The Latest News Children and Divorce

The Emotional Toll of Being an Adult and Seeing Your Parents Divorce

Posted On: May 20, 2019

No matter what age a child is when their parents divorce, a litigated divorce can not only be toxic for the family but financially devastating.  The impact to older child of a gray divorce (a divorce later in life) is surprising not less impactful because they are older.  Gray divorces have doubled since the 1990s. Whenever a divorce occurs litigation is not the answer. Not only is a Collaborative divorce less toxic it is also extremely less expensive that a highly contested divorce. 

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Julie Halpert, Considerable.com

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Raising An Intersex Child: 'This Is Your Body...There's Nothing To Be Ashamed Of'

Posted On: April 18, 2019

Intersex has occurred for generations, but most never knew that our trusted physicians would unilaterally make a decision for an infant and perform surgery (some would say mutilation) to assign a gender the doctor felt was best - all without consulting or advising the parents before the surgery was performed.  History has shown that the doctors' choice has, on most cases, not been good for the child.  Today more parents are being proactive and not letting doctors make that choice for their child.  It’s important that doctors be required to give parents the choice!

Selected excerpt(s), linked article and photo courtesy of Daniella Emanuel, CNN

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The Law, Single or Divorced Parents, Custody and The Children

Posted On: November 05, 2014

Families come in all shapes and sizes. More and more these days, children and families are challenged with adjusting to transitions. According to the US Census Bureau, about half of all first marriages end in divorce and nearly one million children are affected each year by divorce. During the 2000s, single parent families rose to an all-time high of nearly 40%*.

NYS Laws vary regarding single and divorced parent families. What does that mean and what rights do single or divorced parents have? Custody issues can be complicated when parents of a child were never or are no longer married. Issues affecting single or divorced parents include:

Custody and Visitation
When parents were never legally married, there is no assumption of paternity for single fathers. If a single father wants sole or joint custody of his child, he must file a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Custody and/or take a DNA test. This makes it possible for him to pursue sole or shared custody of the child. It will also make him financially responsible for this child, regardless of whether or not custody and visitation is granted.

When a child is adopted, both parents will need to show proof of their standing in their child’s life if the relationship ends and both want custody and/or visitation. As long as both parents played a significant role in the care and upbringing of the adopted child prior to the separation or divorce, it will be treated similarly to if the child were biologically their own. For Gay and Lesbian couples, it is imperative that both parents have been legally recognized by a second parent adoption and/or joint adoption.

When parents were married and are divorcing, the custody and visitation agreement is part of the divorce proceedings. If parents are able to work out a custody and visitation arrangement on their own, the courts just need to approve this. If they are unable to agree on an arrangement, the court will make these decisions based on what it feels is in the best interests of the child.

Child Support
Children born to a married couple are deemed the child of those parents. This premise has yet to be put to the test for Lesbian couples. For an unmarried parent, in order for a parent to receive child support for the care of a child, he or she must prove the other parent is responsible for the child. This is done either through paternity testing or by demonstrating a parent’s role in the adoption of the child.

Best Interest of the Child
Above all else, regardless of the relationship of parents, the best interest of the child will be the standard of review used by the Courts. When parents are able to do this on their own, the court simply oversees their efforts and ensures the child is protected. If parents are unable to agree on the future of their child, family court will make a decision based on the needs and desires of the child. The wishes of the child however are not determinative and often not truly considered unless the child is fourteen or older.

If you are the parent of a child and were never married to his or her mother or father, or you are in the process of a divorce, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney. This ensures your role in your child’s life is protected, especially if you are part of a non-traditional family.

If you need help in this area or have questions feel free contact attorney Concetta Spirio at 631-277-8844

* www.smartstepfamilies.com/view/statistics

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What Exactly is a “Family” Lawyer?

Posted On: May 19, 2014

It might seem as if the term “family lawyer” would be used to describe an attorney who works for everyone in a family or a person who is a member of your family and happens to work as an attorney. Though these scenarios are possible, the term “family lawyer” is actually someone who specializes in family law. The field of family law relates to topics including divorce, custody, visitation rights, spousal and child support, division of assets in divorce, protection from abuse, and paternity issues.

Many family lawyers choose their field because they want to work with the “human side” of the law. It can be extremely challenging to practice family law because attorneys must connect with and support their clients during very emotional times in life. Family lawyers see people at their best and worst, and help these people transition through some of the most challenging phases of life. Despite its challenges, most family lawyers find a great deal of emotional reward in their work.

What Makes a Good Family Lawyer?
Like all attorneys, some family lawyers are more talented and successful than their peers. The best family lawyers have top-notch skills when it comes to negotiation and litigation. They must be good at time management and understand interpersonal communication. In addition to legal counsel, family lawyers often provide emotional support during a client’s most challenging life events. It also helps if a family attorney has an understanding of financial and real estate laws, though most attorneys have a network of expert resources at their disposal when questions arise.

As families continue to evolve, the practice of family law also changes. This includes handling the issues of same sex unions and their resulting families, for which the traditional legal system is still adjusting. Trends in the field of family law also include mediation and collaborative law, a practice that helps couples divorce and legally separate without traditional litigation. A family law attorney’s role is different in cases where collaborative law is used, as opposed to litigation. In some cases, the lawyer might even act as a mediator and work for both partners, as opposed to representing one or the other. It is important to find an attorney that you are comfortable with but has training in these areas. More divorce attorneys are representing that they will follow a collaborative approach but do not truly understand the dynamics nor have they been trained in this discipline.

Nearly 50% of all first marriages end in divorce. The odds are even greater for second and third marriages. Approximately 40% of all couples in the United States are step couples. The ongoing making and breaking of families creates complicated family ties and creates a need for legal protection as things change. Family lawyers provide the guidance and support these changing families need.

Have questions about Family Law or need help in this area, then feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.

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The Law and Stepparents

Posted On: December 11, 2014

According to the Pew Research Center, there are about 30 million stepparents in the United States. Almost half of all adults have a step relationship of some kind. Stepparents and their stepchildren have special relationships. Sometimes a child is no more than “my partner’s kid,” but in many cases, stepparents and children bond as much as a child would with his or her birth-parents.

What should stepparents know about their rights if their relationship does not last?

Standing
One of the most important things about stepparents and the law is standing. Standing refers to the right of a person to seek legal intervention, in this case the rights of a non-biological parent, several factors are taken into account including:

  • The stepparent’s participation in the child’s life
  • The length of time the stepparent was in the child’s life
  • The emotional bond between the stepparent and child, and how ending the relationship would affect the child
  • The amount of financial support the stepparent provided

Being granted visitation, and even more so custody, when you are a stepparent is rare. It is becoming increasingly more frequent for stepparents to be granted visitation rights with stepchildren because blended families are more common, but it is still considered out of the norm and requires a great deal of effort on the part of the stepparent.

At present, about half of the states have laws authorizing stepparent visitation. Ten additional states expressly grant stepparents rights to seek visitation. And then thirteen more grant interested third parties rights to request visitation and categorize stepparents with these people. In the future, laws will likely address both stepparent custody and visitation with greater vigor.

Considering a Child’s Best Interest
As with all custody and visitation situations, the courts use the child’s best interest to guide decisions. A stepparent or any interested third party is more likely to be granted time with a child if he or she played a significant role in the child’s life prior to the request for visitation. Obviously, courts will show less sympathy for stepparents making bad life decisions that affect children more than in cases of birth parent in the same situation.

If you are the stepparent of a child and you are concerned changes in your relationship with your stepchild’s parent will alter your relationship with the child, you should speak to an attorney. He or she can help you determine your rights and will fight on your behalf so the court understands your role in the child’s life.

Have questions about Family Law or need help in this area, then feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.

Source:
http://www.smartstepfamilies.com/view/statistics

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Protecting Children in Separations and Divorce

Posted On: January 19, 2015

According to the US Census Bureau, couples marrying today have a 50% chance of their marriage ending in divorce. Many of these marriages are between parents and 40% of children will be affected by divorce before reaching adulthood.

When couples with children divorce, their first priority is often the well-being of the children. Sometimes, unhappy couples even choose to stay together because they believe it is the best thing for their children. When a separation or divorce is the best option for the family, effort should be made to protect the most vulnerable members of the family. What can you do to protect your children when you separate from or divorce your partner?

Transition Phase
The process of divorce is stressful for the entire family, but it can be easier if it is handled well. Couples have the option of working together to alter their existing relationship. The inclination during a divorce is to “get rid of your partner” or pay him or her back for any perceived wrongs. Unfortunately, especially for the children, this causes more harm than good in the long run.

During your divorce or separation, do your best to protect your children by working with your soon-to-be-ex to devise an arrangement that is best for everyone. Try to be fair and try not to let your emotional wounds affect your child’s relationship with his or her parent. When possible, avoid a lengthy legal battle.

Custody and Visitation
Protecting your child from harm should be your first priority. If your soon-to-be-former partner has behaved in a manner that put your child at risk, you have every right to protect your child in the future. However, there is a difference between a child being at risk and a child spending time with someone whom you are upset or angry with. Just because your partner hurt you should not mean your child will benefit from estrangement from his or her parent. Do not put your child in the middle of any dispute or discord with your spouse or partner.

Working together to create a custody or visitation arrangement that helps your child feel comfortable and supported is the healthiest type of transition for a child. If he or she is old enough to discuss custody or visitation, take his or her feelings into account when creating an arrangement. Ideally, children will feel just as loved and supported after a separation or divorce as they did when the family was intact.

Finally, speak with your child about responsibility. It is important for children to understand they did nothing to cause the break up of the family.

No matter your personal situation, your children should be protected from the changes in your relationship with your significant other. Working with an experienced family lawyer helps you transition to separation or divorce with as little turmoil as possible. Share your concerns about your child’s safety and well-being with your attorney and he or she can help you determine the steps to take to protect your child.

If you have a legal situation concerning your family and are in need of help, call 631-277-8844 today for a no obligation initial consultation and personal service.

Source:
http://www.smartstepfamilies.com/view/statistics

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Protecting Children in Separations and Divorce

Posted On: April 11, 2014

According to the US Census Bureau, couples marrying today have a 50% chance of their marriage ending in divorce. Many of these marriages are between parents and 40% of children will be affected by divorce before reaching adulthood.

When couples with children divorce, their first priority is often the well-being of the children. Sometimes, unhappy couples even choose to stay together because they believe it is the best thing for their children. When a separation or divorce is the best option for the family, effort should be made to protect the most vulnerable members of the family. What can you do to protect your children when you separate from or divorce your partner?

Transition Phase
The process of divorce is stressful for the entire family, but it can be easier if it is handled well. Couples have the option of working together to alter their existing relationship. The inclination during a divorce is to “get rid of your partner” or pay him or her back for any perceived wrongs. Unfortunately, especially for the children, this causes more harm than good in the long run.

During your divorce or separation, do your best to protect your children by working with your soon-to-be-ex to devise an arrangement that is best for everyone. Try to be fair and try not to let your emotional wounds affect your child’s relationship with his or her parent. When possible, avoid a lengthy legal battle. Children should never be used by one parent against the other to address a wrong or as leverage for results in a separation or divorce. This is extremely harmful to the child and often is never successful in obtaining a resolution to the matter.

Family counseling and counseling for the children is highly recommended. Making sure children have the support system and resources available to them to navigate this life changing transition is extremely important.

Custody and Visitation
Protecting your child from harm should be your first priority. If your soon-to-be-former partner has behaved in a manner that put your child at risk, you have every right to protect your child in the future. However, there is a difference between a child being at risk and a child spending time with someone whom you are upset or angry with. Just because your partner hurt you should not mean your child will benefit from estrangement from his or her parent.

Working together to create a custody or visitation arrangement that helps your child feel comfortable and supported is the healthiest type of transition for a child. If he or she is old enough to discuss custody or visitation, take his or her feelings into account when creating an arrangement. Ideally, children will feel just as loved and supported after a separation or divorce as they did when the family was intact.

Finally, speak with your child about responsibility. It is important for children to understand they did nothing to cause the break up of the family.

No matter your personal situation, your children should be protected from the changes in your relationship with your significant other. Working with an experienced family lawyer helps you transition to separation or divorce with as little turmoil as possible. Share your concerns about your child’s safety and well-being with your attorney and he or she can help you determine the steps to take to protect your child.

If you need help in this area or have questions feel free contact attorney SPIRIO at 631-277-8844.

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The Law and Grandparents

Posted On: November 24, 2014

There are more than 70 million grandparents in the United States. According to the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, more than half of these people believe they would do a better job raising their grandchildren than they did raising their own children. Thirteen percent of these grandparents are raising their grandchildren and serve as the primary caregiver for their children’s children.

In order for grandparents to receive custody and even visitation time with their grandchildren, certain conditions must apply. These conditions vary from state to state, but in general, the best interest of the child is the most important factor.

If custody of a child is an issue, courts typically attempt to award it to the mother. If the mother is unavailable or unfit, the next person to be awarded custody is the father. If the father is not an option, grandparents or other blood relations are typically given next priority. In cases where grandparents feel the child’s parents are unfit, the burden of proof is on them to establish the parent is unfit and in most situations, it is extremely difficult to do so. If neglect is found, the court may remove a child from the custody of the parents. Grandparents would then have to qualify for custody. Again the best interest of the child is the Court’s standard. In many instances the Court may appoint a Law Guardian, a legal representative appointed to represent the child’s interests in the proceeding. The Law Guardian will interview and visit all parties home and prepare a report for the Court.

Receiving visitation as a grandparent is easier than receiving custody. Courts take various factors into consideration when determining whether or not to grant grandparents legal visitation, including:

  • Needs of the child, including his or her physical and emotional health
  • Capability of the grandparents to meet the needs of the child
  • Distance between the child’s primary residence and that of the grandparent(s)
  • Wishes of the parent(s)
  • Wishes of the child, if the child is capable of making decisions on his or her own
  • Strength of the relationship between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
  • Length of the relationship between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
  • Evidence of abuse or neglect
  • Ability of the grandparent(s) to provide love, affection, and contact with the child

Ideally, parents are able to work out an arrangement that includes time with grandparents interested in being a part of a child’s life, even after the child’s parents have separated or divorced. However, this is not always the case, especially if the parent’s relationship does not end amicably or the relationship with in-laws was strained when the couple was together. This can be especially problematic in non-traditional families where grandparents are not accepting of life choices, but still wish to play a role in a grandchild’s life.

If you are a grandparent who wants to continue a relationship with a grandchild once his or her parents separate or you are the parent of a child whose grandparents are threatening legal action, it is important to speak with a family attorney. He or she can explain to you the rights of grandparents and determine what action to take to best protect your family.

If you have a legal situation concerning your family and are in need of help, call 631-277-8844 today for a no obligation initial consultation and personal service.

Source:
http://www.statisticbrain.com/grandparent-statistics/

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