10 Tips on How to Talk to Your Children about Divorce

10 Tips on How to Talk to Your Children about Divorce

No parent wants to hurt their children. It is difficult for parents to tell their children about the divorce because the conversation will be hard, hurtful, and perhaps even traumatic. It will become a conversation etched in time; a moment when their world suddenly changed. There is no way to remove the life shaking disruption that breaking the news of your divorce will have on your children. But here are some methods that will minimize the trauma and maintain a sae place for healing when it becomes possible. 1. Do not keep the divorce a secret. This is tempting because you know it will hurt them, and you are a good parent who does not want to hurt their child. But just like cleaning your child’s cut, it will hurt a lot more later if not treated right from the beginning. Don’t try to hide the divorce, and don’t wait until the last minute to spring it on them. However, you should wait to tell your children about the divorce only when it is a sure thing and the changes are coming (give them at least a few weeks before any significant changes in the family occur.). If there is a reasonable possibility of reconciliation, you might consider waiting to break the news to your children. 2. Tell your children with the other parent (if possible). Determining whether to be together when breaking the news can be very tricky. The worst scenario for your children would be for this tender conversation to morph into a fight between you and your spouse. However, the ideal scenario is that you can control your bitterness and your spouse can control theirs, and you both can be present to...

Read More

Marital Settlement Agreements: A Trial Alternative

Marital Settlement Agreements: A Trial Alternative

A Martial Settlement Agreement (MSA) is a legally binding contract between divorcing couples.  In California, a judge must rule on every single aspect of your divorce. In litigation (trials and hearings) the judge will consider the arguments and evidence that the attorneys presented and make a ruling that they think best fits the law. However, if the couple has a Marital Settlement Agreement, the judge will simply rule that those agreements are the terms of your divorce.  There is no need for a trial or hearings.  In fact, under most circumstances the couple never even appears in court.   Agreements Included in a Marital Settlement Agreement. Depending on your situation, a Marital Settlement Agreement will typically include arrangments for: Child Custody and Visitation Child Support Spousal Support (Alimony) Division of Property Miscellaneous Agreements   Child Custody and Visitation Agreement In California there are two kinds of “custody” status: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to who can make important decisions for the children (health care, education, and welfare).  Physical custody refers to whom the children will live or spend significant amounts of time.   Both types of custody can be joint (shared) or sole (one parent only). A Marital Settlement Agreement typically will also include a Visitation Agreement, also called a Parenting Plan. This plan usually includes a visitation and holiday schedule and transportation agreement.   Child Support Child support in California is based on a formula that all courts and jurisdictions follow. Basically the formula factors in the income and certain expenses of each spouse, the number of children, and the amount of time the children spend with each parent. California law will not allow...

Read More