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The Big Lie About Co-Parenting

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Joseph Nowinski, PhD, has written a compelling article for the Huffington Post about whether or not co-parenting is actually in the child’s best interests. This is something I think about whenever I hear fathers of breastfeeding infants demand equal parenting time. While I appreciate the desire to be an integral part of your child’s life, I can’t help but wonder how the father plans to breastfeed his infant during his custodial time.

The idea of co-parenting between ex-spouses who are able to treat each other with respect, communicate in a healthy and adult manner, and work together to raise their children is brilliant.But what about a four-month-old breastfeeding infant? Is it in that child’s best interest to spend 50% of the time with dad? Probably not. What if, during marriage, Dad was responsible for 75% of child care while Mom worked full time and supported the family? Does it make sense, in the wake of major life changes (such as one’s parents divorcing) for the children to suddenly find themselves in Mom’s care 50% of the time? I can’t answer that question because it really depends on the child, the child’s age, the parents and their relationship after the divorce. From the article:

My personal bias is to try to roughly match initial visiting and custody arrangements with each parent’s level of parenting experience. For example, if reality shows that one parent has had 75 percent of the parenting experience described in the above questionnaire, while the other has had only 25 percent, after the divorce children should divide their time between the parents in roughly the same proportions, at least initially. Such an arrangement can easily be written into a divorce agreement, which might place a time limit on the 75/25 split.

Over time the less experienced parent should be given opportunities to “catch up” in the day-to-day parenting; for example, by taking the child or children to pediatrician appointments, by cooking family meals, and by supervising bedtime preparation. Then, as the less experienced parent begins to catch up, living schedules can gradually move toward a true fifty-fifty split. This gradual increase avoids making the child or children anxious and avoids having to separate a great deal from the parent who early had done most of the parenting.

What do you think? Would co-parenting work in your family? Have you tried it and had success? Or have you tried it and discovered that it’s not all its cracked up to be? Read the rest of the article here and share your opinion – we want to know what you think.

Pssst: Tomorrow is the last day to RSVP for our complimentary retirement seminar, Retirement Illusions: Where do we go from here? Click here to RSVP now!

A Child of Divorce

When I was nine years old, my mother took me by my shoulders in my grandparents kitchen in Seattle and said: “Ronny, we are not going back to Long Beach. I am divorcing your father. You are going to be my little man.”

My world fell apart. Suddenly, I felt the whole burden of the responsibilities and problems of our family shift to my shoulders. That was not what my mother intended, but that was how I felt. In response to the anxiety, I regressed and started wetting the bed, for which I was punished. I eventually got past that. I also started biting my nails, an anxiety habit I still struggle to overcome sixty years later. My mother’s mistake was honest and well-intentioned. She wanted to enroll me in the change, and make me feel important, but she had no way to assess the effect her statement could and would have on me. It changed my life forever.

How can parents do better? What, specifically, can we do to act responsibly as parents to guide our children through the aftermath of divorce? On Saturday, September 10, I am presenting the Second Saturday Divorce Workshop at The Law Collaborative office in Woodland Hills. Among the various topics covered, you will hear from a licensed mental health professional discussing what we, as parents, can do to help our children cope with divorce in a healthy and productive manner. Don’t have kids? We’ll also be teaching communication skills necessary for dealing with a difficult Ex. We’ll cover the divorce process from beginning to end, how to protect yourself in court, the Seven Options for Divorce, and what to do if you feel your case isn’t going anywhere. Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Irene Smith will provide important financial information for anyone going through or contemplating divorce, including common tax pitfalls most lawyers don’t know about. Breakfast is included.

You may not be thinking about a divorce or going through one, but someone in your life, someone you care about needs this information. We thank you in advance for passing this invitation on.

Also, this month we are offering a free retirement seminar presented by Irene Smith of Smith Financial Management. If you are concerned about the recent economic downturn, then Retirement Illusions: Where do we go from here? is for you. Join us on Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for a comprehensive review of the challenges you’ll face during retirement and discover strategies for a lifetime retirement plan. Dinner is included. RSVP before Sept. 15, 2011 by calling (818) 884-4888 or RSVP online at www.thelawcollaborative.com/events.htm.

Best wishes,
Ron Supancic, CFLS and Robert Borsky, Esq.
Partners at The Law Collaborative, LLC

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renaître

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Renaitre.sweetney.com is a website for divorcing people, people thinking about divorce, people married to divorced people, essentially anyone whose life has been touched by divorce. It is completely anonymous. A true safe haven for people to vent, get helpful ideas and discover ways to cope with divorce and all of its miserable trappings. From the website:

We are a collective of parents going through separation and divorce, or rebuilding our lives in the wake of a divorce.

Some of us are single, some coupled, some remarried.

Some of us are coupled with or married to divorced mothers and fathers.

We welcome all – and offer complete and total anonymity to those who choose to participate, post their stories, and comment.

The categories on the site range from Blended Families to Infidelity to Dating After Separation or Divorce. If you feel like no one could possibly understand what you’re going through, if you feel as if there’s no one you can talk to, visit Renaitre. You may find a little of the support you need. We hope you do.

http://renaitre.sweetney.com/


Randy Morrow, Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist, P. 3

When Randy Morrow, Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist, takes on new clients who are parents going through divorce, he has them sign an agreement stating that they will not argue in front of their children. If they refuse to sign, he will not work with them. This is just one of the reasons why Randy is a gem in the divorce and real estate community.

Randy understands the pain and difficulty of divorce better than most real estate agents because he’s been through three divorces himself. His first was at the age of nine, when his parents divorced. His second and third were as an adult going through his own divorce. From his website:

Randy is trained in the legal and tax aspects of the divorce process as it relates to real estate. His specialty is learning about obscure divorce-related legal rulings, regulations, and tax implications. This enables him to help his divorcing clients take advantage of tax laws that are specific to selling a house during a divorce.

“Divorcing couples are going through one of the most stressful times of their lives and they need all the help they can get. I know,” says Randy “I have been through these times myself. I know from firsthand experience what my clients are feeling and why.”

Listen to the third part in this six-part series and discover the most important factors to consider when making the decision to sell or keep the family residence.

Missed the first two parts of this series? Find them here and here.

Don’t miss another one! Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes and get free podcasts every week.

Psycho Ex-Wife Has A Selfish Ex-Husband

It’s all over the blogosphere: Divorcé Anthony Morelli, author of the blog “Psycho Ex-Wife” was ordered by a judge in the Bucks County family court to take down his site, citing the emotional damage the blog could cause to Morelli’s minor children.

Morelli insists that his blog serves as therapeutic catharsis rather than vindictive crusade.

“I tried to provide a forum, where, through [the] collective experiences [of my readers], we could help minimize the conflict in our lives, and choose better ways to deal with our high-conflict ex-spouses–be they men or women,” he said.*

Though he complied with the court order and removed the site, Morelli has filed an appeal. This is, in my opinion, a classic example of a parent putting their own interests before that of their child. Supporters say that Morelli is practicing free speech, but it doesn’t count as free speech when it’s child abuse. Which, in my opinion, it is. That may sound harsh to you, but then I suspect you’ve never known the child of a divorce where one party or both routinely said terrible things about the other parent in the child’s presence.

I believe that if Morelli wants therapeutic catharsis, he should hire a therapist. When you speak badly of your ex, you speak badly of your child. When you post cruel words online about your ex, you are posting cruel words about your child. No matter whether or not the things you say or write are true in your mind, it’s child abuse. Your children are half you, half your spouse. You think your kid is smart enough and mature enough to handle hearing the “truth” about their other parent? You’re wrong. They’re a kid. Let them be a kid. Read the 11 Inalienable Rights of Children. Print it out and tape it to your bathroom mirror where you’ll see it every day. Protect your child from wagging tongues – including your own.

*Article cited: The Psycho Ex-Wife: Free Speech Fight Over Divorce Blog.

Murder Mom

Photo from http://today.msnbc.msn.com/.

There is outrage over a current custody dispute in Seattle, involving Kristine Cushing, Trisha Conlon, and  John P. Cushing Jr. 20 years ago, Kristine shot and killed her and John’s daughters, and is now permitted to live with his and Trisha’s sons as their stepmother.

Kristine, John’s first wife, was confined to a mental institution for four years after murdering their children, and was monitored for a decade. Once she was released, John divorced his second wife, Trisha, and resumed relations with Kristine. They have since remarried, and John and Kristine have won custody of the new sons. Do you think she should have access to more children?

For past articles about Kristine Cushing, click here. For new material regarding this topic, click here or here.

The Ten Commandments of Family Law Litigation

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There are many ways to resolve a dispute. To save our Clients’ time, money, and stress, we first recommend Collaboration. However, it takes two to collaborate. If you find yourself in a situation where collaboration is not possible,  we recommend following The Ten Commandments of Family Law Litigation:

I. Always take your file with you everywhere.

II. In your journal, make an entry of every significant event, conversation, discussion, and action of your spouse at the time it occurs.

III. In your ledger, make an entry for every financial event in your case in order to assure a complete accurate and legible record. (Example: each time support is paid out or received.)

IV. Memorialize every agreement with every person who is interested/involved in your case; keep/send copies.

V. Meet and confirm strategy with your attorney in person; explore alternative dispute resolution; confirm everything in writing.

VI. Know your strategy; do not deviate without advice and counsel from your attorney.

VII. Participate in preparation of your case: draft, document, investigate, gather information and pre-interview witnesses.

VIII. Let your attorney know when he/she is on-track as well as off-track.

IX. Schedule regular Spit & Growl sessions: don’t let resentments accumulate with your attorney or staff.

X. Keep your account current: offer security.

Breaking The Cycle Of Divorce

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Have you ever noticed a continuing trend of divorce in families? Sharon Brooks, an adult child of divorce herself, interviewed over 400 other adult children of divorce over the course of twenty years. She was determined to find the cause for divorce being passed down through the generations. In the process, she discovered a pattern of four destructive relationship behaviors that were abundant and gender-neutral.

Most kids who grew up in divorced homes never had the opportunity to learn what love looks like. Instead, they learned what love does not look like. They may have witnessed a lot of tension, chaos and instability in their home and this is what feels normal and familiar to them. Subconsciously, this is what they think love is.

For her full article and all four behaviors, click here.

The Myth Of The Tough Boy

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Stereotypes classify boys as tough, and girls as sensitive. In some cases, superficial behaviors can uphold this generalization, but, as is with all stereotypes, it is usually false. Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D., examines the deep vulnerability of boys undergoing a parental divorce in his article Helping Children Survive Divorce: The Myth of the Tough Boy.

The right way for a separated parent to approach insecurity in a young child is, first, to read these behaviors for what they really are: insecurity. They are not attempts to manipulate you, or get special favors. Rather than trying to ignore a child’s insecurity in the hope it will go away, or else resist the child’s efforts to get additional comfort, divorcing parents need to accept it and provide the increased comfort and attention that the child is asking for through his or her behavior.

To read his complete article, click here.

Collaborative Divorce For Arnold And Maria

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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, in their tumultuous marriage’s end, seem to be leaning towards the option of Collaborative Divorce. Charles D. Jamieson goes over some of the advantages to Collaborative divorce for the ex-couple in his article titled “How Collaborative Divorce Can Help Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver”.

Contracts signed by their attorneys and the parties in a Collaborative Divorce clearly indicate that this is a private process and is a confidential process. Consequently, the press would have no access to the meetings or the paperwork generated during the process. If Arnold and Maria engage in a litigated divorce in public court, their documents will be available for public review and all hearings would be open to the public and the press….

The piece in its entirety is available here.