Modifying Custody Agreement

Getting a divorce is never a simple, once and done deal, even though our clients sometimes wish it would be that way.

Life changes in the blink of an eye, and with that blink, comes changes that may not have been expected when your divorce was agreed upon.  Therefore, divorce agreements often need to be modified to reflect those changes and better serve the best interest of your child(ren).

It’s not uncommon for divorced couples who are co-parenting children to go back and modify their custody agreement, and possibly their child support payments.

There are many reasons why this may need to take place:

  • Job location
  • Lack of co-parenting at the level agreed upon
  • Medical needs (parents or child)
  • Financial hardship
  • Change in income
  • The child desires more time with each parent
  • Change in child’s expense needs
  • Change in living condition or location of parent’s home
  • Death of a parent

Each state has its own guidelines on what precedents could warrant a change, so it’s important to check what applies in your state.

Keep in mind, to succeed in making custody changes, there must be a very significant reason in which to do so. It can’t be because your co-parenting plan is no longer working as you would like it to be.

You will also want to understand how monthly financial child support payments and tax responsibilities will change in the future.

Modifying your custody agreement using the collaborative divorce process can help your family work through the changes in a non-adversarial, litigated manner with the assistance of family mediators.

Our team of experts can help you and your spouse develop a modified custody plan that is agreeable to both parents.

At Peace Talks Mediation Services, our custody mediation and parenting plan mediation services assist divorced, divorcing, and never-married parents in working together to develop a child-centered custody plan and improve your ability to co-parent.

Contact us today for a FREE CONSULT to see how we can help you and your ex work by modifying your custody agreement to meet everyone’s needs.

Note: This information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal/financial/tax advice. You should work with your attorney, financial, or tax professional to determine what will work best for your situation.

How Can A Collaborative Divorce Help Your Children Through Your Divorce?

Little girl with arms around little boy.Getting a divorce is never easy, especially when children are involved!

When you choose the collaborative divorce process, it encompasses everyone’s wellbeing and works with the family as a whole. It doesn’t pit spouses against each other. Its goal is to learn to communicate with each person and mediate an amicable agreement for each spouse.

This process works as a team model, employing lawyers, mediators, divorce coaches, financial neutrals, child life specialists and psychologists — everyone on the team, including the couple, vow to resolve issues without going to court.

There are many ways the collaborative divorce process is pro-family and pro-child. Here are a few:

  • Children are priority #1 in the decision-making process
  • When the child sees their parents working together, the children have a healthier emotional outcome
  • Child life specialist and psychologist work with your children to process the separation and deal with the emotions that arise
  • Team members help encourage discussions to keep the process moving forward
  • Can help develop co-parenting plans such as future visitation, vacation and holiday plans

The collaborative divorce process is not a scorched earth model. It is more collaborative than contentious. By encouraging communication, the walls come down, and the family unit can move forward healthily.

The collaborative divorce process is an alternative dispute resolution method that can help you maintain your family unit while staying away from court litigation.

Our team of experts can help you and your spouse to develop a dialogue that will shield your children from the raw emotion that divorce brings.

At Peace Talks, our custody mediation and parenting plan mediation services assist divorced, divorcing, and never-married parents in working together to develop a child-centered custody plan and improve your ability to co-parent.

Contact us today to see how we can help both you and your spouse divorce in a way the keeps your family unit intact.

Note: This information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal/financial/tax/or medical advice. You should work with your attorney, financial, medical or tax professional to determine what will work best for your situation.

How a Co-Parenting Plan Can Help You

How a Co-Parenting Plan Can Help You - Peace Talks Mediation Services - divorce, children of divorce, co-parenting, divorce mediation - Image by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/Pexels-2286921/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=1866868">Pexels</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=1866868">Pixabay</a>Divorce can be extremely emotionally draining on the spouses, but more often than not, the toll it takes on the children in the family is often overlooked.

But did you know your children’s emotional well-being is a key factor when you and your spouse seek a divorce thru the collaborative divorce process?

During the collaborative divorce process a parenting plan will be developed that is equally agreeable to both parties.

Here are a few ways developing a co-parenting plan can help you and your family:

  • Keeps the focus on the children’s best interests
  • Helps you make lasting, sound decisions about parenting, physical custody, and legal custody with enough flexibility to grow with your children
  • Tailors your custody agreement to your and your children’s needs
  • Improves co-parenting and co-parent communication
  • Keeps you out of court, saving money, time and emotional toll

Parenting plans typically include decision-making protocols, a day-to-day schedule, vacations, holidays and travel, as well as other parenting issues like moving away.

Children thrive with consistency! They thrive in a safe environment where chaos is not often found. They grow and heal when they can see that they are not required to “choose” between their parents. The collaborative divorce process works not only with the parents, but the child as well to ensure their emotional well-being is taken into consideration.

Our team of experts can help you and your spouse to develop a co-parenting plan that will shield your children from the raw emotion that divorce brings. We will help you resolve your custody issues in a sane, sensible and fair way at a reasonable cost.

At Peace Talks Mediation Services, our custody mediation and parenting plan mediation services assist divorced, divorcing, and never-married parents in working together to develop a child-centered custody plan and improve your ability to co-parent.

Contact us today to see how we can help you and your spouse develop a mutually agreeable co-parenting plan.

Note: This information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal/financial/tax advice. You should work with your attorney, financial, or tax professional to determine what will work best for your situation.

Tips on How to Tell Your Children You Are Getting a Divorce

couple walking in the woods with their 2 children

One of the hardest moments in a divorce is sharing with your children that you and your spouse will be separating. It’s so hard to know how to start and have such an awkward conversation.

Here are some tips we like to share with our clients to help them in having this painful dialogue:

  • Make sure you are 100% sure that a divorce will be occurring prior to telling your children
  • Weekend mornings are a good time
  • The age of your children will determine how much detail will be shared
    • Keep it simple
    • Stay away from inappropriate information
  • Every family member should be present, including both parents
  • Keep a unified front
  • Let them know how much you love them and your divorce is not their fault and that you both are happy they were born
  • Share with them that you are still a family, just restructured
  • Let them know some of the future plans involving your divorce
  • Share with them that they will be living in two homes and will still see both of you regularly

Often in our lives, we are faced with life-altering conversations, and more often than not, it won’t be black & white, it will be various shades of gray. This talk will not be a one and done, it will be an ongoing and evolving dialogue.

Our team of experts can help you and your spouse to develop a dialogue that will shield your children from the raw emotion that divorce brings.

At Peace Talks Mediation Services, our custody mediation and parenting plan mediation services assist divorced, divorcing, and never-married parents in working together to develop a child-centered custody plan and improve your ability to co-parent.

Contact us today to see how we can help you and your spouse handle this life-changing conversation.

Note: This information is general in nature and should not be construed as legal/financial/tax advice. You should work with your attorney, financial, or tax professional to determine what will work best for your situation.

Some Co-Parenting Needs an Assist

One of the most frustrating constants we see in Divorce Mediation is that a surprising percentage of the children involved will have adjustment issues that will need to be addressed by a an outside specialist. It’s a difficult decision point to face as I can bear witness to in my own life.

Now matter how amiable the atmosphere may be, somekids are going to have a tough time with the divorce and its personal consequences.  These conflicts will continue so the tone that is set will be important in the years, and with the adjustments, to come as situations change.

The therapists I work with emphasize the importance of not hesitating to make a call, explore situational options, and talk to someone. It’s only through a dialogue that you will find the right person for your child and for you. Your insurance will dictate your institutional choices but there may be private avenues to explore that are accessible through personal connections.

If you’d like some suggestions for yourself or a friend contact my office about some associate referrals.

Every Judge Is Not A Solomon

by Stephanie Maloney

Every Judge Is Not A Solomon Copyright: <a href="https://www.123rf.com/profile_stockbroker">stockbroker / 123RF Stock Photo</a>There’s a lawsuit filed by the ACLU aimed at preventing families seeking asylum from being separated at the border. It’s a cruel tactic implemented to discourage refugees from coming to America and if you disagree with this decision there is a petition you can sign on their website to stop this practice.

Split Custody, as it is referred to in divorces with children, is very rare in general because of the potential harm but percentage of responsibility comes up in many court-driven divorces. When the judge decides how the financial responsibilities should be divided it is not necessarily done by “cutting them in half”. That court decision can have some seriously negative repercussions for at least one parent and ultimately for the children.

Maintaining control of the settlement process is one of the main reasons for utilizing a mediator and working towards a mutual agreement, rather than leaving it up to the court. You may not be risking custody but you might encounter what you consider to be a slightly “one-sided agreement” and end up in a financial bind. Let’s remember that the judge may also come up with visitation schedules that present logistical nightmares for vacation time and holidays. “Who gets the kids for Christmas?” is a question that you will want to decide when necessary not a third-party adjudicator.

I do encourage you to make your voice heard, if you are so inclined, to stop tearing families apart when they’ve come so far by staying together.

Unplugging To Connect

by Stephanie Maloney

Every family that I interact with has difficulty creating and managing their time together. By definition, Divorce creates two entities from one source. With our technology, it sounds crazy to admit that we have trouble connecting with each other but that is the reality for a lot of people. This is all about spending time together not time spent typing together.

There was a nice piece in the LA Times a few weeks ago by Catherine Price who writes about “Breaking Up With Your Phone” and avoiding screens not people.

It made me think about how easy it is to mistake texting with talking when someone asks about the kids and we say we just spoke and we mean text messages were exchanged.

Actual “Face Time” not the video application is sort of the Holy Grail of raising kids and excruciatingly so when divorced. It’s tough to compete with all the available options for kids out there but some people are getting creative in efforts to bring new spins on things to the table.

One family that caught my attention is using the bowling alley and the miniature golf course with their phones turned off until they are all finished. They all take turns keeping score and making reservations as well as handling the gear. Some people are applying that technique to the dinner hour or other shared activities in order to really connect with each other instead of their equipment.

Whatever it is I’d like to think that there’s something we can do together that doesn’t involve screens-unless it’s the screen on the back door of a cabin on a lake.