Author Archives: The Spatz Law Firm Blog

4 Things Divorced Parents Can Do to Reduce Holiday Stress

The holidays are just around the corner, and this year is bound to be harder than others. Typically, holidays bring magic, laughter, and memories to last, but sometimes, holidays can be stressful, especially for families of divorced parents. As a family law firm, we are all too familiar with stress that child custody (i.e., timesharing) can cause year round, yet holidays can add even more emotion to an already complicated matter.

Whether this is your first holiday season as a divorced parent or even if you’ve been sharing custody for quite some time, taking extra steps can make all the difference. Here are some ways to ease holiday stress for your whole family:

1. Remember the children come first – Be flexible and sensitive to their wants and needs. For example, do they have a favorite holiday tradition with your ex-spouse’s family? Allow them to participate if it’s feasible. Splitting time on a holiday might add more stress on the children. Alternatives to splitting time during each holiday is alternating holiday years and maybe celebrating the holiday on another day, before or after, the day the actual holiday falls on. The less transitional phases kids have to go through, the more enjoyable the day(s) will be.

2. Plan, plan, plan – Planning ahead can help ease stress on both parents and children, as everyone will know what to expect during the day and celebration. Planning ahead can help avoid unfavorable behavior from both parents and grief from extended family members. If an agreement cannot be made, refer to the custody agreement. If one is not made, we strongly recommend discussing one with an attorney.

3. Go above and beyond with communication – Making sure your plans are in order before discussing them with your children will help ensure an enjoyable experience for all. Communicating about travel plans, gifts, and other events during the holiday season is vital for parents to ease additional stress on their children. Children might be used to certain holiday traditions a family unit, but encourage them to enjoy the holidays by discussing new traditions and still being a family unit, just in a different way. If children see their parents supporting each other, they will often feel more relaxed and enjoy themselves more.

4. Co-parent and celebrate together when possible – If divorced or separated parents and their extended families are able to celebrate the holidays together without hostility and mal behavior, parents should consider this for their children. Sometimes it’s difficult for parents to put on a “happy face” when in the vicinity of their exes, but think of the smiles on your children’s faces and that will help put your differences aside.

If your family needs assistance with custody, divorce, or other family planning needs, contact Russell Spatz today to see how he can assist you and help keep your families best interest a priority. Give him a call at (305) 442-0200 to schedule a consultation today.

4 Things to Know About Child Support in Florida

Divorce is a life altering experience that results in a number of changes for both you and your spouse’s lives, but also in the lives of your children. With divorce comes the added process of making sure that the children are provided for not only mentally and emotionally, but also financially. To do so a child support agreement may be put into place by the court. No two child support agreements are the same, but in the state of Florida there are several things that you can expect when entering into one of these agreements – no matter which side of the situation you are on.

It’s important to note that nothing is permanent and just like a custody agreement, child support agreements can be updated if there are new circumstances like a change in income whether its an unexpected drop or substantial increase. This is a matter that would need to be taken to court and often the assistance of a family law attorney is needed.

Here are 4 things to keep in mind when it comes to child support in Florida:

  1. The custody agreement will be taken into consideration – One of the biggest factors when it comes to determining child support is how much time the child(ren) will be spending with each parent. The number of overnight visits per year will help decide what the additional financial responsibility will be. The more overnights, then the less one would have to pay as its assumed they are responsible for all finances while taking care of the child. If there is a 50/50 custody arrangement in place and both parties make roughly the same amount of money, chances are no one will be paying child support in this instance. Typically, whichever parent makes more money, or has them less would be the one to pay child support.
  2. Net income will be a major deciding factor – When it comes time for the courts to calculate what the dollar amount will be net income for each parent will be taken into consideration. This means the amount of income after monthly taxes, health care, and any retirement payments, etc. This will show the true income that each parent has available to handle their actual finances each month.
  3. Don’t forget to include any daycare or health care costs – While figuring out what your child’s monthly expenses are the usual suspects like food, clothing, and shelter are important but don’t overlook things like daycare costs or medical expenses. Be sure to calculate what is needed on a regular basis, as well as what could be needed in case of an emergency. Keep track of these costs in case a change needs to be made to the agreement in order to cover such expenses at a later date.
  4. Consider an Income Withholding Order – In the state of Florida, when it comes to court ordered child support, it’s possible to have an Income Withholding Order put into place that would automatically deduct the child support payment from the payer’s paycheck, within each pay cycle through their employer. Sometimes this is mandated by the courts and usually makes things easier on both parties as it allows for a paper trail and there are no missed payments or opportunities to forget to make a payment.

If you are currently working through a child support agreement, whether you’re the one requesting the payments or the one making the payments, consider hiring a family law attorney to help you through the process. Someone like Russell Spatz can help you to understand the court’s process and to calculate an amount that works for you and your child’s needs. Give him a call today at (305) 442-0200.

4 Marital Issues That Can Cause Divorce

Marriages aren’t expected to be constantly happy, shiny, and new. As time goes on problems and disagreements are bound to occur. In a healthy relationship, these differences can be worked through via compromise or educating each other on the other’s values or views. Unfortunately, sometimes the common issues that come up in marriages are too difficult to work through and can lead to a divorce.

Here are five marital issues that often cause divorce:

Financial issues – Finances are a big factor in many marriages. Sometimes it’s a struggle to pay bills and sometimes it’s an issue if one spouse brings in more money than the other. Arguing over bills, spending, and even debt are fairly normal issues, but how those issues are resolved can have a very positive or negative impact on a marriage. If these issues keep coming up or can’t be resolved, divorce may be the last option.

An extramarital affair – Being unfaithful to one’s spouse is a common cause for divorce. While some situations of cheating can be overcome, there’s a level of broken trust and betrayal that is sometimes too difficult to push through.

Family – Many times negativity that is projected from one’s in-laws, children, or stepchildren can have a deep impact on a marriage. Coping with these issues can be tough, especially as having to pick sides between ones family and their spouse is not an ideal thing to do.

Growing apart – As we grow older, we grow into ourselves or we change in ways that often times don’t match with the growth that our partner is making. While many couples grow together and become closer, it’s also possible to grow apart or to reach a point where you are no longer in love with the person you’re married to as they’ve aged into someone who doesn’t fit your ideals of a perfect partner anymore.

No one gets married thinking that it will someday end in divorce, but the reality is, divorce is more common than we’d like it to be. Many times it’s unavoidable and really what’s best for both parties. If you are considering a divorce or are in need of a family law attorney, Russell Spatz has decades of experience and is available to help you through this emotional time in your life.

4 Signs It Could Be Time for a Divorce

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No one gets married with the intention of ever having to file for divorce. We all want to believe in happily ever after, but unfortunately, life happens and people grow apart or circumstances happen that make it difficult to continue being married. If you and your partner are starting to grow restless and no longer feel happy with one another or any of the following appear to be hindering your relationship, then maybe it’s time to consider filing for divorce.

Cheating – When getting married you vow to stay loyal, but that doesn’t always happen. Infidelity, whether physical or emotional, in a marriage can cause unrepairable damage. While it‘s something that can be overcome, many marriages do not survive when a spouse cheats. This is the cause of 27% of divorces.

Lack of communication – Being married is all about compromise. In order to have a healthy marriage you have to be able to talk things out with your partner and find a resolution to issues that make both parties happy and comfortable. If you and your partner aren’t communicating and working with each other there’s a large chance your marriage won’t survive.

Loss of own identity – Your relationship with yourself is just as important as the one you build with your partner. Over the years, it’s easy to “lose yourself” and this feeling can lead to depression or anger that can consume ones marriage and lead to major problems and resentment.

Abuse – Abuse can come in many forms. Physical and emotional abuse from one spouse to another is a major factor in causes of divorce. Drug abuse also plays a factor in the ending of a marriage. If you are being abused or your spouse is abusing drugs or alcohol, and counseling isn’t able to help, then divorce may be the best option.

If any of these any of these resonate with you in terms of your marriage, it may be time to consider a divorce. When looking for legal counsel, you’ll want an attorney with experience and compassion. Russell Spatz is a dedicated family law attorney who always puts the needs and feelings of his clients first.

 

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.