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Divorce Court Etiquette


Divorce court etiquette might not seem like a big deal, however, first impressions are important. Being respectful and well-mannered might set the stage for a positive experience with your divorce proceedings. It never hurts to know the appropriate manners for any situation, especially one as formal as a court of law. Dress appropriately and respectfully. Be on time, or better yet, early. Nothing sets a worse tone than arriving disheveled and late. Be respectful of the judge, and also the other people in the courtroom. And finally, stay calm even when you are dealing with emotional topics. Following proper etiquette might seem like a small detail but it’s best to put your best foot forward when it comes to the courtroom.

Divorce Court Etiquette You Should Be Aware Of

Dress Appropriately

Make a good first impression of divorce court etiquette by dressing appropriately. For men, this means a suit or slacks and a button-down. For women, a professional dress, pantsuit, or slacks and blouse combination. Keep your hairstyle neat and professional-looking, and keep facial hair trim. There’s a place for showing your unique style with your clothing, but divorce court is not it.

Be On-Time

Another way to set the stage right with divorce court etiquette is to be on time. It’s best to arrive ahead of schedule. You’ll often need to contend with downtown traffic, parking, and security measures. Budget in extra time for figuring out your way around the courthouse and going through a metal detector. Arriving early will give you a chance to gather your thoughts. Arriving late and in a tizzy will leave you feeling stressed and does not make a good first impression.

Be Respectful

Another aspect of divorce court etiquette that is very important is to be respectful. When addressing the judge, use the term ”Your Honor.” Everybody should stand as the judge enters. Also, make sure to be respectful of everybody else in court by listening quietly and turning off your phone.

Stay Calm

Finally, another part of divorce court etiquette is to stay calm and collected. Only speak if somebody asks you a question directly. Answer as calmly as you can, without getting overly emotional. It’s easy to feel emotional in this situation, but the more collected you can be, the better. Answer clearly and make eye contact. The more level-headed you appear, the better off you will be.

Divorce court etiquette is an important part of the divorce process. It might seem like a small detail, but getting off on the wrong foot can affect your divorce. Show respect for the court by dressing professionally and appropriately. Make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to get to court, and budget in an extra half hour to make sure you are on time. Be respectful to the judge and also the rest of the court. And finally, be calm and collected. It’s a very emotional thing to go through, but you will make the best impression if you stay cool under pressure. Hopefully, you will be able to make a great impression and have a divorce that is as stress-free as possible.

Reasons Why Abuse Can Increase During the Holidays

Unfortunately, while the holidays are meant to be a magical time of year, abuse can increase during the holidays. There are many specific reasons for this, but the overarching reason is simply stress. The holidays are a time when everybody is a little more stressed than usual. And in volatile relationships, this can, unfortunately, lead to an increase in abuse. Abuse can be physical but it can also be financial, sexual, or emotional. The increase in alcohol during the holidays can also be a contributing factor. In addition, people are often under more pressure financially. And finally, family dynamics can add another layer of stress to any situation. If you are experiencing abuse in your relationship, reach out for support and get the help you need to get away safely.

Reasons Why Abuse Can Increase During the Holidays: The Stress of the Season

Stress

Stress is the main reason why abuse can increase during the holidays. The holidays are more stressful because there is increased pressure to partake in all sorts of holiday activities. You have the added work of finding presents for family members. In addition, kids are often home from school and over-excited. All of these things can increase stress levels. Often, when abusers are stressed, they are more likely to lash out. They can reach a breaking point and be unable to control themselves.

More Alcohol

Another reason why abuse can increase during the holidays is that there is more alcohol. Alcohol is a big part of why some people hurt their partners. During the holidays, there are a lot of parties and events where drinking is common. This can lead to more abuse if the drinker is a mean drunk. Or if they simply have lower restraint.

Financial Stress

Financial stress is another big part of why abuse can increase during the holidays. Money is one of the biggest stressors in a relationship. It can cause many fights as well. And these can, unfortunately, get out of hand quickly. Not to mention the issues that many people are facing this year because of the pandemic. There are a lot of people who are no longer working or taking large cutbacks on hours at work. This can increase financial stress to a very high degree.

Family Stress

Finally, family stress can also be a reason why abuse can increase during the holidays. If your partner doesn’t get along well with their family, you might not see them very often. However, you might have to during the holidays. Family can easily open up old wounds, bring back negative memories, and bring out the worst in people. Because of this, some partners lose their control and end up hurting their spouses.

Abuse can increase during the holidays for many reasons. However, they mostly boil down to stress. Anytime an abuser is at an increase in stress, there is an increase in the risk of abuse. They already likely have a personality where they feel out of control of their actions sometimes. Adding the stress of the holidays to this can make them snap even more quickly. In addition, there is often more drinking and alcohol involved around the holidays because of various events. And financial stress can also increase with the pressure of buying gifts. And finally, any situation can be made much more stressful if you add in family drama as well. If you are experiencing any sort of relationship abuse, reach out and get the help you need. There are many resources available, but you can also reach out to a friend to help you stay safe this holiday season.

Handling the Stress of Adoption in a Healthy Way

Handling the significant stress of adoption can feel overwhelming sometimes. Adoption is a long and sometimes painful process for parents. However, the end result is an incredible relationship with your future child. Before you even begin the process of adoption you need to set reasonable expectations. Talk to other adoptive parents about their experiences. Seeing a therapist or counselor is a great way to get a handle on a stressful time in your life. And finally, focus on the big motivation for why you want to adopt in the first place. Keep your goal in mind of bringing a child into your family and let that mental image help get you through the tough times. It will be worth it in the end!

Handling the Stress of Adoption in a Healthy Way: The Big Picture

Set Reasonable Expectations

The stress of adoption is easier to manage if you set reasonable expectations at the beginning of the process. Do your research and talk to adoptive parents. Learn what the adoptive process entails. Expect hiccups. Adoption can take a very long time. It can also include some heartbreak. It’s easier to handle disappointment if you do not have the expectation that the process will be smooth and easy.

Talk to a Seasoned Pro

The stress of adoption can feel overwhelming at times. When you are feeling truly run-down, speak to somebody that has been where you are. Find a network of adoptive parents in your city and connect with them. Reach out to them when you’re feeling low because chances are they know how you feel. You can also ask your agency to recommend other adoptive parents for you to reach out to. Facebook has plenty of options for groups for adoptive parents as well.

See a Professional

Seeking the advice of a professional therapist can be very helpful when dealing with the stress of adoption. A trained counselor can help you find coping mechanisms for your stress. They can also teach you techniques to help you calm down when you are feeling panicked or upset. They can also just be a sympathetic ear and sounding board for you when you are feeling down.

Focus on the Why

Finally, when the stress of adoption gets to be too much, think about your “why.” This is the reason that you decided to adopt in the first place. Maybe it’s always been a dream to adopt a child in need. Maybe you cannot have children of your own. Or maybe you feel a calling to add to your family without wanting to go through pregnancy again. Whatever the reasons are for you, keep that mental image of why you picked up the phone to reach out to an adoption agency in the first place clear in your head. Imagine your future child and the life that you’ll build together.

Adoption can be a truly rewarding process to go through, but it is not a quick or easy one by any means. The stress of adoption can feel overwhelming at times. Set reasonable expectations at the outset so that you aren’t disappointed when the inevitable hiccups happen. Talk to other adoptive parents when you are feeling low because they probably have been in a similar boat too. Speak to a therapist if you are overwhelmed to learn coping mechanisms for stress. And finally, keep your eyes on the prize. Imagine the beautiful life you are about to start building with your future son or daughter.

All About Alimony and Child Support

Alimony and child support can be confusing when people discuss separation and divorce. However, the two are very different. Alimony is money that one spouse gives to another during or after a separation. Child support is money that a spouse gives to another for the purposes of meeting their childrens’ needs. Both are determined by a number of factors and are decided on by a judge. An experienced attorney can help guide you through the processes associated with both of these family law facets.

All About Alimony and Child Support

What is Alimony

Alimony and child support are very different things. You can also call alimony “spousal support.” Alimony isn’t automatic, so you’ll need to ask for it if you feel like you deserve to get help from your ex. The purpose of it is to help you keep living a similar lifestyle to how you were living before your divorce. Alimony might come as a lump sum, a property division, or a monthly payment.

Deciding Alimony

Alimony and child support are both decided in court. One of the factors that a judge might consider is the amount of money that each spouse makes. Additionally, they’ll look at living expenses for both. The length of the marriage is also a factor sometimes. Finally, the way that you split assets in a divorce can affect alimony.

What is Child Support

Alimony and child support are mostly different because of the purpose of the money. A spouse gives alimony to keep the other spouse living the same way as before the split. However, child support is very different. As its name implies, you give child support to a spouse to help support your joint children. You can use child support for food, clothing, housing, schooling, or medical needs for the kids.

Deciding Child Support

Like alimony, child support is a court decision. Both of these facets of family law have similar factors at play. For example, a judge will look at incomes for both parents. They will also consider the way assets split in a divorce. Child support might last until your children are eighteen, or you could decide on a different time frame.

Alimony and child support are sometimes confusing but are very different concepts. Child support is money that a spouse pays to another to help support their children. Alimony is money that a spouse pays to help support their ex. Both should be decided on by a judge in court. Therefore, having a knowledgeable attorney guide you through the process is absolutely imperative.

Different Types of Custody Arrangements

If you are going through a divorce with kids in tow, you might be wondering about the different types of custody arrangements available. It can be overwhelming to look at your options. The four main types of custody are legal, physical, joint, and sole custody. Weigh your options and decide what works best for your family.

Different Types of Custody Arrangements: Know Your Options

Legal Custody

Legal custody is one of the types of custody arrangements available. Whichever parent has legal custody of the children has the right to make all legal decisions for them. This could mean deciding long term things about their care and upbringing. For example, schooling decisions and medical decisions are things the legal custodian would need to decide. It’s possible to have sole legal custody. You could also share legal custody with your ex.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is another type of custody arrangement. This type of custody decides who the children live with. It is different from legal custody. This is because if major decisions need to be made, even a physical custodian would need to consult with their ex. Physical custody could be sole. This means the kids live full time with one parent. It can also be joint where the children go back and forth between parents. However, with sole custody, it’s possible to give your partner visitation rights.

Joint Custody

When looking at different custody arrangements, most people think of joint versus sole custody. Joint custody just means that both parents share in the raising of the kids. This can include joint legal custody or joint physical custody, or both. This is the option most common when both parents are fit caregivers. If you and your partner are both responsible parents, joint custody allows you both a say in your kid’s lives.

Sole Custody

One final type of custody arrangement available to divorcees is sole custody. It means that one parent is entirely responsible for the children. Sole custody can be sole physical custody, sole legal custody, or both. This option is common when one parent is unfit. This could be because of incarceration, drug use, abuse, neglect, or mental illness among many other things. This can be in the best interest of the children if it’s for their safety. However, it means that the kids don’t get to interact much with one of their parents.

Looking at the different types of custody arrangements is a tough spot to be in. It can be messy and emotional trying to decide what works for you and your ex. Whether you decide on joint custody or sole custody of the kid’s legal or physical decisions, let it be the best option for your children.

How-to Know if You Are Ready to Seek Sole Custody

People file for sole custody for various reasons, but not all of them are good ones. The battle for sole custody is now something you should enter into lightly. Joint custody grants some form of shared custody between both parents. On the other hand, only one parent can end up getting sole custody. Depending on your ex, this could turn into a challenging, and unpleasant battle. It is also a very big decision to make for your child. Since this is such a big thing to take on, you need to really know if you are ready to seek sole custody.

How-to Know if You Are Ready to Seek Sole Custody: Challenges of Divorce

Reasons

There are many reasons a parent may try and get sole custody of their child. Some people just want to hurt their ex. Other people are looking to either get more child support or to get out of paying child support. Some people do it because they can’t bear to be without their child. Whether or not it is warranted, they may even be afraid the other parent isn’t going to take care of them as well as they do.

However, the most important reason to seek sole custody is to protect your child from harm. Some parents are just not meant for co-parenting. In these cases, it is the other parent who is or may potentially harm your child. If the other parent has committed physical or sexual abuse against your child or another child, it may be a good idea to seek sold custody. Other reasons that could should consider filing for sole custody would be child neglect, incapacitating mental illness, substance abuse, or abandonment. Also, another reason would be if the parent is involved with criminal activity that affects the safety and well-being of the child.

Consider Children

While determining if you are ready to seek sole custody, you will need to consider what is best for your children. If they are old enough, be sure to ask what your child wants. While it will be difficult, honestly evaluate which situation would be best for your child and their development and well-being.

Preparation

If you are ready to seek sole custody, there are many things you will need to do to prepare. First, you must make sure that you have a safe, clean, proper home environment for the child. You should be able to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing, providing your child with an all-around good home environment.

Be sure to keep documentation of what steps you have taken to improve how have worked to improve your parenting skills. Get references for your parenting skills so that you can prove you are a fit parent. Additionally, make note of situations where the other parent did things that would make him or her an unfit parent. This documentation could be helpful in court.

How-to Co-Parent Effectively

If you had kids with your ex, you are going to have to navigate co-parenting. Depending on your relationship, this can sometimes be more difficult than others. Some exes struggle with co-parenting, and others seem to do well with it. The most important things is to do what is best for your kids. Keep these tips in mind so that you can be prepared to co-parent effectively.

How-to Co-Parent Effectively: Raising Kids Together

Keep Drama Away

First, to co-parent effectively, do not bring your marital issues to your kids. It is not fair for your kids to hear one parent vent or complain about the other. Be respectful when talking about your ex. Do not try and get the kids to take sides. If you need to vent your drama, talk with a friend or a therapist. Do not use your kids as messengers for negative news or comments between you and your ex. When you are with your kids, focus on your kids.

Be a Team

Co-parenting is more effective when you work with your ex as a team. Be on the same page and have consistency between both households. This means having similar rules and schedule. Kids can adjust to living in two different homes better if their schedules stay similar.

To co-parent effectively, try and establish similar consequences for broken rules. Enforce consequences the the broken rules, even if the broken rule did not happen in your house. This will each of you to help show support of one another. The same can be said for rewarding good behavior.

Visitations

Try and make visitations and changing households as smooth as possible. This includes preparing the kids before they go to the other house. Start reminding them a few days before about the upcoming visit. If the kids are young, start helping them pack up their things in advance so that they will not forget anything. You can even pack a familiar reminder for them like a stuffed toy or even a photograph.

Another tip for co-parenting effectively is to make sure you only drop-off and never pick-up your child. If you come “pick-up”, it can make it seem like one parent is taking the child away from the other. Avoid this by choosing to “drop-off” your child instead. By dropping off, you avoid interrupting a special moment as well.

By following these tips, you can work towards co-parenting effectively. If you decide to keep drama away, work as a team, and properly prepare for visitations, it will make this transition for you, your ex and your kids.

How-to Handle an Unhelpful Co-Parent

Ideally, you and you co-parent will be able to work well together after your divorce. However, there may be times when you have to deal with an unhelpful co-parent. Knowing how to handle these kinds of situations is important for avoiding any major conflict

How-to Handle an Unhelpful Co-Parent: Manage Problems

Consider the issue

When you have an unhelpful co-parent, you should consider what exactly the issue is. In particular, is the problem related to them refusing to co-parent? If not, then they may not be trying to be unhelpful on purpose. Instead, it could just be a misunderstanding.

After all, co-parenting isn’t always easy. This is especially true when you’re just starting off. When you’re running into issues, consider if they’re more just growing pains rather than purposeful difficulties. That way, you can better approach your co-parent and work out what’s wrong.

Troublesome topics

It could be that you only deal with an unhelpful co-parent when it comes to specific situations. For instance, maybe you notice you run into troubles when you ask for schedule adjustments. Everything else may be fine, but it’s this area where they always seem to be rather unhelpful.

It could be that there’s some kind of communication breakdown occurring. When you experience miscommunication, it can make your co-parent get the wrong idea about what’s going on. In turn, this can make them act rather unhelpful. Clarifying matters with your co-parent can clear these problems up and ensure you’re all on the same page.

Consider some changes

One thing you should consider is if any changes will help you solve your unhelpful co-parent problems. It could be that a lack of flexibility is leading to your struggles. It may even be that your co-parent thinks you’re the unhelpful one! At this point, you’ll definitely want to change things.

Even minor changes can go a long way in resolving your issues. Therefore, be open-minded and listen to what your co-parent has to say. By showing you take their concerns seriously and are willing to make some changes to help them, it’ll go a long way in avoiding other problems. Soon, you’ll see that your co-parenting arrangement will now work for everybody better than before.

How-to Handle Co-Parenting and Vacations

After your divorce is finalized, there will come a time when you or your ex will want to go on a vacation with the kids. There will be things that will be different about this trips than when it was before the divorce. While you may feel this tricky, there was ways to handle co-parenting and vacations easily.

How-to Handle Co-Parenting and Vacations: Post-Divorce Considerations

Advanced Notice

You will want to give your ex advanced notice about any trip that you may be going on with the kids. If you have shared-custody, you will want to give plenty of time to rearrange custody times if needed. You would want the same courtesy in return if your ex wanted to take the kids on the trip.

It may also take some time for the party staying at home to get used to the idea that their kids are going to be going away for a while. The parent staying at home may want to fill their time with other things to take their mind off things while the kids are off having fun with their other parent. This is especially true if the kids are going on a trip with the ex plus someone they are dating, or even new spouse. Plan some time with some friends or do some self-pampering in the meantime.

Medical History

Another thing to think about with co-parenting and vacations is your child’s health. It is important for the safety of the kids that both parents are both up-to-date on the kid’s medical history. Think about things such as medications, allergies and health conditions. A full list of any doctors or health conditions would be important to share as well. It would be terrible for something to happen while on vacation and the parent with them be uninformed about the child’s medical history. This could actually prove to be life threatening. Make sure to have open communication about this and discuss it before anyone leaves on a trip.

Stay in Touch

Keep the other parent at home informed with the best way to get in contact with you while you are on your trip. Even if you will not have cell phone service, give the information for the accommodations you will be staying at. This way if there is an emergency, there will be some line of commuication.

Also, let the other parent know about any changes in plans or itinerary. That way the other parent will be able to feel better about knowing where the kids are. Communication helps with trust. This will definitely help the process of vacations while co-parenting go better.

Difficult Conversations: Adoptive Parents & Kids

As an adoptive parent, there will likely be a time you may have to have some difficult conversations with the child you adopted. These topics could be as difficult as poverty, criminal behavior, abandonment, abuse or neglect.There is not going to be a perfect script or magical way to make these conversations go smoothly. However, there are some tips you can use to try and help you through these talks. 

Difficult Conversations: How to Handle Them

Honesty

Your child’s difficult story may be hard for you to handle or grasp. Any hardships they have faced will be upsetting to you. This may want to make you want to skirt around the truth when they ask questions. The best thing to do is be honest. You may think you are protecting them, but one day they will likely find out the truth and be upset that you hid it. This is especially true with so much information being on the internet. During difficult conversations, it is best to just be honest. 

Openness

Be open to having difficult conversations as much as your children want to. This will take time, and may reoccur many times. These stories are part of them. They may have images, memories, trauma and fear deep inside of them that may never go away. Because of this, they may need to keep talking about it with you over a long period of time. After a while, these conversations may start to drain you, but for the child’s sake, keep having these conversations. Keep being willing to listen. 

Compassion

During these difficult conversations, and always, show compassion. Your child may have a lot of healing to do, and your compassion will help them on that journey. As mentioned before, it likely will be a long road, but show plenty of love along the way. Be sympathetic towards their suffering, what they went through and are currently feeling.

Listen

Sometimes, it’s best to just listen. Do not try and interrupt or counter anything that they’re saying. Let them know it is okay for them to talk to you. Sometimes, as adults, we need to vent. Your children should be afforded the same thing. Especially when getting into difficult conversations, just allow them to speak. 

While no one likes difficult conversations, they are bound to come up after you have adopted a child. These tips can help guide you during these conversations. Remember to be honest, open, compassionate and listen.