Parenting during the Corona pandemic is a challenge for everyone. Chances are good that your family is spending a lot of quality time together in (fairly) close quarters and may be starting to get one another’s nerves. It’s also possible that your children are trying to play more video games than you ever thought possible and you’re possibly starting to see the nutritional value of a peanut butter cup. What can complicate this already challenging time? Co-parenting by divorced or separated parents.
How should you handle co-parenting during this time?
1. Stick to your typical parenting schedule. Your kids need some regularity, predictability and stability;
2. If you know that your situation is going to be changing (ie. nurses and doctors are working longer hours, people are being laid off temporarily, child care centers are closing), communicate that to your ex as soon as possible;
3. Work together to adjust and accommodate one another. We know that it’s not always easy to help out the other person, but remember that this is about your children, not your ex.
The Today Show had a great segment on this as well:
As of now, the probate and family courts are closed except for emergency hearings; however, many of these scheduling issues can be resolved by talking with one another. *
We hope that you stay safe and healthy!
John and Faye
* Except where there is a restraining order in place and the parties cannot communicate. When parties are going to be co-parenting, we often ask that restraining orders permit for the parties to communicate via text about the children only; this allows the parties to communicate but allows for evidence of all conversations.
You might be surprised how many people go through a massive life overhaul all at once. They are in the middle of getting divorced, potentially moving into a new home and then WHAM, they quit their job or get fired. This happens ALL-THE-TIME but why?
For some people, they are trying to reinvent themselves for a multitude of reasons;
For others, they are trying to manipulate child support or alimony obligations (we don’t recommend this); or
They get fired.
Divorce can be an emotional roller coaster regardless of whether you wanted it to happen and how amicable the situation has been. The stress can have a massive effect on your body and mind, often leaving people distracted or absent minded. What can you do to help yourself before your divorce becomes an issue at work?
1. Communicate with your boss or human resources department to let them know what is happening. Not only will they potentially need to be involved with providing insurance coverage information, but they are more likely to be supportive and understanding if they they are aware of the situation and if you have reassured them that you will still get all of your work done in a timely manner;
2. Do not make a grandiose announcement or talk about your divorce at work, but if you do, only talk with a select group of close work friends and keep it to a minimum, especially during work hours;
3. Handle personal and divorce matters outside of work hours. Occasionally, you may need to respond to an email or call, but be mindful of your volume and content if you do so;
4. Do not use your work email for communication with your attorney. Some companies monitor their employees’ email and it will not benefit you for your company to know your personal business;
5. When you need to miss work to attend a divorce related meeting or appearance, inform your employer as soon as possible;
6. Put in the extra time at work if needed. If you are an hourly employee, don’t request over time pay if the extra time is needed to finish things that you would have normally finished but for the divorce;
7. If and WHEN you feel stressed or anxious, take a few minutes to refocus by getting some water or going for a quick walk;
8. Keep your emotions under control. We can assure you that if you get fired for poor performance or yelling at your boss, your spouse’s attorney will find out and will use it against you;
9. Get more involved with group projects if you can. Not only will it force you to be more accountable and keep you on schedule, but it will also give you an excuse to interact with others.
As always, please let us know if you have any questions about this or any other legal matters.
If you haven’t already figured it out, inspiration for our newsletters often comes from pop culture or current events; this one comes from channel surfing in between innings and randomly catching a question on Family Feud.
What caught our attention? “If your husband told you that he wanted a divorce on Sunday, what would be the first thing that you do on Monday morning?” Of course, we were curious how people answered.
The answers that didn’t find a spot on the survey were entertaining: throw a party, go on a date, have sex with my spouse’s best friend and bad mouth the person.* We can’t tell anyone what to do, but generally speaking, we recommend not doing any of those things.
What *should* you do in the short term?
1. Call a lawyer to familiarize yourself with your legal rights;
2. Take care of yourself by remembering to eat, sleep, exercise and maintain your appearance;
3. Speak positively about your spouse in the presence of your children;
4. Try to avoid hostile confrontations with your spouse;
5. Remind your children that you love them and divorce will not change anything;
6. Seek out a therapist;
7. Answer questions that your spouse may have about things that may have occurred during the marriage in a respectful manner but be careful about asking questions while you are still angry;
8. Start collecting financial information about marital assets; and
9. Retain an attorney.
We realize that some of our suggestions may not be easy to do in the heat of the moment when you are hurt or angry. Chances are good that you will have some heated discussions, but civil discussions are usually more effective and productive.
As always, we are here to help you with any legal questions that you may have. Please feel free to call the office or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As many of you know, both of us are parents and one of us has a M.Ed. in counseling and psychological services. Not surprisingly, our view of the world is often child focused.
We cannot reinforce enough the importance of parenting during and after divorce. Accusations of bad parenting probably make up 25% of the calls that we get on a weekly basis.
Divorce effects children of all ages. Some ways to keep your children happy(ish) during and after a divorce:
1. Always remember that your kids should be more important than anything or anyone else;
2. Allow them to see that you are imperfect and vulnerable yet surviving;
3. Maintain and demonstrate positive coping techniques;
4. Vent or soul search with a friend or therapist, but not to your children;
5. Be a good co-parent. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts mandates that all parents of minor children attend a Parent Education class. We also recommend that some parents hire a co-parenting counselor to learn effective communication;
6. Never ever EVER say a negative word about your ex when your children at in the same location as you. They will hear it, even if you think they are asleep; and
7. Encourage your kids to share how the divorce is effecting or has effected them. Some kids are more verbal while others will act out behaviorally. Help your child to identify someone who they feel comfortable confiding in, whether it be an aunt, therapist, teacher, religious leader or you.
As always, please feel free to contact with any legal questions you may have. We also encourage you to read prior newsletters on our website www.wjslegal.com .
Nicholas Cage clearly believes in the idea of marriage. He has been married four times, with his most recent marriage lasting only four days prior to filing for an annulment. According to reports, the movie star married a makeup artist in Las Vegas. What is most eyebrow raising about this most recent marriage is that his wife is disputing the annulment, but instead asking for a divorce and alimony.
Alimony is generally not awarded when the marriage is short term, including if an annulment is granted. Why is this case different? The wife is claiming that her reputation has been damaged by the annulment and that her future income will limited for that reason. We have no knowledge of Nevada law or specifics of the case, other than what was reported in the MSM, but Massachusetts courts would likely deny her request for alimony.
Massachusetts allows for alimony based on the length of the marriage and the needs of the parties. We allow for several types of alimony:
1. General Alimony: Support is paid to an ex -spouse who is financially dependent on the former spouse.
2. Rehabilitation Alimony: Support is paid to an ex-spouse who is expected to be self sufficient within a predicted amount of time.
3. Reimbursement Alimony: Support is paid to an ex spouse after a marriage lasting less than five years to make up for costs or expenses that helped him or her start a business, receive an education or similar.
4. Transition Alimony: Support is paid after a marriage of less than five years to help the spouse settle into a new location or life style post divorce.
There are few hard rules regarding alimony because all situations are so different. Whether alimony is appropriate can depend on many things, including child support orders, personal needs, age of the parties and the terms of the overall agreement.
Please let is know if we can answer questions about family law or any other legal matters.
Disclaimer: The material contained in this website does not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion as to any particular matter. Nor is it intended to create an attorney-client, business or professional relationship. You should not rely on the information contained in this website without first speaking with an attorney. No claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website are made. This material may be considered advertising under the rules of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.