The American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers has published an outstanding book entitled: “Child Centered Residential Guidelines”. You can find it, view a copy online, and order a copy here.
I don’t say things like this lightly: in 20 years of working with families who are separating or divorcing, this is the best 50-page summary of kid’s issues, and especially age-appropriate contact schedules, that I have ever seen. The primary author, Dr. Robin M. Deutsch, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized expert on children, adolescents and divorce, and her experience shines through the pages of this book.
There are detailed model contact schedules with explanations for children in the following age groups:
24 months – 3 years
Pre-schoolers; 3 to 6 years
Early school-aged children; 6 to 9 years
Later school-aged children; 10 to 12 years
Early Adolescents, 13 to 15 years
Late Adolescents, 16 to 18 years
But, that’s not all. There are other topics that relate to parents’ actions around their kids’ contact, for example:
Additionally, a variety of special conditions that often arise are also discussed, including, Special Needs; Visitation Resistance; Never Married Parents; Domestic Violence; Substance Abuse/Mental Illness; Incarcerated Parents, Same Sex Parenting and Military Parenting.
If you are divorced, or going through a separation, you need to read this book!
Senior Policy Advisor
In a marriage things get tangled up: there's one house, one name (if you are traditional), 'your' stuff becomes 'our' stuff, 'I' becomes 'we'. You become a unit.
As things unravel during a divorce, not only do you have to figure out how to separate your assets, you also have to figure out how to untangle your identities.
Personally, prior to my separation, I had spent my entire adult life with my ex-husband. Therefore, when it came to untangling our identities, there was a lot to figure out.
Two weeks back my son had his final band performance of the year. He plays trombone and while at the beginning of the year, his future in instruments was a bit, shall we say, "uncertain", he's now making some music and has graduated to the 7th-grade band.
The auditorium was packed and as I looked around at the various families in attendance, it was pretty obvious ours looked a bit different.
Instead of one set of parents present, my son had two. While I know divorce is common, way too common, it still struck a nerve with me and I felt awkward.
Lori Lustberg is an attorney, mediator, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Master Analyst in Financial Forensics, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, and writer based in Shelburne, Vermont. To check out her website and blog click HERE.
A couple of years ago, “Lucy” contacted me for financial assistance with her divorce. She was questioning her attorney and seeking a second opinion. When Lucy came into my office, she brought the spreadsheet her attorney had created that outlined a proposed settlement scenario, and I could fairly easily tell that her legal and financial interests were well represented.
Q&A From the Judge's Bench™: Does it Reflect Poorly on the Mother in Court for Refusing to Have any Communication with the Stepmom?
Question from a Reader:
My partner and I currently have full custody of my stepdaughter and I am the primary caretaker as my partner is often at work. I speak with my stepdaughter's teacher regularly, I take her to after school activities, and sometimes doctors appointments. I recently reached out to the Bio Mom on a few occasions to update her with school information and a doctor’s appointment. I also try to open up communication by sending an email based around my step daughter's well-being and expressing some issues that were brought forward by her therapist. I view this as just trying to establish some form of a relationship, but we've recently received a letter from her lawyer, indicating that she will only communicate with my partner when it comes to her daughter. I respect that is her choice, I was just wondering if the Bio Mom’s refusal to communicate with me, would reflect poorly on her in court when it comes to our upcoming custody and child support case?
It's obvious that getting divorced is going to have an impact on your kids. Two homes, keeping track of stuff, and dealing with all the emotions that go with that can be really overwhelming. As parents, you're doing everything you can to make this huge transition as smooth as possible for them, so don't overlook one of the places your child spends the most time: school. Here are four common faux pas made by well-meaning parents.
In my mediation practice, I often encounter cases in which very smart, very kind and otherwise rational people find themselves engaged in a divorce-related battle for reasons that would surprise someone who knew them outside of the situation.
Some of these cases involved matters that are truly worth fighting over, including such serious issues as domestic abuse or custody of children where one party is truly not a fit parent. More often, cases get hung up on a particular issue or set of issues and then the ill-feelings generated by that particular issue multiply and infect all of the other areas where the parties might otherwise have been able to come to an amicable agreement.
I have lots of feelings about Mother’s Day. I am always blown away by how emotional I am on this day. Just to be clear, I don’t have a traumatic history with Mother’s Day. I have friends who have lost mothers, whether they have passed away or were never present or simply too mentally unstable and unable to parent. I have friends who’ve adopted. I have friends who can’t get pregnant and desperately want to. I know this day is fraught with emotion. I have a wonderfully supportive, kind, fun, fiercely loyal mother. She’s given me some of the best parts of me. I love her dearly and always try to do something nice for her on Mother’s Day if we’re able to be together. This year was a fun card, wild flowers (purchased not picked!), pedicures followed by lunch with my other siblings. She sent me photos throughout the week as the flowers continued to bloom into different stages. A happy memory yet still, I moped.
We recently had a question about whether use of our software to minimize some of the friction points in a divorce might not have the unintended consequence of encouraging more divorces. Our response was simple; NO, NO NO!
Dominique Andersen is the founder of STRETCH+BLOOM, where she helps unfulfilled high-achieving women reinvent their lives. As a divorcee herself, she's a strong believer in 'if it doesn't fit, change it!'. She is based In Berlin, Germany where she lives with her current partner. www.stretchandbloom.com
Divorce has become an extremely common occurrence in the past 50 years. And while the stigma has gone, one thing that remains anchored in people's mind is the idea that somehow you have failed.