How to Deal with a Difficult Ex-Spouse

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

It can be very trying to deal with your ex-spouse even if they are not difficult. You have hurt feelings, anger and many emotions that are out of whack due to this person. But, now you are divorced and you must think about your children. Yes, this other person will still be in your life because you have children together and both are going to be their parents for the remainder of your lives. So, now you must learn to deal with your difficult ex-spouse for your children. You are going to have to learn to walk away, remember you do not have to live with this person any more, and try to remember that your children love this person.

There are ways that you can learn to cope with your difficult ex-spouse, but it will take some work on your part.

The first thing for you to remember is that you are not going to change this person. They are what they are. If you are trying to change them you are part of the conflict. They are no longer a part of your life so you need to let them be unless their behavior can harm your children, then you should get legal help.

If your ex-spouse has a new spouse, try your best not to bash them as well. But, they should also not try to replace you. This can be a problem if your children believe they are trying to replace their parent.

When you both have to talk to one another, try to work things out over the telephone. Face to face meeting can result in conflicts. Also, treat the time involved with your ex-spouse as if it were a business meeting. And never let your children hear you disagreeing even over the phone. Try to have these meetings while the children are at school or not in hearing range.
Know exactly what you need to talk about and stay on schedule. Do not veer from the topics at hand. It is best to write these down before you call or meet. Do not get in the middle of a conflict. Be prepared for what you might think your spouse will say that will upset you, hurt you or anger you.

Try to agree with something your ex-spouse has said even if it is a minor detail. Then they will know that you are at least trying to compromise and that you are willing to work things out for what is best for the children.

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How to Co-Parent with Your Ex-Spouse

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

You may think this is an impossible feat and it may be according to how well you both communicate and if you have the desire to put your differences aside for the sake of your children. There are a few basic rules that can help you co-parent with your ex-spouse if you are both agreeable as described below.

The very first thing you should remember is that you will not always agree with your ex-spouse when it comes to your children, nor will they agree with you. But, you must agree to not let this disagreements hinder the parenting of both of you. Comprise is always the best solution, as long as the children are not suffering.

To be good co-parents you both must sit down together and plan a parenting schedule so to speak. Remember, if with a schedule things do come up and you both will have to be willing to work together when problems arise. You will need to decide who will take the children to the doctor and schedule the appointments, who does the shopping for school supplies, goes to PTA meetings, and even who will attending the after school activities. These can be shared, so each parent can enjoy seeing their child succeed or being there for them at the doctor. When something happens and you can meet your obligation, contact the other parent immediately. Respect that each of you do have your own life, but that the children do come first.

The number one rule is never argue where the children can hear. And number two is never slam the other parent. Your children love both parents and should. Back stabbing the other parent if they have an emergency or some reason not to attend a function will show disrespect to that parent. You will eventually have your children either disliking you for your harsh words or disliking the other parent because of what you have said. Either way, this can cause problems that you neither one want or deserve.

Your relationship may be through, but you both will be parents for the rest of your life. You need to be involved with your children’s disappointments, achievements and be there for them. When decisions need to be made such as summer camp, disciplinary actions, or other problems, if at all possible you both need to talk about these together. If it is an emergency situation, call the other parent immediately.

Have the same set of rules at both houses. Bedtimes, homework times, dinner times, and even what type of television shows and movies they should watch should be the same. Both parents must stick to these rules.

With these basic rules you can successfully co-parent with your ex-spouse if you both desire to compromise, and love and care for your children.

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How to Build Trust and Acceptance with Stepchildren

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

If you are looking for ways to build trust and Acceptance with stepchildren, don’t feel like you are alone as this is a common problem that is faced with so many people today that have married someone who already has children from a previous marriage.

Stepfathers and stepmothers are faced with new challenges trying to get the approval of there step-children. It’s never an easy situation because the children are already hurt and angry along with a lot of other emotions they are dealing with over the breakup of their parents and now a new step parent is entering their life is just the icing on the cake for them. Most of the times you can just expect they will be defensive and treat you like an intruder and a threat to their home and their lives.

So, if you want to gain acceptance with your stepchildren, it’s going to take work and time to open the door into their lives. So, as you endeavor to build the relationship don’t force yourself on them, let the child set the pace for entering into the relationship. Remember you will never replace their biological parents or that bond so it’s best to work toward being a friend but also you want the respect given towards you as a parental figure. If it’s necessary, assure the children you know that you can’t replace the absent parent and you have no desire to, but rather you want to be close friends.

As time passes, living together you will most often find that as the child sees good qualities and your desire to be friends they will most often lower their defensive posture and begin to allow you into their world. As time passes, you can begin to increase your affections and close involvement with the child and you can over a period of time build a solid strong relationship that will even be filled with mutual love and trust.

Here is a key mistake often made by step parents that’s guaranteed to kill any chance of building a relationship with your stepchild which you need to avoid at all cost. When the absent parent comes around to visit or to spend time with the children remember to always be polite and be excited for the child to visit with that parent no matter how you really fell about them. Remember that you would not like anyone to bad mouth your own parents and you can bet your stepchildren feel exactly the same way. It’s never an easy task to enter into a new family but you will find that over time you and your stepchildren can become very close and have a wonderful life together.

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How to Be a Successful Single Parent

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

No matter why you have found yourself to be a single parent, whether it was from divorce or from a death of a spouse, you can be successful. It may be trying and very hard at times, because you now have to be both father and mother unless the other parent is around and takes an active part. But, this article is for the parents that have found themselves pretty much being the only parent with any responsibility to the rearing of the children.

The very first thing you must to in order to be successful is to have a commitment not only to your children but to the family as a whole. Putting the children and their needs above all else. I do not mean drop everything and run as soon as they call out our name. I am talking about putting things they need first and being there for them. Yes, you can work and still be there for them. Learn to work with your schedule between work and home time and be sure they receive enough attention. You can help your children by being supportive and understanding.

Communication is next. Open communication is the stronghold of any successful family whether it is single family home or not. Allowing your children to openly express their thoughts and feelings as long as it is not in an abusive manner is the backbone to building trust and support. This will allow each person to develop their own personality and have their own interest. Putting the law down and not allow children to speak out, in a manner that is respectful, can hinder their development and individual growth. But, you also do not want them or yourself running over one another either. There must be a happy medium.

The next thing to remember to be a successful single parent is stick to a routine. Try your best to eat at the same time every day, have bedtimes at a specific time, and even have a time scheduled for homework. If you can manage your household, your children will learn when they should be doing what and may even be eager to help. You can even give the smaller children some minor chores as dusting, the job may not be perfect, but they are learning to be a part of the family. This way each person in the family is contributing to the well being of the family.

The last thing to remember which may be one of the most important is to keep up with your traditions. If you have always gone to church, keep going. If you always served a special meal on a certain day of the week or during holidays, keep it up. Maintaining order and familiar schedules and procedures will of course help keep your family well tuned.

Posted in Post-Divorce | No Comments »

How is Child Custody Determined?

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

When parents can not agree who should have custody of their children the court must decide. Many times, parents can decide with any involvement of the courts. But, there are times when parents can not agree and then the court must make the decision based on where they believe the children will be better cared for.

When you go to have to go to court for custody of your children, the judge and state with look at a lot of things. They will look at both you and you spouse’s capabilities for raising the children. The court will look at your mental and physical health. They will look and see if you can meet your child’s needs. The court will look at what your child wants if they are old enough to understand. The court will look at each possibility the children will have in either home. Where they will go to school and how they will be living. By looking at all these things, they will try to see which parent can give the most of their time and love, and which parent can provide the best for the child’s overall health. If one parent is granted sole custody, they will have to make every last decision that affects that child. Sole custody means that parent is the only parent that can make decisions regarding the child.  If the judge grants joint custody of the child, both parents will be making the decisions for the child or children. Parents will have to set times and days where they will share the children and make sure the children see both of their parents evenly.

Both parents will go to trial and the judge will inform them of their duties as a parent and the state will make sure the parents can uphold their duties. A person from the court may be sent out to the family’s home to check up on how each parent and child interacts. This person will determine the mental and emotional state of each person in the house. If this person finds that there are problems in the house, it will hurt the parent’s chances of getting custody of their children. Be prepared for the visits and for the trial date.

The court can decide who should receive custody during the divorce proceedings, if at a later date either parent may file for custody of their children if their circumstances change.

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How and What to Tell Your Children about Your Divorce

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

How and what to tell your children about your divorce has a lot to do with the age of your children. Many times your children are just too young to comprehend exactly what is going on. The older children have probably seen it coming for a while even without you saying a word.

Let’s divide how you to talk to your child or children by age groups.

If they are under school age, they are not going to understand much at all and the best approach is to just let them know that mommy and daddy will not be living in the same house anymore. Assure them that both of you still love them very much but that daddy or mommy is going to live elsewhere. That is all they will understand anyway at this age. As they get older and begin asking questions then you can answer them with age appropriate answers.

If they are school age, then they probably have friends in school that have parents that are divorced. Children in elementary school do understand a lot more than you think; they can feel the tension in a home even if you never argue in front of your children. They already know something is up. It is best to just them know that you are getting a divorce. It would be best if at all possible for both parents to sit down with the children together and explain that it has nothing to do with them at all. That you both love them dearly but believe it is best that you do not live in the same home anymore.

The number one rule is never talk about bad about your spouse. Remember this person is also the parent to your child and your child loves both parents. You would like it if someone talked down about one of your parents so do not get in this trap and talk about your spouse in front of your child.

You also never want to talk about the divorce proceedings or what happens in court where the children can hear. And by all means do not let others including family or friends talk about your soon to be ex-spouse anywhere they may hear. This can cause your children to have resentment when they hear either one of their parents or others place blame on one of their parents.

Even if the case of adultery; do not speak about it in front of your children. It is best to just let your children know that you both still love them very much and still want them in your lives. The only thing that will change is where the other parent will be living or if they will be moving into a new home.

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Helping Your Own Custody Case

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

When you and your spouse decide to get a divorce, you must stay with your children. This is important because your spouse can use the fact that you left against you in court by saying the children need constancy that has been in their lives since you left. 

You can help your custody battle by staying out of trouble. You will have to face many interviews by the court and people who work with the courts. Do not quit your job, find a new person to spend your life with, go out all the time, etc.

Be prepared! Get a good lawyer and make sure they know what they’re doing. Check their history to see how many custody battles they have been through and how many they have won.  The lawyer will help you make all the decisions you need to make.  All the subjects that will be covered in the court your lawyer will cover with you.  Your lawyer will listen to all that you want and try to make it happen for you. When the time comes, you will need to state in court what you want and why you want it.  If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can hire one just to talk with you about what will happen and what to do. That is a much cheaper way to go about it.

The court may decide to send a psychologist to your home and to your spouse’s home. When they arrive act normal, be yourself and go about your everyday activities. If they ask you questions, answer all questions honestly. If the children are at home and they wish to talk with them allow your children to talk openly and honestly. Do not interrupt and answer for your children. If you do, you may look like you might be hiding something.

When the time comes for court, be on time and dress appropriately. When the judge calls your case, be polite and address the judge by “your honor” Do not argue with anyone. Emotions are fine in the court room but do not go over the top. Try to be as prepared as you can when you go in. If you do not understand a question they ask you, don’t be afraid to say so. Make it clear what you want to see happen and why you want it to happen.  Be prepared.

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Helping Children Deal with Moving Back and Forth between Two Homes

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

Whether your children split the time between both parents equally or whether the time spent with one parent is only on weekends, holidays and a couple of weeks during the summer or more, they need help dealing with the situation.

Children need stability and familiarity in their lives and this can be very difficult when their belongings are in two different places. The set of rules can also be different between each household giving your child even more problems.

If it is at all possible both parents should sit down and talk about the set of rules and schedule for the child or children. Try your best to compromise. Remember, your child’s best interest is at the root of this. If you normally have dinner at 5pm, but your spouse, now that you no longer live together, does not get home from work until 6pm, then you should understand that dinner at 5pm is out of the question. Try to work out a schedule that you are both comfortable with including mealtimes, bedtimes, seeing their friends, etc.

Now, what about their belongings being in two different households? Well, the best way to do this with older children is to talk with them about what items that would like where or if they have special items that they wish to bring with them back and forth. Let them help make these types of decisions.

As for younger children, this can be very hard. If it is at all possible to have two of their toys that they normally play with, then you can have these at each home. But, of course for special blankets or teddy bears these will need to be an item that can also go back and forth with the children.

Make them feel special about having two homes and two special bedrooms etc. Always let them know how much both parents love them and want them to be happy, comfortable and secure no matter which home they may be at.

It may also help to allow them access to the telephone to call the other parent any time. The reassurance that the other parent is still there waiting for them can also bring them comfort and security.

If they are old enough, let them help decorate their new room in their new home. This will give them the feeling that it is their room even when they are not there. This will help them with feeling more comfortable and secure. You do not want them feeling that their presence is an inconvenience and you do not have room for them.

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Hague Convention (On the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction)

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

The Hague Convention is a group of articles that help out countries in the case of a child getting abducted.  All the countries that have ratified the convention have agreed that they will work together to bring the child back.  A short definition of the convention is that if a child is abducted and taken out of the country to another that is involved with this convention then they will work together in retrieving the child.  This convention was put forth because the well being of a child is more important that all others. 

An example would be if a child is abducted from the United States and is then taken to Ireland.  The officials in the United States would gain the help of the Irish government and work with them in retrieving the child.  That is a brief telling of the operations; the Hague Convention is actually very complex and long.  There are many conventions like this one that most people don’t even know exist.  The conventions also make all countries involved respect and follow the custody laws of the nation that is inquiring about their help.  So if a child from Israel is abducted and taken to the United States, then we will respect their custody laws and help them in that way. 

The convention also helps if a child is taken into custody of a government other than its own as long as the child won’t be harmed and will be put into good care.  If a child from another country to taken to the United Sates for example, then the two countries that have signed the convention will work together to decide what is best for the child.  They can decide that if the original country is at war or in extreme poverty that the best interest for the child is to remain in the United States.

The opposite of this is like the case of Elian Gonzalez.  Cuba hasn’t signed the convention and thus the United States has no rights other than to send the child back under international law.  Even if the United States thought that the best course of action would be to keep him in custody, they didn’t have the rights to do that.  Even if Elian would’ve wanted to stay and the Cubans thought it best for him to stay, since his dad was in Cuba and had the rights to him, he would’ve got sent back no matter what.

Posted in Parental Alienation | No Comments »

Guardian Ad Litem

Posted by admin on April 27th, 2006

A child is sitting in the courtroom while a thousand things are going on at once.  Being questioned one minute and the next no one listens when you say a word.  There’s also the confusing motions and language coming out of everyone’s mouths and everyone always staring at you.  This is what it’s like for a young child to be in a courtroom.  They have no idea what’s going on or what’s going to happen to them, most probably think they are in trouble.  The child would then get sent off somewhere that he had no say in and would be lost forever.  This would be the case if not for guardian ad litems, these are advocates of the child. 

The guardians are the ears and eyes for the child that is in the courtroom.  The children in these situations have never done anything wrong and aren’t in trouble, but most feel like they are.  The guardians help them with this and tell the child what’s going on and help them with answers.  The guardian’s job is to befriend the child and gain their trust.  The guardians are going to be advocates of the child’s voice in the courtroom.  They talk to the child and help them understand the mess of the courtroom and keep the child from being overwhelmed by the situation.  They also convey what the child has to say, since most adults will only listen to adults this is a good psychological tool. 

Guardians in some cases have to be specialists in their fields, other times it’s up to civilian volunteers to help with the children.  Every state has a site where you can go and get information on becoming a guardian ad litem.  You’ll be helping children that have been abused in some way and help calm the child and convey their messages.  Being a guardian ad litem is very hard and you must take it seriously, a child’s life is with you.  This is why sometimes the guardian is appointed by the state and is a specialist in their field.  They have experience in dealing with children under certain situations and can most help the child out of them.  There’s always room for more volunteer guardians though, most states need them badly.  Do a quick search on the internet to find your states website about how to join up and become a guardian ad litem.

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