Telling Your Children About Divorce? Get Tips from 4 Parents Who Have Been in Your Shoes

Ask any parent about what the hardest part of their divorce was and almost every single one will say the same thing – telling their children. It’s an understandably difficult situation, and it’s not something we are really ever prepared to go through.

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Some parents handle it great, but many more feel like they could have done a better job. If you and your spouse are considering divorce and have children, keep reading to get some ideas on how to best break the news.

Real Life Examples to Learn From

Here are a few steps you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse may want to consider before informing your children about your plans to split up.

Approach them Together

Monique Honaman of High Road Less Traffic is a parent that has been through this before. She says, “Telling the kids we were getting divorced was one of the most difficult conversations I have ever had. There is no right way, and the conversation certainly needs to be age-appropriate.”

Ms. Hohaman believes there are a lot of considerations to keep in mind. But, the very first of these is to inform your child or children as the family you are and will remain, even when separated.

She suggests, “ Deliver the message jointly that mom and dad are getting divorced. This isn’t something one parent should have to handle on their own.”

Even though you are on the outs with your spouse, this is a time when you need to support one another, and the joint effort will go a long way with your children.

Listen to Their Feelings

Candi Wingate, president of Care4hire.com understands that while parents want to appear strong and in control, they sometimes dictate the discussion a little too much.

She says, “Ask them how they are feeling about your divorce.  What are their hopes?  Concerns?  What do they look forward to about how they will live after the divorce is done?  What are their fears?  Let your kids know that it’s OK to speak with you openly and honestly, and be understanding and pragmatic in your responses.”

The news is going to be a big shock. Your children are going to have a flood of emotions. It’s important to let them express those feelings.

Don’t Do Nothing

Kevin Huhn, a business and personal development coach, has had his share of difficult situations as he was learning more about himself and being the best person he can be. When he and his former wife decided to call it quits over 20 years ago, he didn’t handle it very well.

He explains, “We had an argument in August of 95 and my ex told me that I had 30 days to get out.

So that is what I did.  30 days later I packed my stuff (while she was at work) and I left. I said nothing to the kids.  At the time, I just knew that I needed to get away from my ex to keep my wits about me.  I never thought that she would turn the kids against me.”

His relationships with his children eventually improved, but learn from his mistake. Doing nothing and avoiding the discussion with your children is only going to do more harm than good for you and for them.

Understand it’s Ongoing

Meredith Vogel of The Cookie Chrunicles went through a divorce. She says that while the initial discussion with your children is important, if they are old enough to grasp what’s happening it doesn’t end there.

From her personal experience, she explains, “As my son has gotten older, more questions do arise! I’ve had to answer many questions from him regarding our divorce as he gets older and attempts to understand what happened. I will forever filter the details but have learned that as he matures, the information I provide should mature too.”

Extremely young children might not understand concepts like marriage and divorce, but they will notice when one parent is not around. The older they get, the more they will soak in. Make sure that your children are comfortable with asking questions as they grow up so you can keep your bond with them as strong as possible.

In Summary

There’s no one right way to approach your children if you and your partner are set on getting a divorce. Every situation is different as is every child.

However, if you have never gone through the process before, getting advice from those that have can be very valuable. The four parents above have all gone through the emotionally trying experience. Some handled it better than others, but their experiences as a whole can help you do the best you can at handling this difficult situation.

Categories: Child Custody Advice, Child Custody Questions

Why You Probably Shouldn’t Fight for Sole Custody

You and your spouse are splitting up. Maybe they cheated on you. Maybe they spent more time with their friends than at home. Or, maybe you just drifted apart.

Either way, you’re not going to be married anymore. But, you have children together. How will you handle that once your divorce is finalized?

Are you going to try and punish your soon-to-be ex by pushing for sole custody? Or, do you feel you are by far the better parent and your children would be better off with only spending time with you?

Unless there are some extreme circumstances like your spouse has violent tendencies toward you and your children, you might want to skip the push for sole physical custody.

6 Family Law Attorneys Explain Why

There are many reasons why you might not want to push too hard for sole custody. Some of them may seem more obvious than others, but let’s take a look at what the experts have to say.

It’s All in the Details

Before you start down the potentially long and costly path of pursuing sole physical custody, you should first take a strong look at your motivation. If revenge is your primary motivation, you need to take a moment and think about whether or not that’s a valid reason to keep your kids away from their father or mother.

If however you have another reason, such as a difference of opinion with their other parent on schooling or religion, you have another option.

As Randall Kessler, founder of KS Family Law and author of Divorce: Protect Yourself, Your Kids, and Your Future explains, “What should be sought is what one thinks is best for the child. If a parent wants control or decision making, especially over certain areas like education, that can still be obtained, even if the parents share joint custody. It just has to be in the “fine print”. And that will likely be much easier to get agreement on than sole custody which may require a trial.”

Instead of focusing on what you can take away, spend you energy on making sure your parenting plan suits your children’s best interests.

Don’t Give Strangers All the Power

When you start the fight for sole custody, and there isn’t a very clear reason on why it should be awarded, you most likely need to go through a trial. While you might think this is a good idea, you should think twice.

Loren Costantini, an attorney with over two decades of experience says, “The life of a child should not be determined by a Judge, Guardian Ad Litem, an Attorney for the Minor Child and/or Family Relation officers who are all strangers to the child. The parents know the child best. By fighting for custody it leaves the decision of custody to people who do not know the parents or the children. They make their decision based upon a short term study of the broken family who are put under a microscope at the worst point in time of their lives. Additionally, all people observing /evaluating bring their own unknown biases and agendas to the table. Essentially, child custody is decided by strangers when the parents, if instructed and counseled properly, are the appropriate people for deciding the future of their children.”

Sometimes when you try to control the situation too much, you actually lose any control you previously had.

It Might Backfire

You have your attorney and you have your plan. You think you’re all set to get what you want: sole physical custody.

There’s only one problem. Your spouse has their attorney and their plan too.

Abby Gregory of Connatser Family Law clarifies, “Unless there is family violence or extreme circumstances, it is very unlikely that you will be appointed sole managing conservator of your child, resulting in unnecessary legal fees and the added stress of litigation. Also, seeking this type of conservatorship without cause will show the court your inability and/or unwillingness to co-parent with your child’s mother/father, and it may backfire.”

Sometimes when you push too hard for one extreme solution, and your spouse is more willing to work out a compromise, you end up looking bad in front of the judge.

Sole Custody isn’t Always Sole Custody

Many parents seek sole custody assuming it means they and only they will have contact with their children once it’s awarded. That often isn’t really how it works.

Shane Neilson from Family Law Group LLP explains that in California, “It is highly unlikely that a parent will not get a reasonable amount of time with their child/children. In cases of substance abuse, regular testing can be ordered. The court can also appoint a person to supervise visits for a period of time to ensure the child’s safety. This is a regular situation.”

He continues, “Even if one parent gets an order for “sole physical custody” it is highly likely that the other parent will have some amount of visitation with their child/children. Absent a showing of harm to the child, the court will provide some visitation.”

This is common among many other states as well, so it’s important to understand exactly what it is you plan to fight for.

Save Your Money

While most family courts in America are willing to work out a co-parenting arrangement is a timely fashion, when a parent pushes for sole custody, it’s an entirely different matter and timeline.

Father’s Rights attorney Anne Mitchell of DadsRights.org says aside from the harm a long court battle can do to a child, “fighting for sole custody, which is not the default in any state at this point in time in our society, is very expensive. And, because it is not the default, it rarely works except under extreme, clear circumstances.”

She goes on to suggest that the money you would sink into this fight would be much better spent on your child’s college fund.

Are You Ready to Explain it to Your Children?

In the rare circumstance that you manage to convince a family court that you should have sole custody, it still might end up being more trouble that it was worth in the end. While you may have a problem with your ex, your children may not.

Eric Klein of Klein Law Group says, “The reason why a parent should not fight for 100% sole custody is because a parent should not want their children to question why dad or mom only took time for them every other weekend. Why wasn’t dad in my life more? Why didn’t dad take me to ball games? Why wasn’t mom at my recital?”

As your children get older, they may start to blame the parent with custody from keeping them away from their other parent. Is that something you would want on your conscience?

In Summary

Sole custody might not be exactly what you think it is. Before setting forth on a one way trip into a long court battle, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. Think about the short and long-term consequences to all the parties involved, especially your children.

And, always spent time to consider whether or not your next action is in the best interests of your children.

Categories: child custody, Child Custody Advice, Child Custody Battle, Child Custody Dispute

Legal Considerations for Marrying into a Step-parenting Role

One aspect of divorce that many people often overlook is that it potentially puts people back into the dating scene, if they so choose. If you’re single and dating, you may end up meeting a divorcee.

If they never had children, your time and potential future together should be straight forward enough. But, if you start to get serious with a divorcee who still has minor children, you may want to have a better idea of what being a stepparent entails legally.

Heed These Tips from 4 Top Family Law Attorneys

When considering whether or not to marry into a step-parenting role, every situation is different. However, here are a few points of interest that you’ll definitely want to put some thought into.

Know What You’re Getting Into

Your new husband or wife-to-be is single again for a reason. There was something in their previous marriage that did not work. There still and most likely is some leftover tension.

Before you arrived, the post-divorce family dynamic was very clear. There were two parents that split up and the child or children were in the middle, for better or worse. Now that you may marry into the situation, that dynamic will change.

It’s important to know what you are getting into.

While whatever co-parenting agreement your new spouse and his or her ex have in place has nothing to do with you, when you enter the picture legally that might change.

Andrew Vaughn, the founder of NuVorce LLC explains, “A court cannot bind a step-parent to follow a Custody Judgment because the court lacked jurisdiction over the new stepparent at the time the Custody Judgment was entered. However, many Custody Judgements have provisions that the parents will review the Custody Judgment with any stepparents and ask the stepparents to abide by the agreement (including provisions as to who can be called “Mom” or “Dad,” whether corporal punishment is banned, what the parenting schedules will be, etc.)“

It could go even further than that as upon joining a family you may open up your personal information to everyone involved.

Vaughn continues, “Outside of that, a stepparent should be aware that they are joining a family that has gone through divorce and that they may (at least tangentially) be involved in any future court proceedings. For example, if one parent tries to modify child support, the stepparent may have to reveal his or her income information to the extent it impacts household income, etc. Many stepparents are unaware this can even happen and are often upset by the requirement that they share their personal information with their spouse’s ex.”

If you’re marrying into a co-parenting situation and are concerned about what rules are currently in place and how your personal information will be shared, you should consider sitting down with a qualified family law attorney before tying the knot.

Understand How Much Control You Have

When you move into a new home and your new spouse has a child or children living with them, it may feel like you have a lot of control over their lives. But legally speaking, that really isn’t the case.

Many of the day-to-day duties that a biological parent does without a second thought are not on the table for what you as a stepparent can do.

Jonathan Breeden of the Breeden Law Office says, “As a stepparent, you won’t have the legal jurisdiction to make decisions for your stepchild. This includes the inability to legally give content for your stepchild’s medical care and legal validity when signing their school forms or attending school functions involving parents.”

It can get even more complicated if there’s further changes in the family dynamic as time goes on, such as if your new spouse passes away.

Mr Breeden explains, “If your spouse (biological parent) dies, you will won’t have legal responsibility over your stepchild unless you have legally adopted the child, have been given parental rights, or have been designated a legal guardian.”

Whenever you enter an already formed family, there are going to be some preexisting legal conditions you’ll want to think about.

Don’t Become a Wedge

It’s very important that although you might be more involved in your soon-to-be stepchildren’s lives, you have to respect that they still have two parents. No matter the time-split, unless your soon-to-be spouse has sole legal custody, the other parent has a lot of legal power.

Shaolaine Loving from Loving Law, Ltd. says, “You shouldn’t try to infringe on the other parent’s rights or do anything that could be interpreted as creating ill-will towards that parent or from the child. You are not charged with any legal rights over the child or any financial responsibilities, but if you do anything that the other parent could deem harmful or not in the child’s best interests, then the other parent could use that to try to strip custodial rights from your spouse.”

Aside from the legal repercussions, being a wedge that further fractures a family that’s already been through some rough times is not something to aspire to and is not in the best interest of your stepchildren in most circumstances.

Think About the Future

Getting married is a big deal. It’s a very emotional time in your life. Depending on the size of your wedding and reception, it can be very stressful.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the short-term happenings and forget to take a look at a few years down the road. But if you’re marrying someone with children already, this is a big mistake.

You may want to discuss what will happen if there’s a possibility the other parents moves, especially if they may move internationally.

Renata Castro of Castro Legal Group advises, “I would highly encourage discussing with a partner if there’s a possibility of overseas relocation. For example, if you are marrying a partner who is from Brazil who has Brazilian children, and for some reason the other parent, who is also Brazilian, relocates back home and your spouse wants to be closer. What do you do? Also, Immigration is a sensitive topic these days. Although stepparents, at least in Florida, are not legally responsible for support payments, if the stepparent becomes a petitioner for an immigration benefit, the US Citizen stepparent may be responsible for payments.”

Thinking about the future and planning accordingly can help mitigate any potential future problems.

In Summary

Marrying into a family is both a wonderful and complicated thing. You get to bond with more than just a new spouse, but with their children as well. However, with that comes added potential for misunderstandings and hurt feelings.

Having a solid idea of what you are getting into, what is expected of you, and what you can and cannot do, will only make your experience better.

Categories: Step Parenting

How to Prepare for a Child Support Hearing in California

One of the most stressful parts of any disagreement between parents, whether they are divorcing or were never married in the first place, is sorting out a parenting plan and custody schedule. When you add child support to that, it can get even worse.

A child support hearing is not something either parent should take lightly. An improper decision can financially cripple either the payer or the payee. And, a parent that feels financially taken advantage of may take their frustration out on their children, harming their relationship.

Some Tips From Practicing Family Law Attorneys

We asked several practicing family law attorneys in California what they feel is important for a parent to do while preparing for a child support hearing. Here is what they said.

Show Your Full Income

First impressions go a long way and judges are no different. The family courts will use the California child support formula to determine which parent will pay support and to set a baseline figure.

A big part of that formula is both parents income. But, it’s not only your W-2 income.

Darlene S. Wanger of Kaplan | Wanger LLP explains, “When parents come to Court on their hearing date, they should have with them copies of their last two-years of tax returns, their last two months of paystubs, any documentation showing any income from any other sources, such as bank interest income, or even cash payments, and any other documents or information with respect to deductions, such as property tax or mortgage interest deductions.  Parents should also bring documents showing how much they pay for childcare (as that can also be included in the child support calculation) and any other information relevant to health insurance that a parent might pay for a child.”

In a way, it might be helpful to think of the financial aspect of your child support hearing like it’s a tax audit.

Don’t Fudge Your Math

Judges know that every person leads a different life. From your job, to your health, you aren’t going to make the same and have the same expenses as everyone else. But, when you quote your expenses to the family court, you better make sure you can back up your claim.

Raymond Hekmat of Hekmat Law & Mediation, P.C. warns, “The Court may question some of your expenses if it believes they are not reasonable, or if you are putting your needs in front of your child. Make sure your expenses are as accurate as possible, and represent your child’s needs as well. “

In other words, when you’re working out your financials, skip the voodoo math and make sure you can prove every expense you claim.

Understand the Implications of your Time Split

There are two major factors that go into the child support calculation. One is the income after taxes and deductions of both parents. The other major factor is how much time the child or children spend with each parent.

Shane Nielson of the Family Law Group, LLP explains just how important that time split is in California –

“This is the biggest single factor in the calculations, and is often a reason some parties fight about visitation. You enter the visitation percentage in the calculator to determine the guideline. The higher the percentage is for the paying parent, the lower amount he or she will pay. The reason being they need more of their income to support the child while the child is with that parent”

You can see just how much of an impact that visitation time makes by spending a few minutes with our California child support calculator.

You’re Not Going in Front of Judge Judy

What happens in your child support hearing can have very big and very real implications for the future of your co-parenting and child custody situation. That means it isn’t the time or the place to take the low road.

Anthony D. Storm of Storm Family Law advises, “Judges like solutions, not problems, so try and fashion your request to modify support in a manner that makes the court’s job easier.”

You should have your t’s crossed and i’s dotted before stepping foot in front of the judge.

In Summary

Whether you are seeking child support or are being asked to pay child support, the formal hearing is extremely important. From the four family law lawyers above that kindly supplied advice, one main point should be very clear.

Go to your hearing very well prepared.

You’ll want to have all of your finances in spotless and error free order. You’ll want to present the judge with a plan and not a problem. And, most of all, you’ll want to show respect to everyone involved.

Categories: Child Custody Advice, Child Custody Court, Child Support Software

How to Handle a Co-Parent Who is Sabotaging Your Parenting Plan

Your parenting plan is not negotiable after your family court has approved it. However, it’s fairly common for one parent to feel like they got a raw deal.

Maybe they got less visitation time than they think they deserve. Or, maybe they aren’t happy with the child support arrangements.

Whatever the case, when a parent feels slighted or still holds angst toward their ex-spouse, they sometimes try to sabotage the parenting plan and custody calendar they don’t like.

4 Legal Professional’s Tips on Dealing with a Non-Cooperative Co-Parent

When an ex-spouse outright breaks the court’s mandate, it’s very easy to show. But, many unhappy co-parents will instead try to get sneaky and act in a much more passive aggressive method.

These attorneys explain that you still have options even when the offenses are less obvious.

Preemptive Strike

Sometimes, waiting until after a bad situation arises to address it is too late. That can certainly be the case when it comes to an uncooperative co-parent.

The very first way to protect yourself and the wellbeing of your child from a co-parent that might potentially want to start tossing monkey wrenches into your post-divorce relationship is to plan ahead before it becomes a problem.

Gina Ravaschiere of Villani & DeLuca says, “Systematic interference with one parent’s access to the children is a common problem in divorce cases. One parent consistently thwarting the other parent’s time, no matter how minor, must be addressed early on before it becomes the new norm. There are two simple ways to preemptively address this potential problem before it becomes chronic. First, have the client document the interference in writing as it happens with a reminder that counsel will become involved if the behavior persists. Second, provide language in the divorce settlement agreement that requires the parties to engage in either co-parenting therapy or mediation at the request of only one party if issues relating to the children arise on a post-judgment basis. By calling the interfering parent out on their behavior early and often and also having a mechanism in place to address the issue if it arises you can help your client avoid a costly return to Court while still providing your client with an objective professional to help rectify the situation.”

You can potentially save a lot of time, legal fess, and heartache by looking forward while drafting your parenting plan.

Think Defensively

Martinson & Beason, P.C associate attorney Caleb Ballew says when your co-parent starts deviating from the parenting plan, it might be time to circle your wagons.

Specifically he says, “When a parent must coordinate and co-parent with an ex-spouse or separated parent who has difficulty honoring terms of the custody or visitation plan, that parent can feel like they are being punished simply for wanting to enforce the provisions of the parenting schedule. Few things are more frustrating than having to fight with an ex just to see your kids.”

He goes on in detail recommending that you communicate the situation with your ex, in email if possible, so you have hard evidence if you need to go to court. You can also seek counseling to try and rectify the problem before seeking court intervention. Additionally, record everything in extreme detail as you may be able to prove minor violations, which alone most likely won’t sway a family court to make changes in your parenting plan and custody agreement, but together may show a pattern of malfeasance.

Get Ready for Battle

LeTonya F. Moore of the Law Office of LeTonya F. Moore specializes in fathers’ rights. She suggests the offending parent may be doing more than just trying to be a thorn in your side. She says they might be planning to shift from acting passive-aggressively to outright aggressively.

She explains, “When the violating parent creates a pattern of conduct (Habitual Violation of the Agreement) I advise clients to “get ready for battle”. This is oftentimes an indication that the violating parent is building a case to make a change of the custodial arrangement. Once we monitor the situation for a period of time (60-90 days), we generally start with letters of non-compliance and gradually move toward filing with the court.”

Sugar Not Vinegar

If you feel you must start following Mr. Bellew and Ms. Moore’s advice and begin creating a trail of evidence for future use, whether in mediation or in front of a judge, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it.

Thomas J. Simeone, managing partner of Simeone & Miller, recommends keeping any direct correspondence with your ex-spouse friendly and leave the strong words for your attorney.

“You can and should try to resolve the situation by communicating your concerns.  This should be done in a professional and respectful manner, even if you are angry and upset.  The reason is that in family law cases a judge is always trying to determine who the more responsible and mature parent is.  Therefore, if you are not able to resolve the matter and resort to involving the court, you want your communications, which will clearly be brought to the court’s attention, to show that you are the mature, responsible parent.  Also, because you are a party to the case, it is always better for your communications to be positive and for you to allow your attorney to handle any negative communications such as threats of going to court.  A lawyer can do that dispassionately and such requests are expected from attorneys.”

In summary

Just because you think your co-parent is going to act responsibly post-divorce doesn’t mean they always will. Luckily, you have options for assisting with any monkey business concerning their accordance to your parenting plan.

The safest way to protect yourself and your child starts before there’s trouble. Make sure your parenting plan addresses potential problems. Then if there is a problem, keep records of anything even slightly related to the indiscretions.

If third party involvement is warranted, always have your attorney deliver any strong words or legal threats. And, start with mediation before you try to go nuclear and head back to court.

Sabotage can be devastating if not handled appropriately, but you’ll more than likely be headed in the right direction by heeding the above legal opinions.

Categories: Child Custody Advice, Child Custody Dispute, Uncategorized

7 Often Overlooked Provisions to Include in Your Parenting Plan

When divorcing with children, the importance of having a well thought out parenting plan cannot be overlooked. While any decent attorney will make sure you cover all of the basic foundations, there are some additional provisions you might want to consider.

While some of these may never become a problem, having a provision is place to protect against them in case one of them does become a problem will make the situation easier to manage.

Family Law Attorneys Suggest Adding These Provisions

As a parent going through a divorce you may only ever go through the process of drafting a parenting plan once. But, an attorney experiences the process multiple times.

Here’s what 7 family law professionals recommend:

No Parental Badmouthing Allowed

Claiming that not all marriages end in friendly terms is an understatement. However, whatever differences you have with your ex-spouse are between you and them. Your children have the right to have their own relationship with them.

Philip G. Vera of Michigan Law Services recommends a provision that includes something similar to, “…that the minor children of the parties have an inherent right to the affection and love of both parents and to a relationship with each parent.  The parties agree and it is ordered that neither will take any action, either directly or indirectly, that might estrange the minor children from the other parent or tend to discredit, cause disrespect to, or diminish the quality of the relationship with the other parent.”

The main idea of this provision is to provide legal recourse for the parent that is under attack through their child by their ex-spouse’s badmouthing and possible brainwashing. He adds that this kind of indirect attack is most seen when one parent begins a new relationship.

Haircuts Matter

One of the toughest parts of entering a shared custodial arrangement is that you are only with your children sometimes instead of all the time. You will miss certain parts of their lives. That doesn’t mean though that your ex-spouse gets carte blanche on all aspects of raising them.

Attorney Tara Scott of The Law and Mediation Offices of Tara Scott recommends considering a clause that limits any one parent’s ability to make any major changes to your child’s appearance. It would read something similar to, “Neither parent shall substantially alter the child’s appearance without the written consent of the other”.

The main idea here is to make sure one parent doesn’t do anything extreme, such as get a child’s ears pierced.

No Stealing Time

It’s no surprise that even after a divorce negative feelings can linger. Sometimes one parent tries to harm the other in any way possible due to those leftover pain, anger, or feelings of betrayal.

A very common tactic is for one parent to try and schedule events and activities during times when their child is planned to spend with the other parent. Ariel Sosna and Sarah Van Voorhis of Van Voorhis Sosna recommend adding a clause similar to, “Neither parent may enroll a child in any extracurricular activity that may occur on the other parent’s custodial time without the written consent of the other parent.”

This helps prevent one parent from stealing custody time away from the other through deceitful means.

Itemize Certain Expenses

Aside from focusing only on time splits and how you agree to raise your children, you can also include provisions about how child support will be handled within your parenting plan.

Scott Kimberly of the Law Office of W. Scott Kimberly explains, “One thing I always encourage in a parenting plan is to separate health insurance premiums and childcare costs from the child support payment. In Tennessee, health insurance premiums and childcare costs are factored into the total child support award. However, if a parent receiving child support stops paying for health insurance or childcare costs, the parent paying child support is not relieved of paying an amount to reimburse for those costs until he returns to court and gets a court order! If the health insurance premiums and childcare costs are addressed in a separate part of the plan, then the parent paying child support may be able to avoid a trip to court of those numbers change.”

You will of course want to make sure that your attorney feels this is okay within your locale.

How Will You Handle the iPad

As more children spend more unsupervised time than ever in front of screens thanks to smartphones and tablets, deciding on the details up front can be important.

Doreen Yaffa of Yaffa & Associates suggests including a provision that dictates the children’s use of electronics such as a smartphone including but not limited to at what age usage is allowed, who maintains and pays for the devices and monthly fees, and allowable times of usage.

It’s not the most common of provisions to include, but doing so up front can minimize disagreements in the future.

Avoid the Court When You Can

When two sides square off you create a situation where there is often a winner and a loser. This kind of approach can leave a figuratively stale taste in one parent’s mouth. That is not always the best way to start a co-parenting relationship.

It can also cause problems further down the road, which is why Gabriel Cheong of the Infinity Law Group believes that more parents should consider including a provision stating that they will first use a 3rd party mediator or parenting coordinator when disagreements come to light in the future.

He says, “I find that parents who are willing to use parenting coordinators tend to stay out of the courts more and use separate attorneys less. So it’s a win-win for the family.”

Weekends Are Important

As cut and dry as a finalized custody calendar can appear, the fact is that there are times when you’ll need to rearrange some days due to unexpected life events. When these events occur, having a provision in place can make managing it as well as mitigating arguments that much easier.

Joshua E. Stern of the Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern recommends including a provision about weekends in your parenting plan.

“It’s important that every parenting plan include a provision barring either parent from having three consecutive weekends with the kids. It’s very common for parents to alternate weekend parenting time. If one parent vacations with the kids during the other’s parenting time, the vacationing parent may find him or herself with three consecutive weekends of parenting time. This is typically too long for the non-vacationing parent to go without seeing his or her kids. A good parenting plan should state that neither parent will go three consecutive weekends without seeing the kids and that, if such a situation arises, that third weekend will be re-assigned to the parent who had not seen the children.”

In Summary

Whenever you are drafting an important legal document, it’s important to get the advice of a qualified attorney. They will be able to gather the appropriate and important information about your specific situation and use their education and experience to lead you in the right direction.

Using these provision ideas, you can also work on your own parenting plan to provide your attorney a template to work with or a draft to review.

Whatever path you take, looking forward is never a bad idea.

Categories: Parenting Plans, Shared Parenting

5 Important Questions to Ask Your Family Law Attorney About Custody & Divorce

The idea of ending your marriage can be overwhelming. But, when you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have children together, it makes the whole procedure that much more daunting and important.

While much of what the future will hold for your family rests on its past, making sure to hire the correct attorney is equally essential.

Real Advice from Practicing Attorneys

When meeting with attorneys for your initial consultation, here are a few questions you should consider asking so you learn more about their experience and what to expect moving forward.

What is Your Approach?

Not all attorneys focus on family law. Additionally, not all attorneys take the same approach to divorce, especially when children are involved.

Lisa. L. Stewart of the Vaught Law Firm, P.C. suggests getting right to the teeth of the matter and to start off straight away with a simple, “What is your approach to child custody cases?”

She elaborates, “Nothing is more important than your children. As board specialized family law attorneys, we have the experience to know how to advocate for a child’s needs and how to prepare complex child custody orders. We approach child custody cases with compassion and zealous advocacy.”

What are My Options?

Another question to ask the attorneys you meet with that is related to the first one is what your options are. You should now know how the attorney or firm prefer to manage custody cases, but you should also find out if they’re giving you the whole picture.

For example, Anita Savage of Goranson Bain, PLLC suggests asking, “How can you help me keep my family out of a courtroom?”

While this might be something you will want to ask every attorney you meet with, you may want to dig a little more into this specifically with any attorney that seems overly zealous to get you into litigation.

Am I Being Reasonable?

Divorce is a time of extreme emotional strain. When children are involved it’s that much more amplified.

When emotions run high it sometimes clouds judgment. What you may feel is extremely reasonable in regards to your assumptions of how much parenting time you will have compared to your ex-spouse, attorneys may not agree.

Kelsey Mulholland of the Ruvolo Law Group, LLC weighs in with, “I think the most important questions for a parent to ask a divorce attorney at the very beginning of a litigation is whether the attorney thinks that parent’s idea for a custody/parenting time arrangement is fair or not. Most parties come to an attorney with an idea as to what the custody/parenting time arrangement should be. If the party can provide his/her attorney with that idea and explain why they think it is fair, the attorney can then provide feedback and let the party know the likelihood of that custody or parenting time schedule being put into place by a Court or by agreement.”

Getting on the same page with the attorney you hire right from the start will only make the entire process that much smoother.

What Exactly am I Getting Myself Into?

After you have a basic grasp of how an attorney operates and whether or not you’re starting off eye-to-eye as far as your expectations, getting a feel for the whole process from start to finish is a great idea.

Karen Grayson-Rodgers of The Salvo Law Firm, P.C. says, “It is important to ask about the procedure when custody is in dispute. Custody cases are heard on an expedited track and are the most important part of the divorce. Many think they will jump to trial but before a Court will allow a trial, the parties must first attend mandatory mediation, if unsuccessful, custody evaluations with a psychologist will follow. The next important question would then be, who to hire for the evaluations, should I retain my own expert or use a court appointed joint expert?”

By asking these questions, you also get to learn more about how your attorney plans to approach your case.

Can I Afford This?

Attorney fees are not miniscule. Even well-prepared parents that handle as much of the preparation as possible on their own, like using child custody software to develop a parenting plan instead of relying solely on an attorney to do so, can spend a small fortune on fees. Depending on the complexity of your case, as well as whether or not you are able to come to an agreement outside of the courtroom, the financial burden of your divorce can escalate quickly.

However, it’s important to remember that life post-divorce requires upkeep as well. Todd Spodek, the managing partner of the Spodek Law Group P.C. recommends keeping that in mind and asking, “What are the short-term and long-term financial effects of this proposed custody split?”

Knowing what you’re looking at financially ahead of time can help you make any necessary adjustments so your post-divorce life gets a smooth start for both you and your children.

In Summary

Divorce is a very emotional time for most people. When children are added to the equation, it only escalates that. However, no matter how elevated your emotions are, keeping a cool head will pay off in the long run.

By taking an educated approach to what you are getting into, and asking the right questions, you’ll be sure to find the correct attorney for your case. You’ll also minimize stress and make a trying situation much more tolerable.

Categories: Child Custody Advice, Child Custody Questions

Top 10 Family Law Attorneys near the Seattle, WA Area

Seattle is one of the most amazing cities in America. It’s the home to the Space Needle, the Super Bowl champion Seahawks, and a beautiful waterfront.

Unfortunately, no matter how wonderful a city is, there’s always going to be social problems. Divorces will happen and families will split up. But, as Seattle’s beauty helps bring in talent for many industries, family law is no different.

Here are our choices for the top family law attorneys in the Seattle, WA area:

Heritage Filer

Heritage Filer is a partner in Cassady Filer, LLP and is a graduate of the Seattle University School of Law. She has been licensed to practice for over ten years.

Ms. Filer’s clients feel she is very clear and transparent and that she doesn’t waste their time or money. They also praise her attention to detail.

Cassady Filer, LLP
811 First Avenue Ste 100
Seattle, WA 98104
206-623-5133

Kathleen Royer

Kathleen Royer runs Northwest Family Mediation and has been licensed to practice law for over 24 years. She focuses on mediation instead of litigation.

Ms. Royer is a very respected mediator in the Seattle area. Her peers respect her experience and calming demeanor.

Northwest Family Mediation
1001 Fourth Ave.
Suite 3200
Seattle, WA 98154
206-684-9460

Mark Weiss

Mark Weiss is the owner of the Law Office of J. Mark Weiss, P.S. He is also the director of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

Mr. Weiss is a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School. He has nearly three decades of experience and is respected by both his clients and his peers.

Law Office of J. Mark Weiss, P.S.
100 West Harrison Street
South Tower, Suite 470
Seattle WA, 98119
206-622-6707

Adrienne Keith Wills

Adrienne Keith Wills received her JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She currently operates Keith Law & Mediation.

Ms. Keith Wills has received numerous amounts of praise from her peers. They believe her to be truly focused on her clients’ best interests.

Keith Law & Mediation
1421 34th Avenue #207
Seattle, WA 98122
206-523-3047

Matthew Webbeking

Matthew Webbeking in the principal attorney for Lawgena Lawyers. He is a graduate of the Seattle University School of Law and has been practicing for over 19 years.

Mr. Webbeking has not only received a plethora of praise from his clients for his work, but also for the professionalism and work ethic of the entire firm.

Lawgena Lawyers
1200 Westlake Ave N #1006
Seattle, WA 98109
877-529-4362

Jonathan Hansen

Craig Jonathan Hansen is the owner of Hansen Law Group. He received his JD from the University of Puget Sound School of Law and has been licensed to practice over for 22 years.

Mr. Hansen also served as an officer in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve.

Mr. Hansen’s clients praise his professionalism and experience while his peers respect his client first demeanor.

Hansen Law Group PS
12000 NE 8th St.
Ste 202
Bellevue, WA 98005
425-709-6762

Todd R. DeVallance

Todd R. DeVallance is the current managing attorney at Tsai Law Company, PLLC . He has both a JD from the Gonzaga University School of Law and an LL.M. from the University of Washington School of Law.

Mr. DeVallance is known to be honest and hardworking. However, his clients appreciate his compassion and caring personality the most.

Tsai Law Company, PLLC
2101 Fourth Avenue
Suite 2200
Seattle, WA 98121
206-728-8000

Carol Bailey

Carol Bailey is the founder of Integrative Family Law. She is a graduate of Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law.

Ms. Bailey was previously an adjunct professor at the Seattle University Law School. She also has over 37 years of legal experience.

Integrative Family Law
901 5th Ave, Suite 2800
Seattle, WA 98164
206-859-6800

Araceli Amaya

Araceli Amaya is a senior attorney at McKinley Irvin Family Law. She graduated from American University’s Washington College is Law.

In 2015 Ms. Amaya won Avvo’s Client’s Choice award and recently she earned Super Lawyers’ Rising Star award (2016).

McKinley Irvin Family Law
1201 Pacific Ave, Suite 2000
Tacoma, WA 98402
253-256-1265

Shana E. Thompson

Shana E. Thompson is the owner of Shana E. Thompson Law. She received a JD from the Seattle University School of Law.

With over 16 years of experience, Ms. Thompson is very well respected by her family law peers. Additionally, her clients praise her intelligence and tenacity.

Shana E. Thompson Law
6814 Greenwood Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103
206-781-2570 ext: 17

Some families go through life without the need of a family law attorney. But, many families find themselves in need at one time or another.

If you are one of those that find yourself looking for a divorce or family law attorney due to the need to create a new parenting plan or review a visitation schedule in the Seattle area, the ten listed above have more than enough experience.

As of January 2017, the Seattle, WA area Family Law attorneys on this list have been recognized by third-party organizations and their clients for their excellence in the area of divorce and family law.

Categories: Child Custody Court, Child Custody Mediation

Top 10 Family Law Attorneys near the Houston, TX Area

Houston is a booming Texas metropolis. From the Houston Museum of Natural Science to the Houston Zoo, there are plenty of activities for both singles and families. But, no matter how many family friendly activities a city has, some families eventually break apart.

While it’s never pleasant to see a married couple call it quits, especially if they have children, it is a good thing when there are qualified and compassionate family law professionals around to assist.

Here are our choices for the Houston, TX area:

Deborah Bryant

Deborah Bryant is the owner and founder of The Bryant Law Firm. She is a graduate of Texas Southern University

Ms. Bryant’s clients feel she is caring and trustworthy.

Aside from family law, Ms. Bryant also practices personal injury and criminal defense. She speaks both English and Spanish.

The Bryant Law Firm
8866 Gulf Freeway
Suite 410
Houston, TX 77017
713-944-5200

Michael Hiller

Michael Hiller is the founder of Hiller & Associates, P.C. and has been a licensed attorney for over 27 years. He received his JD from the University of Houston.

Mr. Hiller in known for doing what’s in the best interest of his clients, whether it’s assisting with reconciliation or moving ahead to divorce proceedings. His clients believe him to be caring and truly compassionate.

Hiller & Associates, P.C.
1770 St James PL, Ste 150
Houston, TX 77056
713-784-9500

Yahaira Quezada

Yahaira Quezada is a legal professional of seven years. She is a graduate of Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

Ms. Quezada is bilingual and works with both English and Spanish speaking clientele.

Quezada Law Group
2616 South Loop West
Suite 420
Houston, TX 77054
832-265-5512

Fran Brochstein

Fran Brochstein received her JD from the South Texas College of Law. She is currently the owner of the Law & Mediation Office of Fran Brockstein.

Ms. Brochstein takes the approach of being a mediator instead of a family law or divorce attorney. Her legal peers feel she is a very honest and fair mediator.

Fran Brochstein Family Law Attorney & Mediator
8978 Kirby Drive
Houston, TX 77054
713-847-6000

Allecia Lindsey Pottinger

Allecia Lindsey Pottinger has been practicing law for over 21 years. She is a graduate of Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law and is the owner of the ALP Law Firm.

Ms. Lindsey Pottinger was formerly an Adjunct Professor at San Jacinto College. She has also received the Award for Legal Excellence from the Houston branch of the NAACP.

ALP Law Firm
2646 South Loop West
Suite 130B
Houston, TX 77054
832-930-0997

Shari Goldsberry

Shari Goldsberry is the Senior Managing Partner of Goldsberry & Associates, PLLC. She has been practicing family law for over eleven years and received her law degree from the South Texas College of Law.

Ms. Goldsberry is respected by clients and peers alike. They find her to have tremendous mix of sincere compassion and legal knowledge and ability.

Goldsberry & Associates, PLLC
The Simpson Building
619 8th Ave North
Texas City, TX 77590
281-533-3030

Cynthia Thomson Diggs

Cynthia Diggs is family law professional with over 25 years of legal experience. She is a graduate of University of Texas School of Law and is currently the Attorney-in-Charge of Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler in Houston.

Ms. Diggs is said to take great effort in listening and completely understanding her clients’ situations before moving ahead with what’s best for them.

Holmes, Diggs, Eames & Sadler
5300 Memorial Dr #900
Houston, TX 77007
713-802-1777

Matthew Skillern

Matthew Skillern is the founder and managing partner of the Skillern Firm. He received his JD from the South Texas College of Law and has over a decade of family law experience.

Mr. Skillern has received praise for being very detail oriented and for not letting anything important slip between the cracks. His clients are consistently impressed with his attentiveness and tenacity.

Skillern Firm
701 N Post Oak Rd #207
Houston, TX 77024
713-229-8855

Lauren Waddell

Lauren Waddell is a partner at Fullenweider Wilhite. She has been specializing in family law for over 14 years and is a graduate of the South Texas College of Law.

Ms. Waddell is highly praised by her peers who feel she is extremely committed to her clients and that her legal knowledge is unmatched. Her clients commend her ability to clearly explain their current situations and what to expect moving forward.

Fullenweider Wilhite
4265 San Felipe Street, Suite 1400
Houston, TX 77027
713-624-4100

Mary E. Ramos

Mary E. Ramos is the founder of the Ramos Law Group, PLLC. She received her JD from the Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law and has been involved in family law for over 12 years.

Ms. Ramos is very respected by her peers. She has received numerous awards, such as the Pro Bono College Award from the State Bar of Texas in both 2015 and 2016 as well as being named one of Houstonia Magazine’s Top Lawyers in 2015.

Ramos Law Group, PLLC
1214 Miramar St
Houston, TX 77006
713-597-7295

This Top 10 list of Houston family law attorneys offers an amazing amount of combined knowledge and experience. If you are in need of family law assistance, whether for reviewing a new parenting plan or working out a visitation schedule, make sure to consider consulting one of them.

As of January 2017, the Houston, TX area Family Law attorneys on this list have been recognized by third-party organizations and their clients for their excellence in the area of divorce and family la

Categories: Child Custody Court, Child Custody Mediation

Top 10 Family Law Attorneys near the Denver, CO Area

Denver is not just the capital of Colorado. It’s the home of some world-class attractions like Coors Field, where you can see the Denver Broncos play. It’s also surrounded by plenty of natural scenery like Mount Evans.

Many people love living in Denver due to the healthy mix of both urban and rural activities. However, no matter how great the living environment, if you’re not with the right person, disagreements happen.

When a Denver couple decides it’s time to break up, or they need help in another area of family law, they are lucky to have a great group of family law attorneys in the area to assist.

Here are our choices for the Denver, CO area:

Christopher Kendrick

Christopher Kendrick is a founding partner of Kendrick & Madrid LLP. He is a graduate of the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and has been practicing law for over five years.

Both his clients and his peers feel that Mr. Kendrick is a top-notch knowledgeable and aggressive attorney willing to fight for what’s in his clients’ best interest.

Aside from family law, he also practices in the area of DUI and DWI.

Kendrick & Madrid LLP
2222 South Abion Street
Suite 360
Denver, CO 80222
720-644-6413

William Smith

William Smith received his JD and MBA from the Stetson University College of Law. He has been published in Law Week Colorado and has been practicing law for eight years.

Mr. Smith has won the support of his clients through what they feel is his very diligent approach to every aspect of each case. He is known for always being well prepared and makes sure his clients know exactly what is happening in their cases.

Divorce Matters
5700 South Quebec Street
Suite 200-A
Greenwood Village, CO 80111
720-542-6142

Margot F. Alicks

Margot F. Alicks is the co-founder of Broxterman Alicks McFarlane PC. She is one of SuperLawyer’s Rising Stars and has been practicing for over eight years.

Ms. Alicks’s clients have kind words not only for her and her ability, but for the firm she manages as a whole too. She has been described as hardworking, intelligent, and trustworthy.

Broxterman Alicks McFarlane PC
1625 17th Street, 3rd Floor
Denver, CO 80202
303-331-6432

Stephan E. Uslan

Stephan E. Uslan is a graduate of the University of Colorado School of Law. He has been working in family law for over 38 years.

It’s clear that Mr. Uslan is extremely experienced. Besides his more than three decades of legal experience, Mr. Uslan has been recognized as one of Martindale-Hubbell’s 2016 distinguished attorneys.

The Law Office of Stephan E. Uslan
1663 Humbolt St.
Denver, CO 80218
303-830-6600

Heather Allen

Heather Allen received her JD from the University of Denver College of Law. She is now the owner of the Allen Family Law firm.

Ms. Allen is also a level two trained collaborative practitioner meaning she is comfortable both in traditional litigation and in the more recent model of collaborative law.

Allen Family Law
3200 East Cherry Creek
South Drive
Suite 720
Denver, CO 80209
303-398-7048

Ellen Trachman

When most people think of family law they think of divorce. But, not all family law attorneys specialize in divorce and separation. Ms. Trachman instead focuses her skills on assisting with the creation of families through adoption or assisted reproductive technology. When asked about her practice she replied, “We believe in the power of family in all forms and work hard to protect families and the generous individuals willing to help others realize their dreams.”

As an Emory University School of Law graduate, Ms. Trachman has been helping clients plan and build families for over eleven years.

Trachman Law Center
1515 Wynkoop Street
Suite 360
Denver, CO 80202
303-243-5014

Brenda L. Storey

Brenda L. Storey earned her JD from Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center. She has been practicing family law for over 22 years.

Ms. Storey’s clients praise her professionalism and honesty. Her peers respect the way she fights for everything her clients deserve.

The Law Offices of Brenda L. Storey, P.C.
4582 South Ulster Street Parkway
Suite 1602
Denver, CO 80237
720-583-2325

Richard J. Rotole

Richard J. Rotole is the managing partner of Rotole, Rotole, Blanchard, LLC. He earned his law degree from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law and has been licensed to practice for over 30 years.

Mr. Rotole has acquired countless compliments from clients and peers during his three-decade career. He is known to be extremely professional and an excellent mediator.

Rotole, Rotole, Blanchard, LLC
400 S. Colorado Boulevard
Suite 590
Denver, CO 80246
303-399-1600

Philip A. Geigle

Philip A. Geigle is the former Senior Deputy District Attorney for the Denver District Attorney’s office and is now the owner of The Geigle Law Firm. He is a graduate of the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law.

Mr. Geigle’s peers respect his courtroom presence and his clients appreciate his tenacity. Aside from family law he also practices criminal defense.

The Geigle Law Firm
4100 E. Mississippi Ave.
16th Floor
Denver, CO 80246
303-731-2585

John Haas

John Haas is currently special counsel for Litvak Litvak Mehrtens & Carlton, P.C. He is a graduate of the University of Denver’s College of Law.

Mr. Haas has the reputation of always being well prepared, no matter the circumstances. He also has been praised for his professionalism and integrity.

Litvak Litvak Mehrtens & Carlton, P.C.
1900 Grant Street
Suite 500
Denver, CO 80203
303-837-0757

Residents of the Denver, CO area have plenty of skilled family law attorneys to choose from whether they are looking at a contested divorce, mediation, and even adoption and assisted reproduction. If you need help with family law matters like detailed parenting plans or customized custody schedules be sure to take a look at the above mentioned list.

As of January 2017, the Denver, CO area family law attorneys on this list have been recognized by third-party organizations and their clients for their excellence in the area of divorce and family law.

Categories: Child Custody Court, Child Custody Mediation

5 Tips for Parents for When Divorce is Inevitable

The thought of throwing in the towel and ending a troubled marriage can deliver mixed feelings. On one hand it can be relieving to know that you can stop the debate of whether or not your marriage is salvageable. On the other hand it is also the beginning of a period of extreme stress.

When you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have children together, it only further adds to the potential for high levels of stress. But, there are a few steps you can take to minimize tensions for everyone involved.

What do the Family Law Experts Recommend?

Here are some helpful words from 5 well-respected practicing family law attorneys on what you should do when you have children and you know divorce is inevitable.

Teamwork Until the End

Jessica Markham of the Markham Law Firm in Bethesda, MD suggests, “…to try to always remember that you’re on the same team. This means to promote consistency and solidarity and put up a united front to your children, even when it’s tough for you. Do everything you can to avoid being adversarial.”

Divorce is Complex

Matthew L. Kreitzer, a family law attorney in Winchester, VA wants parents to understand why they should hire an attorney, explaining that divorce is a complicated process.

“Divorce is not DIY. You are often dealing with complex issues of finances that even many divorce attorneys may have problems dealing with. Divorce touches on other issues such as debt collection, estate planning, and real estate.”

He also adds that, “If you are going through a contested divorce, keep records of everything. Text messages, e-mails, letters. These will be vital to your lawyer.”

Don’t Rock the Boat

Children don’t often understand why their parents are splitting up. The sudden and extreme changes can be a lot to handle.

Jeffrey J. Kash of Kash Fedrigon Belanger in Stroudsburg, PA hopes that parents can do their best to, “…make parenting decisions apart like you would if you remained together. For example, if Junior always stays with his grandparents for 4th of July, then that should remain in place. Disrupt the children’s routines as little as possible.”

Do Your Prep Work

While the best case scenario for all involved would be a very easy and amicable split, that’s not always the case.

Thomas J. Simeone of Simeone & Miller, LLP in Washington DC recommends, “A parent beginning the divorce process should use the access they have to their spouses assets while they are married to get a complete list of their spouses assets and sources of income. During the divorce, the parties and court will divide assets and set child and spousal support based on each spouse’s income and assets. However, once a case starts and the parties become adverse, it can be difficult and expensive (in terms of legal fees) to track down all of your spouse’s investments, accounts and sources of income. So, before things get adverse and while you have access to the family’s finances, learn all you can about your spouse’s financial resources. This will make it easier, less expensive and more likely that you and your children will get fair and appropriate support.”

Be Realistic About Your Time

Loving Law Ltd. founder Shaolaine Loving wants parents to remember raising children takes a lot of time and effort.

“Be realistic about what is actually best for your children and what kind of custody/visitation schedule you are able to maintain. If you’re looking to strip or reduce the other parent’s time, then you better have a good justification to show that the other parent is either unfit to have more time or that it’s not in your children’s best interests. Being uncooperative or obviously vindictive can backfire on a parent.”

In Summary

When parents have decided that it’s time to move forward with a divorce, they can take a look at these excellent tips from some of the top family law attorneys in the country.

One of the common themes from above is that parents should do everything they can to work together. From agreeing on a parenting plan to doing their best to keep their children’s schedules as normal as possible, the more they work together the less stress there will be for everyone involved, including the kids.

However, it’s also a good idea to prepare for the possibility that at some point there will be at the very least a minor disagreement and potentially a total breakdown of good faith negotiations. Because of that, you should consider keeping records of voice and text-based conversations as well as financial information.

It very much is the perfect example of when you should hope for the best but plan for the worst.

Categories: Child Custody Advice

Top 10 Family Law Attorneys near the Portland, OR Area

Portland is not only the largest city in Oregon, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the country. With an amazing mix of natural scenery and modern amenities, life in Portland can be appealing for both families and singles.

However, no matter how great of a city it is, some of those families are going to have disagreements and even break-ups. When these unfortunate events occur, at least there are highly qualified family law attorneys nearby to help.

Here are our choices for the Portland, OR area:

Nathan Holtey

Nathan Holtey is the owner of Holtey Law. He received his JD in law from the University of Oregon and has been practicing family law for over 15 years.

Mr. Holtey’s clients feel he is extremely professional and results-oriented instead of being motivated by profit. They also praise his entire team for their hard work and support.

Holtey Law
1140 SW 11th Ave #4
Portland, OR 97205
503-224-9878

Adam Brittle & Jill Brittle

At Custody X Change we rarely cover a pair of attorneys in our family law attorney reviews, but in this instance we had no choice. Both Adam and Jill Brittle have received plenty of praise from both clients and peers.

Mr. Brittle is an owner and the managing partner of Brittle & Brittle P.C. He is a graduate of the Lewis & Clark Northwestern Law School.

Ms. Brittle is also an owner of Brittle & Brittle. She too is a graduate of the Lewis & Clark Northwestern Law School.

The Brittles have been praised for their knowledge, professionalism, and compassion.

Brittle & Brittle P.C.
1130 SW Morrison St
Suite 312
Portland, OR 97205
503-445-1575

C. Sean Stephens

C. Sean Stephens is a partner at Stephens & Margolin. He has been licensed for over 22 years and is a graduate of the Willamette College of Law.

Mr. Stephens’s peers feel he is very knowledgeable about family law. His clients appreciate his transparency and demeanor.

Stephens & Margolin LLP
1000 SW Broadway
Suite 1250
Portland, OR 97205
503-360-9318

Lisa E. Martin

Lisa E. Martin has been practicing law for over 17 years. She graduated from the Gonzaga University School of Law in 1999.

Ms. Martin is known as an attorney that is actively involved in her clients’ cases giving each client the attention they need. She has also been acknowledged for caring more about the outcome than the billable hours she can charge.

The Martin Law Firm
One SW Columbia Street
Suite 1685
Portland, OR 97258
503-220-1620

Tom Brasier

Tom Brasier is the founder of Brasier Law. He has been licensed for over eight years and received his JD from the University of California’s Hastings College of Law.

Mr. Brasier’s peers praise his no-nonsense approach to family law. His clients also feel he is hard working and compassionate.

Brasier Law, LLC
1001 SW 5th Avenue
Suite 1100
Portland, OR 97204
503-855-4777

Tara R. Lawrence

Tara R. Lawrence has over 17 years of legal experience. She is a graduate of the Willamette University College of Law.

While not predominantly a family law attorney as her practice at the Lawrence Law Office focuses on other areas such as sex crime and personal injury, Ms. Lawrence is a well-respected family law attorney as well.

She has been praised for her tenacity and ability to give each case her all.

Lawrence Law Office
6960 Varns Street
Portland, OR 97223
503-387-5571

Josephine C. Townsend

Josephine C. Townsend is both a practicing attorney and a professor at Warner Pacific College. She has over 15 years of legal experience where she has earned the respect of her clients and peers alike.

Though Ms. Townsend is located in Washington State, she practices in both the Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR areas.

Josephine C. Townsend Attorney at Law
211 E. 11th Street
Suite 104
Vancouver, WA 98660
360-694-7601

Patty Arjun

Patty Arjun is the owner of the Law Office of Patricia Arjun PC. She is a graduate of the Lewis & Clark School of Law.

Ms. Arjun has been practicing for over 12 years. She has received several awards recently such as the Super Lawyer award granted by SuperLawyers in both 2015 and 2016.

Over the years, Ms. Arjun has earned the respect of many of her peers, including praise from another attorney on our list, Ms. Brittle.

Arjun Law
521 SW Clay Street
Suite 204
Portland, OR 97201
503-488-5696

Ralph E. Gzik

Ralph E. Gzik is a practicing attorney at McKean Smith. He received his JD from the University of New Hampshire School of Law in 2012

Aside from the praise of his clients, Mr. Gzik has received awards for his work including being named one of the Top 10 Oregon Family Law Attorneys of 2015 by the American Institute of Family Lawyers.

McKean Smith, LLC
1140 SW 11th Ave
Suite 400
Portland, OR 97205
503-567-7967

Herb Weisser

Herb Weisser is a very experienced family law attorney with over 31 years of professional experience. He is the owner of Weisser Family Law.

Mr. Weisser’s clients feel he is very qualified and does an excellent job at breaking down legalese into common English.

In full disclosure, Mr. Weisser was once reprimanded in 2002 for not properly disclosing a conflict of interest in writing opting to do so verbally only.

Weisser Family Law
4614 SW Kelly Avenue
#202
Portland, OR 97239
503-464-1072

The above family law attorneys offer a mix of experience and personality. No matter how simple or complex your family law needs are, you are sure to find a qualified attorney that suits your needs from the above list.

As of December, 2016, the Portland, OR area family law attorneys on this list have been recognized by third-party organizations and their clients for their excellence in the area of divorce and family law.

Categories: Child Custody Court, Child Custody Mediation

Top 10 Family Law Attorneys near the Philadelphia, PA Area

Anyone who lives in or near Philadelphia knows that it is both a historical city as well as a city that loves its sports teams. The City of Brotherly Love is not without its faults though.

Like all major cities in the country, there are many happy families and many unhappy families. Some are able to work through their troubles while others decide the best way to solve their problems is to break apart. For the latter, they should know there are some great family law attorneys to assist with making it as smooth as possible.

Here are our choices for the Philadelphia, PA area:

Joni J. Berner

Joni J. Berner is a very experienced family law attorney with over 38 years of experience. She is currently the managing partner at Berner Klaw & Watson LLP.

Ms. Berner is a graduate of the Villanova University School of Law. She is also the recipient of many awards such as having her firm cited as one of the Top 25 Law Firms by Pro Bono Hours by the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Clients and attorneys alike praise Ms. Berner for her knowledge and professionalism.

Berner Klaw & Watson
1528 Walnut Street
Suite 1100
Philadelphia, PA 19102
877-790-1421

Lori A. Frio-Walker

Lori A. Frio-Walker is a family law attorney with over eight years of experience. She received her J.D. degree from the Villanova University School of Law.

When asked about why she chose to practice family law Ms. Frio-Walker responded, “Because each family is unique, I believe that my job is to determine what your particular needs are and develop a legal strategy that is right for you. I pride myself on finding creative legal solutions for complicated family law concerns.”

Her clients praise her for being extremely transparent and professional as well as caring.

Lori A. Frio-Walker, Esq.
1515 Market Street
Suite 1200
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-774-1149

Patrick J. Cooper

Patrick J. Cooper is a partner at Sadek and Cooper. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Mr. Cooper’s clients feel he is sympathetic to their situations and that he clearly explains the intricacies of their cases in an easy to understand manner. His peers feel he is an excellent example for what a family law attorney should be.

Sadek and Cooper Law Offices
1315 Walnut Street
Suite 502
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-545-0008

Melinda M. Previtera

Melinda M. Previtera is a graduate of the Rutgers School of Law and an attorney at Previtera & Schimmel. She has been published in the Legal Lookout and the Pennsylvania Bar Quarterly.

Ms. Previtera has been praised for her confidence and control of the courtroom. She has also been cited as being very supportive and understanding.

Previtera & Schimmel
100 N. 18th ST.
Suite 300
Philadelphia, PA 19103
800-580-9136

Randi L. Rubin

Randi L. Rubin is a very experienced family law attorney with over 18 years of experience. She is a graduate of the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law and an attorney at Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP.

Ms. Rubin is known by her clients for her no-nonsense approach. Her peers know her to be very knowledgeable and to always be well prepared.

Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP
1835 Market Street
Suite 1400
Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-569-2700

William C. Kirby

William C. Kirby is a Duke University School of Law graduate. He has over 11 years of various legal experience.

Mr. Kirby is said to be intelligent, professional and compassionate by both his clients and his peers.

William Kirby – Attorney at Law
1600 JFK Blvd
Four Penn Center
Philadelphia, PA 19103
267-225-6233

Kristine L. Calalang

Kristine L. Calalang is the founder of The Law Office of Kristine L. Calalang. Ms. Calalang received her J.D. degree from the Villanova University School of Law.

Ms. Calalang is praised for her down-to-earth demeanor and her knowledge of family law.

She has been published on DivorceNet.com and The Legal Intelligencer.

The Law Office of Kristine L. Calalang
1221 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-359-9656

Samantha J. Evian

Samantha J. Evian is a practicing attorney at Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP. She has 13 years of experience and is a graduate of the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law.

Ms. Evian has been cited as being extremely knowledgeable in the family law field. Her clients also believe her to be understanding and patient.

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel LLP
Centre Square West
1500 Market Street
Suite 3400
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-665-3000

Michael D. Fioretti

Michael D. Fioretti is the founder of The Law Offices of Michael D. Fioretti. He has an amazing 44 years of experience and received his J.D. from the Villanova University School of Law.

Mr. Fioretti’s clients feel he is honest and transparent. He is also respected by his peers.

Law Offices of Michael D. Fioretti
The Bourse Suite 790
111 So. Independence Mall East
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215-440-7612

Jonathan C. Noble

Jonathan C. Noble is a graduate of the Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law and the owner of the Law Office of Jonathan C. Noble, Esq. He has over 16 years of experience.

Mr. Noble is known to have a very informed and measured approach, which both his clients and peers appreciate.

Law Office of Jonathan C. Noble, Esq.
PO Box 30
Lafayette Hill, PA 19444
610-256-4843

The Philadelphia area is home to many of the top law firms in the country, and you can see many of the attorneys on this list share alma maters. They also share a lot of combined family law experience. You should feel comfortable contacting any of them regarding questions about drafting or reviewing a parenting plan or coming up with an acceptable visitation schedule.

As of December, 2016, the Philadelphia, PA area family law attorneys on this list have been recognized by third-party organizations and their clients for their excellence in the area of divorce and family law.

Categories: Child Custody Court, Child Custody Mediation

Top 10 Family Law Attorneys near the Miami, FL Area

Miami is known for its clean streets, great weather, and fantastic beaches. It’s one of the biggest most eventful cities in the world. From cruises, boat tours, and parks of all kinds, there are plenty activities for couples and families alike.

But for all the greatness that there is in Miami, there is the reality that not everything works out as planned. Couples do go their separate ways and families do break up.

The good news is that Miami’s great living conditions have drawn some great family law attorneys to the area.

Here are our choices for the Miami, FL area:

Nydia Streets

Nydia Streets is the founding and principal of Streets Law, LLC and has been a licensed attorney for over eight years. She is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law.

Ms. Streets is said to be both professional and knowledgeable. Her clients feel that she absolutely has their best interests at heart and that she possess a strong but calming presence.

Ms. Streets is licensed to practice in Florida and California.

Streets Law, LLC
1200 Brickell Avenue
Suite 1950
Miami, Florida 33131
786-671-1659

Jacqueline Valdespino

Jacqueline Valdespino is an extremely experienced family law attorney with over 28 years of professional experience. She is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Law.

Ms. Valdespino is respected by both her clients and her peers who feel she is fair and thorough. Along with Ms. Valdespino’s praise, her staff as a whole has been praised for their professionalism.

Ms. Valdespino speaks English, Spanish, and Italian.

Valdespino & Associates, P.A.
2641 Abaco Avenue
Coconut Grove, FL 33133
305-422-1200

Antonio G. Jimenez

Antonio G. Jimenez is a partner at Martinez-Scanziani & Jimenez Law. He received his Juris Doctorate from Stetson University College of Law.

Mr. Jimenez has been said to be a straight shooter that does not sugar coat clients’ situations. He is also known to be a very hard worker that does all he can to get the best possible results for his clients.

Mr. Jimenez speaks English and Spanish.

Martinez-Scanziani & Jimenez Law
3191 Coral Way
Suite 203
Miami, FL 33145
786-525-7671

Jonathan May

Jonathan May is a senior partner at The Lion’s Den. He is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad Law Center.

Mr. May has been cited as being professional yet down to earth. When asked about his firm he replied, “…we experience success by prioritizing our clients needs. It is a lot of work and sacrifice at times to get the results that they desire so we strive for that aspect of success.”

The Lion’s Den
1395 Brickell Ave
Suite 900
Miami, FL 33131
305-699-5466

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara

Ms. Vasquez de Lara is the is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group. She has been licensed for over 13 years.

Ms. Vasquez de Lara has been praised for her skill and knowledge. Her clients’ feel her positivity is extremely up lifting.

Vasquez de Lara Law Group
7700 North Kendall Drive, Suite 607
Miami, FL 33156
305-783-3691

Ana Marie Perez

Ana Marie Perez is the president of Perez Law, P.L. and has been licensed for 9 years. She is a graduate of the St. Thomas University School of Law and has received numerous awards such as being named one of the American Institute of Family Law Attorney’s 10 best female attorneys in 2016.

Ms. Perez is known for being a comfortable mix of professional and personable, and is said to be very level-headed and clear.

Ms. Perez speaks English and Spanish.

Perez Law, P.L.
7480 Bird Avenue
Suite 540
Miami, FL 33155
786-319-9015

Fritznie A. Jarbath

Fritznie Jarbath is a partner of Jarbath Pena Law Group, PA. She is a graduate of Florida International University’s College of Law.

Ms. Jarbath has the respect of many in the legal world with many of her peers praising her integrity. Her clients also share many positive feelings.

When asked about their firm and what it stands for Ms. Jarbath responded that they are, “Legal Professionals dedicated to helping you navigate through life’s difficult decisions.”

Ms. Jarbath speaks English and Creole.

Jarbath Pena Law Group
717 Pence de Leon Blvd.
Suite 208
Coral Gables, FL 33134
305-615-1005

Milagros Laguna

Milagros Laguna is the owner of the Laguna Law Offices. She graduated from the University of Florida’s Fredric G. Levin College of Law in 1997.

Ms. Laguna is known to be as caring as she is professional.

Laguna Law Offices
Sunset Office Park
9370 SW 72 Street
Suite A130
Miami, FL 33173
305-270-7477

Brian Karpf

Brian Karpf has been licensed for over nine years and is partner at Young, Berman, Karph & Gonzalez, P.A. He graduated from Florida International University in 2007.

Mr. Karpf is known to be an exceptional international custody attorney. His clients feel like he treats them with compassion and respect, and that he helps making a difficult time more bearable.

Young, Berman, Karph & Gonzalez, P.A.
1001 Brickell Bay Drive
Suite 1704
Miami, FL 33131
305-945-1851

Marck Joseph, Esq.

Marck Joseph graduated from the Florida International University’s College of Law. He is the founder of the Joseph Firm.

Mr. Joseph has been said to be very clear with clients’ cases and what they should expect when moving forward.

Mr. Joseph speaks English and Creole.

The Joseph Firm
1031 Ives Dairy Road
Suite 228
Miami, FL 33179
305-501-0992

Within this list of Miami family law attorneys you have hundreds of years of combined experience and four spoken languages. You’re sure to find an attorney that can help with all of your family law needs from parenting plans to help with figuring out Florida’s child support calculations.

As of March 2017, the Miami, FL area family law attorneys on this list have been recognized by third-party organizations and their clients for their excellence in the area of divorce and family law.

Categories: Child Custody Court, Child Custody Mediation

Top 10 Family Law Attorneys near the Las Vegas, NV Area

A popular motif in many fun films is the drive through wedding facilities near the strip in Las Vegas. What is not shown is how many divorces that occur because of various reasons such as rushing into marriages without realizing what a major commitment it is.

Divorce, contested or not, is no laughing matter. It gets more complicated when there are children involved.

The good news is that anyone going through a divorce or other family law matter in the Las Vegas area has a plethora of well-respected family law attorneys to choose from.

Here are our choices for the Las Vegas, NV area:

Molly Rosenblum

Molly Rosenblum is the founder of the Rosenblum Law Offices. A graduate of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law, she has been a licensed family law attorney for over 14 years.

Both her clients and peers alike respect Ms. Rosenblum. She is known to be very professional and always well prepared.

When asked about her decision to work in family law Ms. Rosemblum replied, “I chose family law because it is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and to contribute to the legal community in a meaningful way. I have handled thousands of custody, divorce and dependency matters. Many attorneys look down their nose at family law practitioners and I often hear my colleagues say how can you do that work? In my opinion, being a family law attorney is being a real lawyer day in and day out. It is helping every-day people with every-day problems and it gives me the chance to make a real difference in the life of a parent, child and/or spouse on a daily basis.”

Ms. Rosenblum speaks English and Spanish.

Rosenblum Law Offices
7375 S Pecos Road
Suite 101
Las Vegas, NV 89120
720-433-2889

James E. Smith

James E. Smith has been licensed for over 35 years. He is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law.

Mr. Smith not only practices family law, but also personal injury, estate planning, bankruptcy, and more.

He is known to be very clear with clients’ situations and communicates realistic expectations.

Mr. Smith is multilingual and speaks English, Spanish, French, and German.

James E. Smith, ESQ.
7251 W. Lake Mead Blvd.
Suite 300
Las Vegas, NV 89128
702-562-4209

Rebecca H. Miller

Rebecca Hopkins Miller is a family law attorney associated with Cooper | Coons, Ltd. She is a graduate of Pepperdine University School of Law.

Ms. Miller has been practicing for over 30 years. When asked about why she chose family law she responded, “Since I wanted to be a psychologist and also love courtroom drama and arguing for the people’s rights, I got my wish when I discovered my strengths were in family law-a blend of both worlds!”

Cooper | Coons
10655 Park Run Dr.
Suite 130
Las Vegas, NV 89144
702-998-1500

Nedda Ghandi

Nedda Ghandi is a partner of Ghandi Deeter Blackham Law Offices. She is a graduate of the William S. Boyd School of Law.

Ms. Ghandi has received numerous awards including Nevada Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite” award in 2013, 2014, and 2015. She is praised by her clients and respected by her peers.

Ms. Ghandi speaks English and Farsi.

Ghandi Deeter Blackham Law Offices
707 South 10th Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
702-878-1115

Yianna C. Reizakis

Yianna C. Reizakis is founder and managing attorney of Legal Angel. She has been licensed for over ten years and is a graduate of the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Ms. Reizakis has been praised for being honest and understanding. Her peers respect her skill and experience in the courtroom.

Legal Angel
330 East Warm Springs Road
Las Vegas, NV 89119
702-315-4287

Kimberly Surratt

Kimberly Surratt has been licensed for over 14 years and received her JD from the Golden Gate University, School of Law. She is the founder of the Surratt Law Practice.

Ms. Surratt has won the appreciation of many of her clients for not only her professionalism, but for the professionalism of the entire staff. And, her peers see her as a truly valued asset to the Las Vegas legal community.

Surratt Law Practice Las Vegas
3303 Novat St, #1st Floor
Las Vegas, NV 89129
702-318-7095

Roger A. Giuliani

Roger A. Giuliani is the owner of the Law Office of Roger A. Giuliani, P.C. He has been licensed to practice family law for over 20 years.

Mr. Giuliani’s clients feel he does an excellent job at breaking down the complexities of the family court system in a way that’s easy for them to understand.

Law Office of Roger A. Giuliani, P.C.
500 N Rainbow Blvd.
#300
Las Vegas, NV 89107
702-221-1955

Louis C. Schneider

Louis C. Schneider is a graduate of the University of Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law and the owner of the Law Offices of Louis C. Schneider. He has been licensed for over 11 years.

Mr. Schneider is known to be tough but reasonable by both his clients and his peers. He is not only an excellent family lawyer, but a first class criminal defense attorney as well.

Mr. Schneider is also a published author in Time Magazine and the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Law Offices of Louis C. Schneider
430 S. 7th Street
Las Vegas, NV 89101
702-435-2121

Soraya M. Viega

Soraya M. Viega is a graduate of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law. She has been licensed to practice family law for over 14 years.

Ms. Viega’s clients feel she is extremely compassionate and transparent. She always looks for the best-case scenario while making sure to explain clearly what likely outcomes will be.

Soraya M. Viega, Esq.
7464 W. Sahara Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89117
702-686-3371

James Claflin

James Claflin is the founder and managing attorney of Claflin Law Ltd. and a graduate of Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. He has been licensed for over 25 years.

Mr. Claflin’s clients praise his patience and trustworthiness. They also praise his attentiveness and diligence.

Claflin Law Ltd.
3753 Howard Hughes Parkway, Suite 200
Las Vegas, NV 89169
702-564-2523

If you never need a family attorney, consider yourself lucky. However, if you are in Las Vegas and find yourself in need of a parenting plan or have questions about child support in Nevada, you might considering contacting a reliable and well respected family law attorney.

As of March 2017, the Las Vegas, NV area Family Law attorneys on this list have been recognized by third-party organizations and their clients for their excellence in the area of divorce and family law.

Categories: Child Custody Court, Child Custody Mediation

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