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I recently read an article posted by Stephan Futeral, a South Carolina attorney, with some great information about children and divorce and what parents can do to assist their children during this time.

Per the article, “Divorcing parents can decrease the impact on their children by following guidelines with their children, by avoiding conflict with the other parent, and by maintaining their own well-being.”  Sounds easy, but he listed several ways to deal with your children.  Some of those are listed below:

  • Don’t treat your children as adults – Some parents believe that their children must “grow up” quicker because of the divorce. Unfortunately, just because some parents treat their children like adults does not mean that their children are emotionally or intellectually equipped to deal with adult issues.  Let children be children.
  • Don’t rely on your children for your emotional support – Although it may seem natural to turn to your children for comfort during an emotional time, you are likely to cause greater instability and more pressure on the children. Some children begin to feel responsible for their parent’s emotional well-being, whereas some children suffer other emotional side-effects such as increased anger or depression. If you need emotional support, turn to another family member or a friend instead.
  • Don’t talk about the “divorce” or other grown up stuff – This issue ties in with not treating your children as adults.
  • Don’t block visitation or prevent your children from speaking to the other parent – There are many psychological studies illustrating the benefits children reap from spending time with both parents. No matter how you feel about your former spouse, don’t deprive your children of having a healthy relationship with the other parent.
  • Don’t ask your children to spy on the other parent or report back to you – Children in divorce already may be experiencing conflict in their loyalties and feelings toward both parents. Asking children to spy or to report places the children in an extremely awkward and emotionally stressful position of pleasing one parent while betraying another.
  • Don’t ask your children to keep secrets from the other parent – Dividing a child’s loyalty between parents’ places them under extreme stress. Further, the child is learning to become manipulative and may later play one parent against the other using lies and secrets.
  • Allow your children to take items such as their toys back and forth between homes as long as they can carry them – Oftentimes parents are reluctant to allow toys, books, and other items to go to the other parent’s home because these items may not be returned. Think of these items as the children’s things, not yours, and let your children have a sense of continuity by taking familiar and comforting items such as toys back and forth between homes.

These are just a few of Mr. Futeral’s suggestions and I believe they are very informative.  As a child of divorced parents, I can tell you that I wished my parents would have taken these suggestions to heart.   It would have made things much easier on us children.  When I went through my own divorce years ago, I did my best to make sure my children did not go through what my sister, brother and I went through as children.

There were also suggestions on how to deal with the other parent, which were thought provoking.  Some of them are listed below:

  • Don’t ignore the other parent or sit on the opposite side of the room during special events involving your children such as athletic matches, school plays, etc. – As emotionally difficult as it may be for you to be that close to the other parent, it is more difficult for your children to see parents distance themselves at these times. Overall, it is a small sacrifice to make for your children’s emotional wellbeing.
  • Ignore (rather than arguing back) when the other parent tries to tell you how to parent – This argument is one that no one can win.
  • Accept that there is more than one “right way” to parent and support different parenting styles- Even if you had not divorced, chances are that you and your former spouse may have or would have parented in your unique styles. If you can accept and deal with the difference in parenting styles during marriage, then you can accept these differences in divorce too.

And finally, taking care of yourself is important.  Talk to friends, family, or whoever you need to, and stay busy.  You will adjust, your children will adjust and life will go on and you will enjoy the new path your life is going.  I know I did, and I love my life.  I have two great grown sons, lots of grandchildren and they are all a part of my life.  To read the full article by Mr. Futeral, you may find it here.

 

Just when you thought you were paying more in spousal support than you thought was fair, along comes this story from Australia.  As a high-earning professional, the husband took home almost $2 million, including a six-figure bonus, in the last year.  After their split he moved out of the $2.7 million family home and into another property worth more than $1.1 million, which he bought without his wife’s knowledge before their separation.  Hmm, here we call that a fiduciary duty to disclose, but I digress.  It was intended as an investment property if the marriage lasted; instead, he lived there with his children as their primary care-giver.

His former wife hoped to earn up to $50,000 annually working in community services and wanted him to support her financially for two years while she obtained her qualifications.  He objected, arguing that she was employable and could return to her former career as a legal secretary or personal assistant, earning up to $75,000 annually. Her choice of occupation was effectively ”a luxury she cannot afford and which would be at his cost”, he said.

But Justice Fowler noted that the woman ”says she has had enough of the law and lawyers for the time being”.  She told the court the distress of the marriage breakdown and subsequent litigation have made her averse to ”having anything further to do with employment in the legal profession”.  More than two years after the couple separated, after costly proceedings in the Family Court, a judge made parenting orders for the care of their children.”  Given the history of this matter and its attendant costs, one can understand from her point of view that she would wish to distance herself from that profession,” Justice Fowler said.  Her decision not to pursue her former career was not unreasonable, he said, and he ordered the husband to pay her $1000 a week for two years while she retrained.

Now, I agree that the husband makes great money and the wife is probably entitled to spousal support, although there is no indication of how long the marriage was, but I think this is a little over the top.  At $4,000 a month for 2 years, she will receive $96,000 in spousal support and will get to go back to school to boot.  So, next time you write that spousal support check, just think, it could be worse.

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Texting on a keyboard phone
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I read a great article on MomLogic today and thought I would pass some of the information on to you parents about Sexting.  In case you don’t know what sexting is, it involves people, mostly teens, taking nude pictures of themselves and sending to their friends via their phone or PDA.  There can be some serious consequences for sexting, which you can read more about in the article.  The article written by Eric Fisher, Ph.D., states:

The Buck Stops with You!
“I do hold society’s attitudes, the media and the Internet partly responsible for the sexting thing, but parents as a whole need to take the time to both talk to their kids and listen to them, and be in a place to guide and teach. It’s vital to get the heartbeat of your children’s attitudes and emotions, so you can help them understand where their power, self-respect, honor and dignity really come from (i.e., inside themselves). You are their most important role model. In some ways, it makes me wonder: Is sexting just a variation of the streaking and “free love” of the ’70s? Are we all just looking outside of ourselves to find identity, worth and value?

That said, what can you do to decrease the chances of your child engaging in this dangerous activity? Here are a few ideas:

1) Be proactive. Plan years ahead, and keep communication open. If you encourage and foster nonjudgmental, reflective communication when your kids are young, it will encourage them to develop these qualities as they grow.
2) Be honest with your appraisal of your kids. Many parents live in denial of their kids’ behaviors until it is too late, because they either don’t want to think they’ve failed as parents or don’t want to see their kids as having problems.
3) Talk to your kids about these types of activities and ask them their feelings about it. Ask them if they know any peers who may have engaged in sexting, and how they view them. If they don’t want to give names, respect that.
4) If your child has had a tendency to hide behaviors from you, request random searches of his or her phone and computer data. While they may have an issue with this, if they have nothing to hide, they should understand that you are doing it to protect them and you.
5) Understand that while your child may be in denial, sexting is a behavior that communicates deeper issues and a lack of confidence and self-respect. Arrogance IS a protective emotion. Be careful not to shame or humiliate them. Help them to realize the dangers and deeper issues.
6) Be willing to get help from a professional. Many times, you are too close to your kids to help them look at these issues and resolve them.”

As parents, you are responsible for what your children are doing, even when on their cell phone.  Things have certainly changed since my children were teenagers, and now that I have teenage grandchildren, it can be pretty darn scary to think about all that goes on!

Read more: http://www.momlogic.com/2010/07/sexting_101_what_you_need_to_know_as_a_parent.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Momlogic+%28MomLogic%29#ixzz0sj9fNUQf

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I read an interesting article this morning on Divorce Without Dishonor. The article is found here. The article talks about how parents play games to gain extra time with their children during the summer. The author of the article talks about a personal child custody battle which occurred shortly after the ink was barely dry on the divorce.

The article further goes on to state that in many court orders, each parent is entitled to one (1) or two (2) weeks of summer vacation and the dates are usually left to the parties to work out. Often divorced parents are required to take turns each year in having the right to select their vacation time with the children first. Sometimes each parent is entitled to have two (2) non-consecutive weeks of summer vacation and as is customary, these weeks would replace or supersede the regular child access schedule and therefore necessarily “trumped” the other parent’s regularly scheduled time with their children.

The problem? The summer is only so long, and from school year’s end to the next start date it is usually about ten (10) weeks, i.e. about seventy (70) days. Neither party can plan with any certainty when the summer schedule isn’t confirmed or if it is in dispute because of misinterpretation or deliberate exploitation by playing “word games.” Taking an example with a regular schedule of children being alternating Friday, Saturday and Sunday overnights with each parent and during the week, with Dad overnight on Monday and Tuesday and with Mom overnights on Wednesday and Thursday.

When mom advises that she will take her first week after her five (5) day scheduled time with the kids, there will likely be a problem. By doing it that way, in fact, she will strategically choose days so that she gets at least (12) twelve or more overnights in a row. And of course no good deed goes unnoticed and Dad, when it is his turn to count will return the scheduling favor so each of his weeks will begin at the conclusion of his five (5) overnights so that he will the take his twenty-four (24) overnights (almost three and one-half weeks), as his two (2) weeks vacation. The bigger problem is that with (48) forty-eight (twenty-four 24 each) of maybe seventy (70) summer nights accounted for, what happens in between all of that? Hard to plan isn’t it? Who gets what? How much agreement is there likely to be and what kind of summer will your children have?

Might I ask, “How is it that (2) two weeks consists of 24 twenty-four overnights?” No wonder we need lawyers to figure this stuff out!

Yes, many parents continue playing games with each other for many years after they split. What they fail to take into account is that the ones losing in their games are the children. It is the children who don’t get to see the other parent for those 24 consecutive overnights with the other parent. When you have small children, it is especially important to these children that they have contact with both parents on a consistent basis. Believe me, when they are grown they will remember the games you play. So, if you are one of the parents who thinks that it is cool that you got one over on the other parent and are constantly playing “word games” with the orders in your custody matter, you may be out in the cold when your children grow up.

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