts and other financial matters, you and your spouse will not be able to pursue a fair divorce settlement.

Divorcing? Consider these New Year's resolutions

As you may or may not know, January is the most popular month for couples in America to file for divorce. There are any number of reasons why individuals opt to divorce in January. Some couples wish to wait to file until after the holiday season is complete. Others view the new year as a time to commit to greater health and happiness. For better and for worse, sometimes greater health and happiness are best achieved by moving on from a committed relationship.

If you are currently divorcing, you may wish to focus on a few resolutions this January which may positively impact your divorce process and may help to ground your future wellbeing. You can choose to think of these resolutions as connected to the new year, but you certainly do not have to do so.

Navigating the holidays during and post-divorce

When life becomes particularly challenging, it can be difficult to find joy in the experiences you had once cherished. For example, if you are currently going through a divorce or have recently finalized one, you may be finding it difficult to enjoy the holiday season. Even though you once took pleasure in navigating the chaos of the holidays, you may find yourself now wishing that you could curl up in bed and binge-watch television instead of pasting on a smile and making appearances at holiday celebrations.

It is completely normal to have this kind of reaction to the holiday season during a tumultuous life transition. However, there is something you can do to better ensure that next year’s holiday season is genuinely brighter than this year’s may be. Now that you are transitioning from married life to single life, you can begin to embrace the holiday season on your own terms.

Refining your conflict resolution style

Family law disputes tend to be uniquely personal affairs. Few things are more personal than the inner workings of any given family. As a result, it can be particularly difficult to keep your negative emotions in check as you navigate a family law dispute. The negative feelings you have as a result of your divorce, child support dispute or other matter may be so personal and so strong that they can be difficult to contain. Unfortunately, if these feelings are not properly addressed, they may manifest in ways that can damage your case.

It is both normal and healthy to feel negative emotions when your family life becomes chaotic. What is truly critical is that you process these emotions in healthy ways that enhance your wellbeing and do not harm your family law case. As you process these negative emotions, it is important for you to keep them in check when dealing with anyone associated with your case. If you find yourself in conflict with your spouse, for example, it is particularly important that you not lash out in ways that may reflect badly on you in court.

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