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Is it smarter to divorce when your children are younger, or older? This is a difficult decision many couples must decide on when divorcing. Many parents to feel that waiting until kids are older to divorce will be less challenging for them. At the surface, it does makes sense. Younger children, even those in high school, might be more fragile to the separation of their parents than say, a young adult, who may simply be more matured. But it’s all very circumstantial. Especially when your child is in college, not living at home any longer.

When young adults go off to college, they’re entering a whole new world. They’re making new friends, getting used to a new environment, putting themselves out there, taking on whole new responsibilities, and getting used to life without both their parents around. This can create a sense of instability in their lives. But they may find relief in knowing that they can return home for holidays or even weekends. The familial situation they’re used to will be there for their comfort, even if their parents are not on the best of terms.

College can be overwhelming in and of itself for young adults. If they learn that their parents are divorcing, this can simply add to their stress. Additionally, just being in college may make them feel as if they’ve lost the parental figures that have guided them their entire lives. When you add divorce to that, they may anticipate that loss of parental guidance even stronger.

Younger children are vulnerable to the effects of divorce, but they do tend to bounce back quicker than young adults. Young adults tend to take on some of the responsibilities, becoming involved in care-taking for their own parents. Young adults already have enough responsibilities on their plate, and this need to take on responsibilities may add to that stress too.

This isn’t to say that younger children don’t feel the effects of divorce though. No matter what, every divorced parent is responsible for their child’s feelings. Every child deserves:

There is almost an app for everything these days, and apps for co-parenting can help you juggle the lifestyle changes during separation or after divorce. They can make co-parenting easier for both you and your ex.

Various apps are available for co-parenting. Here are a few to consider:

2Houses has a calendar you can share to help you keep track of daily activities. The expense section of the app helps you see how money is being spent on your child, and it also keeps a record of the balance. The journal section is a family social network where you can share pictures, write entries, relate things your children said, or share conversations you’ve had with your child’s teachers, doctor, etc. When your child is away, you can still participate in your child’s life through shared communication.

Kidganizer functions is similar to 2houses in that it has a calendar section (with alert reminders), an expenses area and a section where you can share information.

Custody connection allows you to create a custody calendar and share it with your child’s other parent. You can connect and synchronize with the other parent, and there’s no need to send texts or make phone calls because you can easily communicate and request any necessary changes by using the app.

Parenting Apart offers counseling ideas for separated and divorced couples to deal with various situations that often arise during co-parenting. Examples include: what to expect emotionally with your child, what to look for at during different ages and stages, etc.

Do You Have Questions about Divorce? Consult with a Divorce Lawyer.

If you’re contemplating divorce or need legal advice, it’s wise to consult with a divorce lawyer. Divorce Attorney Chris Palermo offers compassionate legal assistance and can help you navigate a variety of issues couples often face during divorce.

Divorce can an physically taxing, financially tolling, emotional rollercoaster. Whereas some feel like a weight has been lifted after a divorce, having dealt with emotional, psychological or physical abuse from their spouse, others may have tried their hardest to keep their marriage together, only to see it fall to pieces regardless. For those divorcees, the loss can hit hard. When you marry someone, you envisage your union lasting forever. Here are 3 difficult truths about divorce and ways you can overcome them…

Loneliness Is A Harsh Reality And Will Hit Hard

Before your divorce, you may have had someone to at least lean on somewhat through turbulent change. Now, that change is losing them completely. They’re gone. Your shoulder, if ever your spouse was one, won’t be there for you to lean on. You truly are alone in coping with your emotions. Now, you may be envisioning a future without a teammate. It’s entirely natural to feel like you’ve lost your strength after a divorce. But now is a time for self-discovery, and self-love. You still need to keep your health, wellbeing, and life together. You’ll have to step up to the plate on your own. And in doing so, you’ll realize that you do have the strength to be independent, even after being dependent on your ex-spouse for so long. You may have had such self-love before your marriage, and that self-love may have been lost throughout an unhealthy relationship. But that self-love will come back.

Your Social Life May Change Entirely, Or Not Even Exist

Take your time, but don’t curl up with that loneliness or lack of self-love. You may feel an urge to get out and rebuild your social life. You might not know where to start, though. Luckily, it’s easier than you may think, so long as you face any reservations about putting yourself out there. If you don’t have friends or simply want a new group of friends, join a social group like Meetup.com. Search the site for meetups that involve activities you truly love doing. When you feel ready, try and get out there – if only to make new friendships and social circles. This will aid in the process of relearning what it is to love yourself.

Even If Your In Pain, You Must Be Strong For Your Kid(s)

Divorce can be traumatizing for a child, especially if they’re dragged through a custody battle. And especially if they realize they won’t be able to see one of their parents as often as the other. Children can be extremely intuitive, as well. Much like they may have sensed your pain during your marriage and during the divorce process, they’ll sense it if it’s there afterward.

Divorce can also cause a child to have to grow up faster than normal. And that’s natural. Take this time to come up with creative ways that will help both you and your child throughout the healing process. Don’t leave it up to your child to figure out how to heal on their own, even if you don’t feel as if you’ve healed. Heal together.

A divorce can shake a child’s world view. But as a parent, you have the ability to help keep your child grounded and well-adjusted after a divorce. The way in which you approach your child on how they are copying should be different, however, based on their age. Throughout the developmental process, a child’s perception of the world and the factors that affect their own world changes. Here’s a guide to approaching a child’s divorce at each developmental stage.

California Psychologist John B. Kelly shines a light on the different developmental stages of a child’s life and the key developmental issues parents must face when helping their child both understand, accept, and overcome the complexities of divorce.

Key developmental issues of 0-5 year olds

Babies & Toddlers:

Preschoolers:

Kelly points out what emotional symptoms to watch out for in preschoolers that may be signs of emotional distress following divorce. Preschoolers who express fear, anger or emotional instability (clinginess, anxiety, whininess or general instability), and lack of sleep may be having trouble handling a divorce.

Kelly points out the parental priorities of parents who have recently divorced – particularly parents of toddlers and preschoolers. According to Kelly, toddlers and preschoolers require consistent care and nurturing, which gives them a sense of reassurance. Their lives “need to be anchored by the normal routines (meals, play, bath, bed) in the presence of a parent who is ‘there for them’”. This is always important for children, but especially after a divorce. Kelly notes, “‘If things aren’t going well at home, preteens and teenagers can escape by going to hang out with friends. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers can’t’”.

She also notes that preschoolers need “‘simple, concrete explanations.’” She advises parents to stick to the basics, describing who will be moving out, where the child will live, who will look after them and how often they will see each parent. She also advises to be prepared for questions and to provide short, concise answers. One conversation won’t do the job, though, according to Kelly. There may be several short talks.

Key developmental issues of 6-11 year olds

6-8 year olds:

9-11 year olds:

School-aged children may show distress in the form of fear, anxiety, anger, or sadness, according to Kelly. They may also display more clear-cut signs that they are missing one of their parents. Some may even wonder what they can do to reconcile the relationship between their parents. This is something to watch out for. They may blame themselves for the divorce, not understanding that this was an adult decision and that their actions didn’t play a part in the divorce. Children who fantasize about a reconciliation or conjure up ways to help their parents reconcile may have more difficulty with the process of healing and healthily adjusting post-divorce.

Kelly points out that at this age, parents do have some different priorities. Routine and stable care is still very important. Although older kids in this age range have more of an ability to understand how they are feeling and express said feelings does not mean that they will. If you feel your child in this age group is distressed, but won’t speak about it, it may be up to you to open the dialogue. Kelly recommends asking about their feelings indirectly as opposed to directly. Asking a direct question, such as “Are you sad?” can come off as threatening. An indirect statement to open up dialogue, such as, “Some kids feel angry, sad, or afraid after their parents get divorced”, is less threatening. Kelly also recommends books about divorce for children. It can help them understand their feelings and cope with them.

Key developmental issues of 12-14 year olds

12-14 year olds:

With 12-14 year olds, Kelly recommends watching out for irritability and anger – both common – aimed at either parents. With a young teen, it can be difficult to gauge whether or not their moodiness is an effect of divorce. Think about how they were before the separation and how they are acting after. This may give you insight as to whether or not their moodiness is in fact a result of the divorce.

With young teens, it’s important to keep communication open so emotional problems don’t go unnoticed. They can be difficult to reach, and sometimes even act as if they don’t want to be reached out to. But most still crave connection, in some way, with their parents. So, even if they push back, keep trying if you feel they may be distressed over the divorce. If you are going to talk about it, make sure you meet them half way. Bring in topics of discussion that they want to talk about. Again, this can be a difficult age group to reach. So it’s important to let them feel that their voice matters and that you are truly interested.

Some kid’s books about divorce:

Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide For Changing Families by Laurene Krasny Brown and Mark Brown (Ages 4-8)

I Don’t Want To Talk About It by Jeanie Franz Ransom (Ages 4-8)

My Mom and Dad Don’t Live Together Anymore: A Drawing Book For Children Of Separated or Divorced Parents by Judith Aron Rubin (Ages 4-12)

What Can I Do? A Book for Children of Divorce by Danielle Lowry (Ages 8-12)

The divorce between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie has become high profile in today’s news. It’s not often that a celebrity divorce earns its own nickname. In this case, the press is calling it the “Brangelina Split.”

Even though each parent is worth many millions, the main contested divorce issue is child custody of their six children.

As in many divorces, if the couple can reach a settlement outside of court, they have better chances of making their divorce more amicable. It remains to be seen how they will resolve the custody issue, but here are some benchmarks along the road of their divorce.

Divorce Filing

Angelina Jolie filed for divorce at the end of September 2016 and sought sole child custody.  Allegations of abuse emerged against Brad Pitt shortly after she filed.

Temporary Custody Agreement

In October, USA Today published an article that disclosed the temporary custody arrangement was for Angelina to have sole custody and Brad to have visitation. They worked out the agreement through the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The agreement included terms of Brad submitting to random drug/alcohol testing and both parents undergoing separate and family counseling. Brad’s first visit with the children was to be monitored by a therapist, but that stipulation was not necessary an ongoing requirement for later visits.

Pitt Cleared of Abuse Allegations

On November 9, USA Today reported that the LA County DCFS cleared Brad Pitt after exhaustively investigating charges of Pitt’s alleged abuse against his 15 year old son. Brad Pitt subsequently has filed for joint custody of the children.

Their divorce case is being heard in California, and under state law, courts favor awarding joint custody whenever possible. Generally, parents enjoy a 50/50 parenting time arrangement so both parents can spend time with their children. Children over 14 years of age typically can state their preference during custody proceedings and the court takes their view into consideration.

Do You Need Legal Help with Divorce or Child Custody?

Attorney Chris Palermo offers compassionate legal help for individuals seeking divorce to help protect their rights.

Whether you call it joint child custody, co-parenting, or shared parental responsibility, when parents can raise their children together without a high degree of conflict, statistics show this type of parenting is best for the children.

Or course, parents divorce because they are unable to resolve issues in their marital relationship. Naturally, barriers exist in getting along with each other that they must overcome for joint child custody to work.

What Children Prefer

An article in Psychology Today lists reasons why co-parenting is the preferred arrangement. The article promotes considering what is in the child’s best interests from a child’s perspective. It offers arguments for shared responsibility, stating that shared responsibility does the following:

When violence and high conflict aren’t an issue, children typically want both parents in their lives and want to have meaningful relationships with both parents.

New York courts weigh a child’s preference on custody more heavily when the child is 13 years or older, and this is true even when they do not rule as a child would want. Courts also try not to separate siblings from each other whenever possible.

Do You Have Questions about Child Custody?

Attorney Chris Palermo is glad to answer your questions, help you consider all the aspects of child custody and to protect your rights as a parent.

Sometimes during divorce or after a divorce concludes, the spouse receiving spousal support may begin cohabiting with another partner. Should you have to pay spousal support, which would effectively go to supporting that couple instead of an independent spouse?

How Does New York Law Address This Issue?

Last year, a case called Sanseri v. Sanseri came before the New York Supreme Court and it addressed when a trial court can terminate maintenance.

New York law for terminating maintenance has changed over the years to keep up with our changing culture. In 1978, based on the case Northrup v. Northrup, the court ruled that unless the person was habitually living with a man and “holding herself out” as his wife, no modification was allowed.

Decades later, the NY Legislature restructured the concept of maintenance to provide financial assistance based on a model of “economic dependence.”

Details of the Sanseri v. Sanseri Case

The husband and wife were not yet divorced because certain issues still had to be resolved. The court ordered maintenance when the divorce began based on income disparities. Later, the wife admitted to living with another man, sharing a bedroom and commingling finances through a joint checking account. She accepted an engagement ring from her new partner. She shared family activities with him, listed him as an emergency contact for her child, shared birthdays, holidays and they traveled together.

Whether she should continue receiving maintenance hung up on the point that she had never “held herself out” as the spouse of her fiancé.

Supreme Court’s Ruling

After reviewing the details and applicable case law, the court ruled that the burden of proof requires that the wife show a need for maintenance or the inability to provide for herself. The court based the ruling on the new legislative economic-based theory. The wife can re-open the case and provide evidence that supports the continuation of maintenance as necessary for her to maintain independence in her current situation. Meanwhile, the court suspended maintenance, pending the outcome of the hearing to reopen the case.

If you have questions about spousal support, Attorney Chris Palermo will be glad you answer your questions and advise the best course of legal action.

Same Sex Couples | Surrogate Mothers | Custody Issues

With same sex couples and surrogate mothers, the landscape of family law is changing. Now that same sex couples can get married in any state, many are looking at having children. Surrogacy is a modern day alternative to adoption. In New York, a recent case involved a gay male couple and lesbian couple that had a child through surrogacy. The two couples wanted to raise the child together.

According to Business Insider, the two couples devised an elaborate plan that rotated custody every quarter. They even decorated their apartments to look identical. However, after 12 months, despite their best-made plans, the relationship fell apart.

One of the men in the male couple had donated his sperm to a female in the lesbian couple who carried and gave birth to the baby. The judge was saddled with the problem of deciding custody of the child.

The child had two mothers and two fathers. Who would be the primary caretaker? What custody roles would each parent have? Working out custody and visitation was doubly difficult to decide. The biological connection was not the most pressing factor in this case. As more of these unusual cases come before the courts, judges will rule and case precedents will be set. Right now, such cases are in the frontier stages of emerging case law.

If you have questions or concerns about child custody, meet with an experienced lawyer for legal help. Long Island divorce attorney Chris Palermo has years of experience and is sensitive to your needs.

Life goes on after divorce and this includes co-parenting. You’ll be glad to know that digital communication has made many aspects of co-parenting easier. Aside from skyping or sending text messages and emails as ways to stay in touch with your kids, there are also apps available that can help you plan and manage your schedules together.

One co-parenting application to consider is 2houses.com which helps you in various ways:

Divorce and Family Law Attorney Chris Palermo works closely with you to help your divorce go as smoothly as possible. However, he also takes great satisfaction in seeing family members get along and manage their lives well after divorce.