3 Co-Parenting Tips for Summer Break

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Schools are out and summer is here, meaning schedules are changing making more obstacles for divorced parents who are co-parenting. The last few months of this school year took place at home, causing a serious shift in scheduling, and may have made the transition into summer a bit easier. Regardless, having less of a daily structure and being on summer vacation means it’s time for those who are co-parenting to be a little more flexible and understanding with their ex when it comes to the children’s best interest.

In order to have the smoothest co-parenting summer possible I suggest keeping these things in mind.

1. Decide on holidays and major events early – There are certain parts of summer that are expected every year including holidays and any annual trips one or both parents may have planned. If your custody agreement doesn’t have specific rules for holidays, then this is something that should be discussed at the beginning of the season. Make sure to come up with a schedule that is feasible for the child – include logistics on transportation costs for things like summer camps or activities, etc.

2. Share a calendar – The best way to keep organized is with a calendar. Whether you’re on good terms with your child’s other parent or not, consider downloading an app that allows you both to share a calendar that keeps track of all events that involve your child. Apps like Family Wizard, 2Houses, or even your phone’s Google calendar make this task very easy to use. This will only work if both parents are dedicated enough to keep it updated. It’s an extra task, but it will help to keep organized through the summer leaving no questions for when or where the children will be.

3. Don’t try to compete with each other – It’s important to remember that parenting your child is not a competition. One may have a larger budget and might have big and flashy plans for the summer, but if that’s not what’s right for you, then don’t try to over do it. Keep in mind that the best memories aren’t always the most expensive one. Your child or children are going to remember specific moments and those aren’t going to be monetary or material.

Summer vacation is a special time for children. It’s their few months of freedom from school where they look forward to spending time with their friends and families. Remembering that your child’s happiness comes first is always a healthy first step to handling co-parenting. If you need assistance in setting up a custody agreement after separating with your spouse, the help of an experienced family law attorney like Russell Spatz could make a difference in making it as smooth of a process as possible.

 

5 Celebrity Couples Who Co-Parent Successfully

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For any divorced couple with children, having to navigate co-parenting isn’t always easy. Those who have to try to figure out how to move on after divorce and successfully co-parent while in the spotlight have it just a bit tougher. Celebrity parents know that with fame comes eyes on them at all times – especially the hard times like divorce and raising children.

By keeping their children’s best interests and well being at the forefront of their thoughts, several celebrities have managed to figure out how to co-parent in a smooth and successful way.

Here are five sets of celebrity couples that have survived divorce with their friendship intact, at least enough to peacefully co-parent.

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore

One of the OG families when it comes to co-parenting, Willis and Moore famously divorced two decades ago. The pair has three daughters, who are now all grown and yet the co-parenting continues. According to an Instagram post Moore shared on her page, the divorced duo decided to spend quarantine.  A whirlwind romance, that resulting in marriage and the start of a family before fame got in the way.

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow

A divorce that sparked the phrase “conscious uncoupling” also resulted in a successful set of co-parenting celebrities. The rockstar and actress are parents to Apple and Moses who spend their time split between both homes. “Both Chris and I have made a commitment to continue to love the things about each other that we’ve always loved and to really continue to develop our friendship and to find ways to continue to communicate,” Paltrow told Today during an interview.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan

Divorcing after 9 years of marriage, this celebrity couple shares custody of their 6 year old daughter, Everly. Using an app called OurFamilyWizard, the ex-couple has successfully figured out how to navigate the strange waters of co-parenting as each has already moved on – with Dewan already having another child with her new beau.

Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez

This Miami based celebrity couple has figured out co-parenting and friendship while still being able to support each other personally and professionally. Not only do they share their twin children’s time successfully, they show up at each other’s holidays, events, and milestones as a strong pillar together in the lives of their children. At Jennifer Lopez’s Super Bowl performance in 2020, Anthony proudly stood by the stage cheering on not only his 11 year old daughter Emme during her performance, but her mom as well.

Scott Disick and Kourtney Kardashian

A relationship that was watched endlessly on screen, the eldest Kardashian and her longtime-boyfriend and father of her three children have figured out the secret to co-parenting. Though they don’t live in the same home, these two are known for taking vacation together in order to make memories for their children that they will never forget. They may pick on each other and argue on camera, but at the end of the day they always put their children first and have made sure they know they are loved by both parents.

 

3 Tips for Co-Parenting During a Crisis

Co-parenting is one of the hardest parts of most divorces. Having to create a schedule and new routine that keeps children comfortable and happy in both homes can be a challenge. Add a global pandemic that closes schools, parks, restaurants, and most public places and everyone’s world – including your children’s is turned upside down all over again. Being able to maintain some sense of normalcy for your children during a crisis like COVID-19 is tough, but not impossible. 

Here are a few tips for successfully co-parenting during a crisis:

Try to follow a regular routine – Make an attempt at sticking to the court orders and custody agreements that you usually have in place. Even though circumstances are different and many are uncontrollable, these agreements are still mandated and have been put into place for a reason. Continuing to follow the schedule that your child is used to will help keep the flow during an uncertain time.

Over communicate with your ex – Yes, there’s a reason you got divorced and maybe you and your ex-spouse aren’t on the best of terms, but in times of a crisis, keeping open lines of communication is imperative for the well-being of your child. Make sure to keep them in the loop with any changes to your schedule, finances (that have to do with the child), and health. By being open and sharing information you’ll both be able to put figure out what is best for your child during this time.

Be extra understanding – These are tough times for everyone. From businesses closing, whether temporary or not, to school lessons happening at home – this is a time that’s going to spark change in everyone’s life. There will be economic hardship that can lead to lost earnings for many parents, both those who are paying child support and those who are receiving child support. The parent who is paying should try to provide something, even if it can’t be the full amount. The parent who is receiving payments should try to be accommodating under these challenging and temporary circumstances.

Try to remember that your children come first today and always. While it is recommended to try and work directly with the other parents on small issues, sometimes it’s understandable to have the need to turn to someone else for assistance in custody issues. Russell Spatz is an advocate for families and has decades of family law under his belt. Call him today at (305) 442-0200 to see how he can help you come to an agreement when it comes to your child’s custody and well-being.

How to Help Your Kids Cope at Home During Coronavirus

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In the last few weeks, our normal lives have come to a halt and we are facing a harsh and scary new reality. Schools, parks, stores, everything seems to be closing around us in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. We are all being urged to stay home and keep to ourselves in order to help eliminate the spreading of this virus. Coronavirus is a major health concern around the world, and while it needs to be taken seriously, it’s important to find a calm way to explain it to your children.

How to Explain Coronavirus to Your Children

There’s a chance that your children have already heard about COVID-19 as it’s been in the news since January. Explain to your children that it’s like the flu, but can sometimes be more dangerous for those who are already sick or are elderly. Let them know that it’s not as common in children and by washing their hands often they can avoid it all together.

Make sure to listen to any questions or concerns that they may have. Try to be as honest as possible with them while still keeping calm. Everyone’s anxiety levels are high right now, and being stressed lowers our immune system, so it’s best to approach the subject calmly.

Take time to show them how to properly wash their hands for 20 seconds, using Happy Birthday or a favorite song of theirs to sing along to. Encourage your children to keep their hands off their faces and to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

How to Keep Children Entertained During Quarantine

While Florida isn’t on a mandatory quarantine order, we are encouraged to stay home as much as possible. Being at home is bound to lead to boredom and stir crazy children (and adults). During this time dust off those old board games and put them to use, set up a virtual play date using FaceTime with a best friend, read a book, start a new television show as a family. We often use the excuse that we’re too busy and don’t have the time to little projects. Use this time wisely and start that puzzle you’ve always wanted to do. Make dinner together as a family – pizza is always a fun interactive option. There’s always a silver lining. This is a great time to be able to slow down a bit and bond as a family.

Russell Spatz is a Miami based experienced family law attorney who always keeps his clients and their best interest at top of mind. If you or your family need to discuss any legal matters during this time, reach out to Russell Spatz at (305) 442-0200 to see how he can help.

 

 

What Happens When Children Refuse Visitation with a Parent?

No one gets married and starts a family with the intention to get divorced, but sometimes a divorce is an unavoidable part of life. While divorce isn’t easy on anyone, it can be made enough harder when there are children involved. It’s not rare for children to be caught off guard when a divorced is announced. This is a change in dynamic that can cause emotions to erupt as their parents are suddenly living in different homes with different lives.

Divorce agreements typically involve a custody arrangement that will dictate which parent is the primary parent and which one has visitation rights. Legally, the parents must follow this agreement, but what happens is the child doesn’t want to partake in the way the courts have approved?

Reasons Why a Child Might Refuse Parental Visitation

There are several reasons why a child might not want to abide by a scheduled visit.

  • Overwhelmed by the changes of a new home
  • Stressed by a new forced routine
  • Interference with school schedule or planned activities
  • Fear of missing out when it comes to their friends and what’s happening at “home”
  • A parent having a new partner that the child isn’t ready to accept
  • A parent is too strict or harsh (sometimes even abusive)

What are the Legal Obligations of Parents When It Come to Visitation?

When a child refuses to take part in the court approved visitation schedule, it puts the primary parent in a tough spot. Of course, the first thought from the parent is to protect their child and not force them into a situation where they might feel uncomfortable. But one must remember that the other parent has the right to see and spend time as it’s their child as well. By not complying with the visitation schedule it can be considered a custody order violation and legal consequences may follow. Ultimately, a judge is the one to decide is the custody order must be forced. The goal is always to try to have the child establish a well-balanced relationship with each parent. Changes to the custody order, whether requested by a parent or the child, must go through the courts and be approved by a judge after proving why a new arrangement would be a better fit for the child.

What Parents Can Do To Ease the Situation

A simple talk with your child about their feelings and their fears when it comes time to visit their other parent can make a world of a difference. Let them know you support them and are there for them, but remind them that their other parent loves them and supports them as well. You might not be a normal family anymore, but that doesn’t mean they are loved any less.

If you are doing through a divorce and are in need of a family attorney to help settle your affairs, such as a custody agreement, consider giving Russell Spatz a phone call at (305) 442-0200 today to see how he can help you. With decades of experience, he’s handled all types of family law cases and will always have his client’s best interest in mind.

How to Introduce Your Children to Your New Partner After Divorce

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After a divorce, you’re bound to move on. Whether it takes a few months or a few years, there’s a large chance that you’ll soon have another partner in your life and eventually you’re going to have to introduce them to your children. Of course, your children and their needs should always come first, making the introduction of a new partner a significant event in their life. This new person can change the dynamics of your family completely.

It’s always suggested that the new relationship be a stable and a potentially long-term one before the introductions. It’s important to start slowly and make sure everyone is comfortable during the process.

When to Introduce Your Children to Your New Partner

Finding the right time is the first and most important step. This type of meeting should ideally be discussed between both parents, as it’s a big step for children – especially those who aren’t coping well with the divorce to begin with. After a divorce, children often struggle with adjusting to their new lives between going back and forth between parents, new schedule changes, and a rush of emotions. During a divorce children may feel mad, confused, guilty, or sad and need time to figure out what they are feeling. Meeting a new partner too soon could cause them to feel even more lost and confused during the process.

Where to Introduce Your Children to Your New Partner

It’s best to introduce your new partner in a location where the children feel comfortable, but not necessarily at home, where it is easy to feel like an invasion. The meeting should be done slowly and in an environment with an activity that can take away some of the pressure surrounding the big event. An arcade, movie, restaurant, or outdoor activity can make for a great first meeting location. Be hyper-aware of your behavior with your new partner, as too much affection can be uncomfortable or embarrassing to children, especially those who took the divorce hardest.

Make sure to pay close attention to your children during this time as each one will react differently to the situation. Ask them how they are feeling and remind that that they are loved. Make sure they feel like they are being included in the moving on and let them know that you value their feelings during this time.

Divorce is hard on everyone involved, but the process doesn’t have to be such a headache. If you or someone you know are going through a divorce, consider contacting Russell Spatz, who in four decades has handled all sorts of family legal matters. His top priority is making sure you are comfortable and understood during this tough process.

Can I Adopt My Spouse’s Child?

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Marrying someone with a child can be a blessing, as well as a large responsibility. Sometimes step parents are willing to go the extra mile and want to take on the huge task of becoming a legal parent to their spouse’s child. This isn’t a simple process, but with some determination and a bit of guidance it can be done.

How To Adopt Your Spouse’s Child

In order to adopt your stepchild, a petition must first be filed with the court. Once this petition is accepted, it then most be proven that you are eligible to adopt the child and that both your spouse and the child (if the child is 14 years old or older in the state of Florida) consent to the adoption. Of course, the second parent must be taken into consideration. If they are in the picture, then they also much consent as well as sign away their own parental rights. If the second parent isn’t around due to unestablished paternity, being an unfit parent, being a danger to the child, or has been in prison for a significant amount of time – then their consent may not be needed.

What Happens When You Adopt Your Step Child?

Once the adoption is finalized, you’re no longer a step parent, but a true legal guardian to the child. This means you accept all legal and financial responsibility. If there are any child support orders in place from a biological parent, these orders will end. Alternatively, if there is a future divorce, the adoptive parent may be held responsible for future child support payments. It’s a big step to take, but creating a new blended family can be a wonderful thing.

Adopting a stepchild can take roughly three months, but with the help an of experience family law attorney like Russell Spatz, the entire process can be made seamless and easy to understand. Those who are willing to take on the legal and financial responsibility of a child who is not biologically theirs are very special people and Russell Spatz takes great pride in working with them to help make their family complete.

 

Establishing Paternity in Florida

establishing paternity

According to Florida Law, when a mother gives birth and is married, it is assumed that the husband is the father of the child. If this isn’t the case, or if the mother is unmarried at the time of the birth, then paternity must be established. Establishing paternity when the parents of a newborn aren’t married is done either voluntarily or by court order.

What is Voluntary Paternity v. Court Ordered Paternity?

Voluntary paternity is established when both the mother and father or the child agree on who the father is and sign a “voluntary acknowledgment of paternity” form. This form simply means that both parents are acknowledging that the child belongs to them. The father who signs the form is agreeing that they are the child’s father and will take all legal responsibilities as such. The form is then file and becomes final 60 days after it has been signed. No changes to this form can be made without proving that fraud or force was used in the signing.

Court ordered paternity is when either parent takes the situation to court to establish the paternity. This may be brought to the courts by the child’s mother, the alleged father, the child themselves via legal representation, or Florida Department of Child Supportive Services. This process can begin before the child is born, but can not be finalized until after the birth.

What Happens Once Paternity is Established?

To prove paternity, genetic tests will be done for the mother, child, and possible father. Once paternity is proven child support, visitation, health insurance, and authority over the child’s rights are determined.

If you or a loved one are currently in the process of establishing paternity or believe that you have the right to be granted paternity of a child you think is yours, the assistance of a someone who is knowledgeable in the field of family law could make the process smoother. Consider giving Russell Spatz a call today at (305) 442-0200 to help make your family whole.

 

What Happens If Your Spouse Passes Away During the Divorce?

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The unthinkable can happen at a moment’s notice. Going through a divorce is a tough and tumultuous time for those involved. What if your spouse passes away during the divorce, leaving so many issues unresolved? While your grief may be mixed with an odd sense of relief, it does lead to changes in the process that could make finalizing the divorce more difficult.

How Do Divorce Proceedings Change After One Spouse Passes Away?

Often times the courts will decide that there is no longer a need to grant a divorce after the passing of one of the parties involved, as the marriage has now ended in death. However, even without the divorce, some states will still have jurisdiction over marital property. This means that the courts will use its power to decide what will happen to the assets acquired during the marriage. The judge has the ability to divide marital assets and debts between the living spouse and the decedent’s estate according to the state’s family law code.

If there is no estate in place, you will typically become the owner of all community property. If there are any marital debts, those will also become your responsibility as well.

What Happens to the Children if One Parent Passes Away During a Divorce?

When it comes to child custody and child support, the surviving parent will gain full legal custody unless it is deemed that the children are unsafe with the surviving parent. If child support was being determined during the divorce proceedings and the spouse who was to assume the role of paying monthly child support is the one who passes away, the surviving parent may be entitled to death benefit or a life insurance payout through your spouse’s employer. These assets and funds can make up for the financial support you should have received if your spouse hadn’t passed away.

If you are currently in the middle of a divorce and are experiencing the pain and suffering of having your spouse pass away during the process, having an experienced attorney who knows their way around family law is necessary to not only keep your divorce on track, but to help ease the worry and stress involved during this life changing period. Russell Spatz has decades of experience and always puts his clients and their needs first. Call him today at (305) 442-0200.

 

What is Retroactive Child Support?

Child support is a major factor when it comes to raising the children of parents who are no longer together. In the state of Florida both parents are equally responsible for being able to provide for their children, whether they reside with them or not. After a divorce or separation the courts will typically require the parent who the child is not living with on a full time basis to pay for a portion of the expenses that are incurred in the child’s life. Retroactive child support may come into play if there are certain circumstances where the bulk of the expenses related to the child falls directly on the custodial parent.

What Circumstances Can Lead to Retroactive Child Support?

According to Florida law, retroactive child support can only go back as far as 24 months. This means that no matter how long the situation has gone on, payment is only expected to cover the last 24 months worth of expenses that have been created.

Ways retroactive child support can be put into place:

  • If a divorce takes several months and during that time a bulk of the expenses falls directly on the custodial parent – for example daycare or school expenses.
  • If a woman who had a child out of wedlock decides to seek retroactive child support, that support will not go back any further than two years.
  • Retroactive child support could also be past due child support once it is ordered and goes unpaid.

Divorce is never an easy thing to navigate, especially when there are children involved. It’s in your best interested to work with an experienced family law attorney who knows the ins and outs of the process. Your attorney will work with you on issues related to child support and those that may involve retroactive child support. Russell Spatz has years of experience in this field and can help guide the way through these tough times.