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Southport Connecticut Family Law Blog

Helping a child adjust to shared custody

Coming to an agreement on custody arrangements is not always easy for both parents. Many custody battles wind up in family court, where the judge makes the decision as to who will have custody of the child. Once an agreement is in place, both parents must stick to it, even if it involves shared custody. Today, we will explain how you can help your child adjust to shared custody.

Shared custody is all about your child, not you or your spouse. The divorce was about you and your spouse. Now it's time to focus your energy on your child. Be sure that their questions are answered honestly, that they are loved, that they are comfortable in both homes and more.

5 important divorce mediation questions to address

Divorce is on the horizon and the time has come to prepare for mediation. You understand the basic advantages when compared to litigation, but you're still unsure of exactly what to expect once the process is up and running.

Here are five important divorce mediation questions to address before your first session:

  • How does a mediator help? A mediator does not have the same legal power as a family law judge, but this person can facilitate communication, clarify the divorce process, provide information about the legal system, discuss alternative dispute resolutions and ensure a fair discussion.
  • How does mediation work? While it varies from case to case, it always starts with a first meeting during which the couple identifies the issues of the divorce. These can include disagreements regarding property and debt division, child custody, child support and spousal support, among others. Subsequent meetings are when you will negotiate on all of these issues with the idea of reaching a resolution.
  • Do you have to go to court after mediation? As long as you work everything out in mediation, there's no legal requirement to appear in court. Your mediator can assist with filing the documentation.
  • How long does the process take? This varies based on the issues at hand and the willingness of both individuals to negotiate and compromise. On average, a case typically takes at least three or four two-hour mediation sessions.
  • Is it possible to consult with an attorney during divorce mediation? Not only is it possible, it's suggested. Even though you're not partaking in litigation in a courtroom setting, there are still challenges standing in your way and big decisions to make. A family law attorney will ensure that you understand the ins and outs of the process, while also helping you secure the best possible resolution on all fronts.

Creating an adoption story that has meaning for your child

The emotions and memories surrounding the months, weeks and days leading up to your child's adoption are probably varied and tied to deep feelings that will never be forgotten. Helping your adopted child to feel his or her importance and value is something you can support by sharing the story of your child's adoption. At Reich & Truax, PLLC, we have been able to help many Connecticut families facilitate the process of adoption. 

Your child's adoption story probably has many unique characteristics that set it apart from others including your reasons and desire to adopt, your child's background and birth story, the first time you met your child and the excitement of other family members to welcome someone new. Articulating your child's adoption story in a manner that is age-appropriate and helps him or her to feel special can help your child to effectively develop a personal identity.

Is your spouse being honest about their finances?

As a high-asset couple in Connecticut currently going through a divorce, the asset division alone can potentially be a headache. We at Reich & Truax, PLLC, discuss one thing that can make it even more complex: the possibility of a spouse lying about their financial situation.

Unfortunately, some spouses may feel as if they do not "owe" anything to their partner. This is in spite of state laws handling the division of jointly owned assets and property in certain ways meant to result in an equitable or equal share for both parties. In order to protect their assets from what they view as an unfair split, they may go to surprising lengths.

New York's continued refusal to allow surrogacy

If you are one of the many people across the United States who is supportive of the right for men and women to find their way to parenthood through alternative means, you would be happy to live in Connecticut. Yours is one of the many states in the country that has laws in place to support these efforts. Many an individual or a couple has experienced the joy of welcoming a new child into their lives because of this. Unfortunately, not every state has such laws.

As explained by NBC News, New York has continued to be a holdout when it comes to granting these types of rights. It has led many would-be parents to let their dreams go unfulfilled or forced them to travel elsewhere to find a way to become a parent. This year, however, many  had high hopes that a bill called the Child-Parent Security Act was going to pass. This bill would have legalized gestational surrogacy.

Going through a gray divorce with minor children

It is old news that those 50 and older are divorcing more than that age group ever has in the past. This trend of gray divorce often comes with unique and complicated factors, such as dividing retirement plans and other high assets, as well as establishing alimony for decades-long marriages. Most of the time, issues such as child custody are not relevant.

However, as more couples get married (or remarried) later in life and have children later in life, whether biological or adopted, there is a greater chance that minor children will be in the picture. If you are going through a gray divorce with minor children, you will have to consider the following:

Can I financially survive a divorce?

If you and your spouse have experienced significant marital challenges, you may be considering filing for divorce. Many Connecticut couples think about the potential of getting divorced for some time before they actually take steps to file for a divorce. If you are in this stage, you should use the time to ensure that you are fully educated about your marital finances and that you properly identify the cost of living for you as a single person. 

USA Today explains that learning about your current finances and future financial needs can help you prevent falling into extreme financial problems down the road. The first thing for you to do is to get a full picture of what it costs you and your spouse to live your current lifestyle today. Collect information on all expenses and on all debts you share. Make sure to include things like health care costs not covered by insurance, vehicle insurance and maintenance and extracurricular activities for your kids.

Understanding amicable divorce

At the law offices of Reich & Truax, PLLC, we know that one of the last words most Connecticut residents want to hear associated with their divorce is “amicable.” After all, the circumstances that led to the end of your marriage were likely to be anything but amicable. However, you may want to learn about the types of uncontested divorce, often referred to as amicable divorce, that may help the process go by more smoothly and effectively.

If you hope to end your marriage with one of the uncontested methods, you will need to learn about mediation and collaborative law. As FindLaw explains, mediation involves you, your spouse and a neutral third party in a series of sessions where you attempt to resolve your disputes without court intervention. In a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse would have your own attorneys and agree not to litigate. If litigation is unavoidable, your attorneys would be required to resign. This method often gives everyone an incentive to cooperate.

Managing back-to-school after a divorce

The end of summer can often be a busy time for families in Connecticut who have school-aged children. People may try to fit in the last of the summer fun activities while also needing to get prepared for that eventual first day of school. For parents who are separated or divorced, there is also the need to figure out how they will navigate purchases of back-to-school materials and a changing schedule with a former partner. 

Coparenting is rarely easy but it seems that a parent's ability to do this well is put to the test when this time of year rolls around. PsychCentral recommends that divorced or separated parents make their plans for how they will split costs and time with their kids without putting the kids in the middle. Developing a school-year schedule should also entail making plans for unexpected events like school closures due to inclement weather or a child's illness that necessitates them to stay home on a school day.

What are benefits of a surrogacy agreement?

Couples in Connecticut working with a surrogate, and likewise, surrogates themselves, will find the state has many favorable conditions for them. For instance, surrogacy agreements are legal in the state. There are several benefits to negotiating this type of contract between the surrogate and intended parents.

One advantage is the ability to navigate social expectations between the surrogate and the future parents. Surrogate.com mentions some items that can be hammered out in an agreement. Examples include deciding who will attend prenatal appointments and asking the surrogate to refrain from unhealthy habits.

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