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Plantation Family Law Blog

Are you and your spouse unable to resolve your disagreements?

Marriage isn't always going to be easy. You and your spouse will no doubt get into plenty of disagreements even if you're in a perfectly loving relationship. That said, couples do need to draw the distinction between healthy marital spats and unresolvable problems that never seem to go away.

Have you and your spouse fallen into the pattern of getting into a discussion that invariably expands into the same argument over and over again? Maybe it's as simple as you choosing the wrong color to paint the living room. However, your spouse will never let it go. It starts as a minor disagreement about where to go to dinner, and it leads to a snide comment about the lime-green paint in the bedroom, and then your both slinging ugly names at one another.

When does joint physical custody work for parents?

Joint physical custody involves two parents sharing time with their children equally. The parents will essentially set up two separate living environments in their respective homes and their children will -- in fact -- have two different homes. According to most family psychologists, children adapt well to these circumstances and benefit from enjoying equal time living with both of their parental figures.

Here's a little bit more about when joint physical custody can work for parents and kids:

  • Joint custody arrangements are best when the parents can agree with one another. If the parents are constantly fighting, they won't have the ability to agree on the daily issues that they encounter and need to decide as co-parents.
  • The parents should also live close to one another, or at least close enough so that it's convenient for the parents to drop off and pick up the children from one another's homes.
  • Both parents also have to have the energy, ability and interest in being highly involved in their children's lives. The fact of the matter is that some parents just aren't that interested in being parents. In joint custody arrangements, it's vital that both parents are engaged, involved and active in their children's lives.
  • Neither parent has been involved in kidnapping, domestic abuse or child abuse in the past.

Did your marriage end for this reason?

Irreconcilable differences. You've heard the phrase many times while reading about celebrity divorce proceedings. Although you never thought you'd see "irreconcilable differences" written out in your own divorce papers, you always knew what it means. It's the polite or legally appropriate way of saying that two people were incompatible. To put it another way, two people with irreconcilable differences might have been arguing day in and day out, non-stop, for years before they finally decided to call it quits on their marriage.

If you and your spouse are no longer compatible, it doesn't mean your years of marriage were pointless, and it certainly doesn't mean that you and your spouse never loved one another. It just means that you've come to realize that you and your spouse have different core values, don't want to live in the same place or don't want to live in the same way.

How to have a blast on child visitation day with your 3-year-old

Imagine you have child custody rights after a long legal battle. Your child is still just a toddler and this weekend is going to be the first time he is coming to stay with you. What kind of activities do you plan to enjoy together? If you're a seasoned parent, you probably know exactly what kinds of things a toddler likes to do, but if it's your first rodeo you might not have a clue.

Here are a few ideas for your first day with your son or daughter:

Do some jobs create more single parents than others?

As it turns out, your choice of profession could have something to do with your future ability to stay married. A study compiled from U.S. Census Bureau data from 2015 looked at divorce rates for people in different career tracks and discovered that certain jobs had seemed to promote their workers being divorced more than other jobs.

In some of the circumstances, the jobs with high divorce rates make sense from a logical perspective. For example, as you might expect, low paying jobs and jobs in industries that are declining tended to have a higher divorce rate -- perhaps because monetary problems are the cause of most marital issues. Also, jobs where the individuals were constantly traveling, like being a flight attendant, were also prone to having higher divorce rates.

Visitation time and child custody: Supervised visits

Sometimes a judge will award a parent supervised visitation rights. Supervised visitation usually becomes necessary following one of the parent's conviction of various crimes, or as a result of a mental condition. For example, the parent with supervised visits might have been convicted of a violent crime, a sex crime or he or she might have a history of child abuse or domestic violence.

If you were awarded supervised visits, you're probably not entirely happy about it. No one wants to be monitored or watched while spending time with their children. However, you might want to try to see the positive side of it. Many years ago, it's more likely that someone would simply not be permitted to have contact with his or her children following conviction of various crimes. Modern family law courts in Florida, however, see the wisdom and value for the best interests of the children to spend time with their biological parents -- even if those parents were convicted of potentially dangerous crimes.

Can a prenuptial agreement help my current or future kids?

The practicality of a prenup cannot be ignored. To put it simply: Responsible couples sign prenuptial agreements before they get married. That's because a prenuptial agreement takes into account the possibility of divorce and helps couples prepare for it in advance to prevent the threat of infighting, costly divorce battles and stressful decisions when they are in difficult emotional states.

One area of divorce, however, that couples cannot prepare for in their prenuptial agreement is the area of child custody. Ultimately, any decision or agreement regarding child custody must be negotiated and approved by the parents and then brought before a judge for approval. However, although a prenuptial agreement wouldn't be able to make predetermined decisions regarding child custody, it can help one's children a great deal during the divorce process. Here are two reasons why:

  1. A prenuptial agreement makes divorce less stressful and less likely to end in argument. When parents are less stressed, less angry and calmer, they are going to be better parents to their children and give their children the extra time and attention they need during and after the divorce process.
  2. A prenuptial agreement can protect the future inheritance of children. Parents who have children from previous marriages can prevent the inheritance of their children from being absorbed by a new spouse in the event of an unexpected death.

Make a plan for revising your parenting arrangements post-divorce

Divorcing parents generally have a lot of freedom when drafting their parenting plans and child custody agreements. As long as a judge agrees that the parenting arrangements are both lawful and serve the best interests of the children involved, the parenting plan will get approved. However, that doesn't mean it will be perfect.

Sometimes, parenting plans will require revision as the child grows and matures and life situations change. As such, parents may want to establish the following guidelines within the plan regarding how to revise and alter it:

  • The parents shall meet at specific intervals – perhaps every other year, once a year or twice a year – to determine if parenting plan changes are required or appropriate.
  • The conditions related to the parenting plan can be revised or supplemented as required by the changing needs of the child and parents. These revisions will be dated, in writing, signed and agreed to by both parents. Both parents will receive a copy of the revised agreement.
  • Parents can ask to change the parenting plan – such as changing the parenting schedule – via written request. The other parent will have two weeks to respond to the request.

Modifying child custody orders to gain physical custody

Imagine you discover that the other parent has abandoned your child, even though he or she has full physical custody. In other words, the other parent is the custodial parent, meaning the child lives with the other parent, and you're the noncustodial parent who only has visitation rights.

The problem is, you've just discovered that the other parent has left your child to live with a friend. Is it possible to revoke the other parent's custodial rights and gain physical custody rights for yourself?

How can I make the most out of child visitation days?

You fought long and hard to have the right to spend every Sunday with your children. Now that you have the visitation rights you desired, however, you're facing a different kind of challenge: How do you make the most of these visits, and how you make sure your children feel supported and loved?

Here are a few tips to make sure your child visits are as smooth and beneficial as possible:

  • Be flexible with the other parent regarding your visitation schedule and times and locations for pickups and dropoffs to facilitate easy relations.
  • Always be respectful with your ex during your interactions.
  • Make sure your children feel safe and secure when they're visiting your home.
  • Create routines or "rituals" that allow your children to develop a stable sense of "home."
  • Stay open, communicative and available to your ex to discuss parenting issues.
  • Don't worry about or question the loyalty of your kids. Even if they appear to be grumpy around you, they will always have a strong bond with both parents.
  • Do whatever you can to make the transfer process from your home to your ex's home as smooth as possible.
  • Encourage time spent with grandparents from both sides.
  • Be consistent with discipline and other rules by discussing such issues with your ex.
  • Create a space for your kids in your home. Even if the space is simply a section of one room, this can help your kids feel a sense of place and security.
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