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Post Divorce Parenting: Helping Your Child Succeed

Life for a child of divorce can feel like a war zone. They often feel torn between two people who have completely different opinions and different life styles. The rules can vary from household to household which leaves the child with a sense of confusion and anger. Here are some simple ways to help your child succeed after the divorce.

The Child Should Never Be the Pawn in a Game Between You and Your Ex-Spouse. 

Emotions run high when a couple divorces.  Tempers flare and it’s very tempting to lash out with anything against one another.  However, the child should never get caught in that tug of war.  Airing your differences about your ex in front of the child will only confuse and alienate your child.  This is never a win-win situation.  If your child is truly in danger from the other parent, there are legal remedies that can and should be taken to protect him or her.

Validate Your Child’s Feelings by Listening

In spite of your feelings about your ex, your child may want to talk about their time or visits with their parent.  Allow them to be open and honest about their feelings, including any activities that took place while they spent time with your ex.  If you have concerns, this is the only way to truly know how safe your child is – listen.

Communication Means Everything

After the dust settles, post divorce children often feel responsible for the parents separation.  Communicating with your ex may not be possible immediately and depending on your circumstances, it may not be practical.  However, talking with your child is critical.  Explaining to your child that the divorce was not his or her fault can prevent a child from acting out immediately or down the road.

Divorce is never easy for anyone.  Post divorce parenting is often even more of a challenge.  Make sure your child is never placed between the two parents;  protect his or her feelings and continue to express your love and concern for how they may be feeling affected.  If the other parent refuses to play by the rules, seek legal options rather than involving your child in any type of retaliation.  Remember that although you may not feel the say way, your child still loves their other parent in spite of any wrong doing.

Physical Custody

Series Part II - Physical custody/Residential responsibility Often people come to me and want “sole custody” of their child.  I wrote last week about sole legal custody (MA) and decision making (NH).  This article will continue that series discussing  physical custody...

Brangelina: What If They Divorced in Massachusetts?

I can’t imagine you’ve listened to the news or radio over the past week without having heard something about the pending divorce of Brad Pitt and Angelia Jolie.  The two separated recently and Jolie filed for divorce.  It's become a nasty case with all sorts of...

Massachusetts: How does Separate Support Differ from Divorce?

In Massachusetts, I am often asked about the difference between Separate Support and Divorce.  Actions for Separate Support and Divorce are two very distinct options that are separate filings in the Probate & Family Court. It is important to understand the...

Visitation: Part 1: What happens if a parent never shows up for visitation?

     While you hate to give up time with your child, you know that the visitation with his other parent is good for their relationship, can be a very positive thing and (let’s face it) is a little break for you. Even if you don’t look forward to that time when your...

How to Complete a Financial Statement

One of the biggest concerns in family court is the creation of a financial statement (or in New Hampshire, a financial affidavit). I see clients stress day after day about the information to include, the necessary documents and the mandated disclosure. Here are some...

Should You Date Before Your Divorce Is Final?

You filed a Complaint for Divorce and are ready to move on with your life. Should you date before your divorce is final?  Can dating someone hurt you while you are going through the divorce process? Could dating hurt you at all? Although it is always best to wait...

Family Law: How to Choose Your Attorney

Your family is the most important thing in your life.  Whether you are facing a divorce or a custody battle or a child support dispute, you want to have the “right” attorney by your side through this very difficult process.  So, how do you decide?   Here are some...

If I signed my parental rights away can I get them back?

I often get questions from overwhelmed parents who feel that, for one reason or another, it would be in the best interest of everyone concerned, if they just give up their parental rights (see my other article for more details on this complex subject).  However, many...

Can My Childs Dad Go To NH Court for Physical Custody?

Question: I am moving to NH can my childs dad go to NH court and try and get 50 physical custody? He has shared legal right now. Answer: If you have an order, it might address this issue. Look within it to see if it talks about either party moving his or her residence...

What Does Child Support Cover? Part I

Paying child support is a double-edged sword.  Parents are court ordered to pay but have little, or no, say-so on how it is spent day to day.  There are some court mandated requirements governing child support and because I receive many inquires about it, this is part...

Is Your Child Being Abused?

A common worry for parents often centers around protecting their child from people who prey on children.   Most children spend their days away from their parents in the care of others, in school, kindergarten, daycare and so forth.  So, what if you suddenly notice...

Topics You Should Discuss With Your Divorce Lawyer

Hiring a divorce lawyer is the first important step in a long list of your divorce. Once you retain a lawyer it is vitally important that you communicate openly and honestly with her.  She is there to to advocate for you to get the best solution for your situation. We...

After Divorce: Why is my Child So Angry?

Part of my practice in family law deals in working with parents after the divorce and the adjustment of the families after the "dust settles", so the speak.  Often the parents move on with the lives but the child of that previous marriage has a difficult time dealing...

Grandparent’s Rights in Massachusetts

The issue of visitation rights for grandparent’s rights is governed by Massachusetts G.L. c. 119, s. 39D. Grandparents may seek visitation, “grandparent’s rights,” through the Court with their “unmarried minor” grandchildren if: (1) the parents are divorced, married...

Massachusetts Complaint for Contempt – Serve that Summons!

Many times a case gets dismissed for failure to provide adequate notice to the other party that a complaint has been filed.  This is because the the other party has a right to be given notice of any actions taken against them or that they are named in a proceeding. ...

Am I Going To Jail for Shoplifting?

Many times I speak to a new client that is charged in a criminal case and their main concern is “am I going to jail?”   That is a logical question when you commit a criminal act.  It is entirely dependent on a number of key factors. Let me guide you through the...

Can I be arrested for a warrant in Massachusetts if I go to the local DMV in Massachusetts?

Q:  Can I be arrested for a misdemeanor warrant in Massachusetts if I go to the local DMV in Massachusetts? If there is a warrant, you can be arrested at any time. They don't specifically have people standing by to take you into custody at the DMV, but certainly, law...

MA: Can I Hire a Lawyer During COVID-19

Q: Can I hire a lawyer during COVID-19 with the courts being closed? Can they still work on my family law related case? A: Even if the court is closed, having an attorney assist you is so important.  Most importantly, you should not go through this alone.  Having an...

Arsdale Appeals and Alimony

Recently two new cases came down from our SJC that you should be aware of, both relating to alimony. The first, SUSAN VAN ARSDALE vs. WILLIAM VAN ARSDALE, focused on the constitutionality of durational limits of alimony applied retroactively.* To examine the...

What Type of Attorney Should I Hire?

This article is part of a series about why it's important to hire an attorney and the reasons behind hiring an attorney.  The purpose of this series is to help you determine the types of situations where a lawyer is most needed and to know when to reach out for...

Relocating with Children After Divorce

Clients often tell me that when their divorce is complete they are "done with marriage".  The hurt has jaded them.  The fight over custody, home, financial assets, and more has left them emotionally void.  Until next time, that is.  People have a wonderful ability to...

What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce?

A large concern during divorce consultation is the marital home. What will happen? Can I stay? Will I be forced out? Can I afford it? How will the Court decide to which party the home is awarded? The answers to these questions will often determine the outcome of other...

Can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce?

Very popular question!  I often get this question - can my wife take my inheritance in the divorce? or can my husband take my inheritance in the divorce? In my experience, most judges look to keep “family money” within a family.  If your parents saved their entire...

How do keep my divorce moving forward?

     This is a common question in my field and it’s one of the most difficult to answer, unfortunately. Divorces can take many paths. The outcome of each case is truly dependant on the parties. So, how can you keep your divorce moving forward...

Myths of Divorce

If you are considering divorce or even in the middle of one, it's critical that you are receiving good advice.  Advice from family and friends may seem helpful but can lead you down the wrong path.  Tips from the bar around the corner are even worse and sometimes...

Letting Go After Your Divorce

Divorce can be devastating even when both parties agree. Letting go after your divorce is difficult at best.  It's an emotional roller coaster, particularly when children are involved.  Sometimes, one party has been the "fixer" in the relationship; the one who has...

Changing Your Name After Divorce

Many things change when you get married.  One of those is often the changing of your last name.  If you changed your last name to your husband’s last name upon marriage, you now have a decision of whether to return to your maiden name or continue using your married...

2017 Child Support Guidelines – Part 3

In part 3 of our series on the 2017 Child Support Guidelines, we will be addressing child support for children between 18-23 years old and parental contribution to post-secondary educational expenses. If you would like to read about other changes, please see Part 1 -...

Legal Lessons From a Mistress

The following is from someone who asked to share her story so others could learn from her Legal Lessons From a Mistress. Several years ago I went through a nasty divorce after 17 years of marriage.  At the end of it, I vowed never to allow myself to fall for another...

What is Sole Custody?

Often people come to me and want “sole custody” of their child.  What does this mean?  Is it often awarded?  Why? How can you convince the Court to award it to you?  Sole Legal Custody in MA:   In Massachusetts, the Court will award “legal” custody, which refers...

A Child’s Right to Decide: New Hampshire

New Hampshire: When can my children decide in whose home they want to live? Okay,  New Hampshire readers – I promised you would hear my thoughts on a child's right to decide shortly, so here it is. The law in New Hampshire is different than that in Massachusetts. Read...

Can my husband force me to sell our marital home?

This question is dependent on many factors. The very general answer is that the home will be awarded to one party or sold to a third party.  To decide what will happen, the Court will look to the wishes of the parties (who wants to stay in the home?), the ability to...

Should I contact an Attorney about Divorce?

If you’re having trouble in your marriage, you feel overwhelmed.  You feel like it's going to get better, yet it never does.  Your friends and family may be unaware of the true depth of your situation.  Often this is when you may think: "should I contact an attorney...

2021 Update! Still Missing – Maura Murray

March 2021 Update: For those of you following this case, you are probably aware of Tim & Lance's podcast, Missing Maura.  For years, the podcast was its own entity.  Over the years, they began highlighting other cases as well.  To learn about Maura's case, there...

Parental Alienation: the Aftermath

In a previous article, I wrote about  parental alienation.  It is one of the most vicious things a parent can do to another parent because it can  destroy the relationship between the parent and their child.  That destruction may begin at an early age or later in life...

Just When We Thought He Was Beyond Reach

By now you may have heard that Bill Cosby was recently criminally charged by one of the women who claims that she was drugged and touched by him in the past.  The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania charged Bill Cosby today with aggravated indecent assault, sneaking the...

My ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see the kids?

My  ex won’t pay child support. Can I refuse to let him see our daughter? Absolutely not! If you do it, you are in contempt. Child support and parenting time are two separate issues. If there is an order for support and an order for parenting time, each of the parties...

Kid’s Corner: The “Don’ts”

I’m not a therapist by any means, but I do have children of my own and I do help my clients deal with their children’s issues in the course of my representation during divorce or other family law cases. There are two important lists for kids. First is the “do’s” and...

Prenuptial Agreements: Why Would I Want That?

It's hard to think that a divorce might happen when you are in the midst of planning your marriage and happily dreaming about the rest of your life, isn’t it?  How do you plan a happy life while deciding what to do if it all goes south?  The problem is that most...

Parenting Your Special Needs Child

Penny and Zach had a stormy relationship from day one.  They argued over food, traveling and holidays.  After they were married, they could not agree on anything except their child's name.    When Baby Levi was 3 and still behind developmentally, Penny sought out...

Can I stop paying my child support without going to Court?

Often things happen that makes a parent think that they are no longer required to pay child support. A daughter joins the military. A son drops out of college. A child graduates high school and is going to college part time and working part time but still living with...

Family Vacation After the Divorce

The reality of a divorce or separation often hits families the hardest over holidays and vacation time.  Family vacations may have been where many memories were created over the years.  Now, after a breakup of the family, it's an emotional time since nobody is quite...

Estate Planning: Planning Ahead

Nobody wants to think about their death. It's unpleasant no matter how you look at it.  However, planning ahead is more than simply dividing up your worldly assets.  It can ensure that your children are cared for by the person that you prefer. Planning ahead can...

Statutes, Retrials & Double Jeopardy

If you have seen the news this week, you may have noticed that actor and comedian Bill Cosby is back in court over charges of sexual assault.  While that may not be big news, the overall landscape regarding his crimes is big news.  His alleged crimes, the way they...

When to seek counseling for your child?

Divorce and separation issues are very hard on children.  Whether parents are starting the divorce, discussing the break up or have already gone their individual ways, children are often assumed to be in the dark about the whole situation.  Nothing could be further...

What To Do (and Not Do) If Your Spouse Is Cheating

It’s a difficult prospect to think that your spouse may have strayed from your marriage.  Most people find this shocking and upsetting, not knowing what to do (and what not to do)  if your spouse is cheating.  It's hard to decide at that moment about your marriage,...

My husband filed for divorce and tells me I have to leave. Do I?

Question:  My husband filed for divorce. He had me served with the papers at my office. I did not know this was coming and he tells me I have to be the one to leave our home – with our children! He says this is his home. NH: Do not leave your home. You don’t have to...

Shared Physical Custody: A Growing Trend

Years ago, when a couple parted ways, it was simply assumed that the children would live with their mother and have visitation with their father. Typically, the father's visitation with his children was for two weekends per month and if feasible for him, a "dinner...

Appeal a Judgment

I recently came across this article "How to Appeal a Judgment without an Attorney."  Being fairly intrigued, I read the article looking for holes that I could use in writing this post.  However, I must admit, it was well written and it was thorough.  It began by...

Termination of Parental Rights

Separation and divorce are never easy times for a couple in distress.  Couples may be disagreeing over money, their relationship and everything in between.  I often receive calls asking about the "termination of parental rights".  What I learn after listening to the...

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Visitation Part 2: Pick up, Drop off and Last Minute Schedule Changes

It’s very rare that parties to a divorce, or parents who are no longer in a relationship, get along very...

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