Archive for April, 2006

Your Child’s Homework Habits During and After Your Divorce

Friday, April 21st, 2006

If your child does have less out of school work it is a clear sign that he or she is probably skipping or rushing homework assignments. Your child may be experiencing a bit of “scatter brain”, meaning his or her mind is racing and he or she can not focus on one thing at a time, for example doing a math problem. The divorce and/or separation is probably causing your child to have feelings that leave him or her empty in side. Your child can begin to feel helpless, which makes doing his or her homework or participating in school extremely difficult. Problems in school is a clear cut sign that your child is not taking the family break up well. Your child may seem fine when he or she is at home, but is your child hiding his or her feelings to make you happy? The emotional trauma of divorce and/or separation can easily trigger poor grades in school, which can make your child even more depressed. If this type of situation continues it may permanently destroy the enthusiasm your child has to learn.

Strategies and Tactics to Monitor School and School Related Activities:

- Be sure to tell your child’s teachers that you are going through a divorce and/or separation. Many parents try to keep this a secret and they should not. Your child’s teachers will be able to keep an eye out for your child and report to you any changes in behavior and/or progress that has been made. Teachers tend to be a very helpful tool for parents that are going through a divorce and/or separation.

- Ask your child daily questions about school and follow up to make sure he or she is doing the required homework. If you are unsure of whether or not your child has homework, contact his or her teacher for a list of assignments for the next few weeks.

- Try to help your child with homework assignments. Your child may recognize this as an opportunity to spend quality time with you. By helping your child with homework, you will be making him or her feel more focused.

- Rewards for doing homework is also an option, but there is a down side to this tactic. If there is not reward, will they still do the homework? If you feel it is appropriate, consider trying something like the following: If your child does his or her homework for the entire week, you will go to the amusement park on Saturday. This type of arrangement is much better than saying: If you do not do your homework, we will not be going to the amusement park this Saturday. Phrase the reward or incentive positively with added enthusiasm. If your child knows that you are also looking forward to the reward, he or she will be less likely to let you down.

- Try to have a set time for homework. This reinforces the routine that your child needs to feel secure. Most children want to know what is going to happen next, they are not typically in favor of living a day of unpredictability.

Asking the Family Court Clerks for Help

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

We hear many stories of divorcing spouses, especially pro se filers, getting discouraged when they ask a question at the county courthouse and the clerk or the clerk’s assistance reply, “sorry, but we can not give out legal advice”. Yes, many of the questions asked do not require any sort of advice at all, but for liability reasons the clerk and assistants are instructed to provide limited help, if any at all.

If you have a question regarding your divorce and the process, we suggest asking them to point you in the right direction. In doing so, you are not actually asking them for an answer, but rather asking them where you may be able to go to research the answer.

Also, keep in mind that the county courthouse has a legal library which is open to the public. This library may contain sample divorce documents, filing instructions, or explanations. A library assistant on staff may become your best friend.

As a reminder, you never want to express anger or argue with the clerk. He or she will be facilitating your divorce from start to finish, so this would not be a relationship you want to sever.

Imputing income for Support

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

If you or your spouse are not employed, the court will often impute income to determine what support amount should be paid. Imputing income is no more that coming up with a monthly income amount that the court feels the parent is capable of earning.

The court will typically look to the past three years of pay stubs or W-2s to try to average an amount. The court will also take into consideration the current job market as well as any non-repetitive bonuses or lump sum payments made by employers in the past.

The bottom line is that in cases where income must be imputed, the likely hood of the support obligation actually being paid is very slim. Even though an amount is imputed, does not mean the money is there to provide the support. The efforts made by the court are in hopes the obligated spouse will gain employment in the near future and recognize his or her financial obligation to the children.

Doing Your Own Divorce

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

It has become very popular over the last few years for spouses to actually do their own divorce without a lawyer. Doing your own divorce will save you money just as long as you take the appropriate steps throughout out the divorce procedure.

It is advised that you get a general understanding, prior to taking on this task. Thousands of divorces are filed every year without a lawyer and most of these divorces are uncontested. This means that you and your spouse mutually agree on the issues that will dissolve your marriage.

If you do decide to divorce on your own, make sure the paperwork you are filing is state specific and make sure you meet the residency requirements for where you wish to divorce.