Child Custody

How to Handle Post-Divorce Child Custody Conflicts During the Pandemic

Post-Divorce Child CustodyThe COVID-19 pandemic has changed virtually every aspect of life. It should come as no surprise, then, that those changes have extended to post-divorce child custody. While the agreements made by former spouses during the divorce process were almost certainly made with the best interests of the child in mind, the truth is that the pandemic has no respect for such agreements. As such, there are a few basic steps that should be taken to ensure a safe and effective custody arrangement during these trying times.

While difficult, the first thing to do is to be realistic about how the pandemic is going to impact your custody arrangements. A parent being quarantined may cause one party to lose his or her visitation time, so an alternate arrangement should be found if possible. Likewise, changes in the availability of travel or childcare will have to be looked at to determine how the child's routine will be changed. These changes will be quick and often difficult, but it will be up to the parents to ensure that they are navigated as smoothly as possible.

If communication between the parents is possible. it is often a good idea to make a parenting plan for COVID-19. This will include both the steps that both parents will take to keep the children safe as well as basic steps that can be taken when unusual circumstances occur. Referring to this agreement can help the parents to better adapt without having to hash out the argument every time the situation changes.

With this said, there will be times when disagreements occur, and steps may need to be taken in order to keep the children safe. While in-person mediation is unlikely to occur in many areas, mediation through teleconferencing can be an effective way to allow both parents to have their say while still allowing a third party to mediate the situation. In those situations when a compromise is impossible, it may be necessary to go to court in order to have the custody arrangement temporarily changed in order to better navigate the new reality of COVID-19.

There is no easy way to co-parent during COVID-19 but there are steps that you can take to simplify the process. Try to be realistic about the situation and make whatever compromises you can, but make sure that you're willing to work to ensure that your child is kept as safe as possible. If you are dealing with a post-divorce child custody issue, make sure to contact the Sabra Law Group at 646-472-7971 to get the help you need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can You Keep Your Ex-Spouse’s New Partner Away from Your Children? 

ChildrenWhether your divorce is finalized or not, it can be painful to hear that your former spouse has re-entered the dating pool. 

This may be especially troubling if you learn that your ex-spouse's new partner is frequently around your child or is actually babysitting during the former spouse's parenting time.

You'll probably be experiencing a mixture of emotions like hurt, anger and discomfort. After all, you may wonder what impact your ex-spouse's new partner may have on your child or simply feel uncomfortable with the idea that a stranger is helping to raise your child.

All of these feelings and concerns are valid and natural. However, in most cases the law says that is perfectly acceptable for a new partner to be around your kids. How is this possible?

It's because of the parenting time that your ex-spouse has been granted by law. If a parent is deemed competent by the courts to raise a child, this includes their ability to decide about whether or not it's appropriate to have a new boyfriend or girlfriend around the kids. 

While you may not be happy that your ex-spouse is moving on and you may dislike that the new partner is around your kids, it's best to proceed with caution. Judges in New York generally prefer to allow kids to have contact with both parents unless one of them is putting the child in danger. If you try to prevent your kid from spending time with your former spouse and their new partner, then your actions may be construed as interfering in the relationship between the parent and child.

However, if you suspect that your child is being abused or neglected while in the care of the other parent, including while in the care of the new partner, then you have every right to seek legal recourse. This includes situations in which the new partner has issues with drugs or alcohol, is impaired by a mental health issue or is violent or abusive.

If you believe that your former spouse's boyfriend or girlfriend is harming, abusing or neglecting your child, then it is wise to immediately consult with a family law attorney. The courts will protect children who are in abusive and neglectful situations, even if it means limiting or terminating the parent-child relationship. 

If you have concerns about your ex-spouse's new partner, then contact the Sabra Law Group today at 646-472-7971.

 

 

 

 

How Does Having Multiple Children in Multiple Households Impact Child Support in New York

Multiple Children in Multiple HouseholdsChild support can be a confusing topic for those who have never dealt with it before. While there are many formulas out there for determining support, it can be more difficult to get information if your situation doesn't fit the standard examples. One important question that should be asked, for example, is how child support in New York works when there are multiple children in multiple households. 

The amount of child support in New York owed by a non-custodial parent is based on his or her Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). The combined AGIs of both parents will be combined to create a household income, and then the non-custodial parent will owe child support based on the number of children in the household and the percentage of the household income that the non-custodial parent's AGI makes up. 

When a parent has multiple children in multiple households, the same sort of formula is going to be used. What changes, though, is the parent's AGI. The amount of child support paid to the first household will be deducted from the AGI of the non-custodial parent when determining child support for each subsequent household.

For example:

If Parent A has an AGI of $100,000 a year and that 100,000 a year represents one hundred percent of Household 1's earnings, the basis for determining child support for the children in Household 1 will be based off of that AGI. In this case, let us say that there is one child in the household, so he or she would pay about $17,000 per year in child support. 

If Parent A then owes child support for a second household, Household 2, then Parent A's AGI would be his or her total AGI less the child support payment that he or she makes towards Household 1. In this case, the AGI that forms the basis would be $83,000 ($100,000-$17,0000), and with one child he or she would then owe $14,100 per year in child support to that household.

As you may be able to see, the household that is able to file for child support first gets a significant monetary advantage over each subsequent household. As such, it is always important to file for child support quickly once parentage is established or once any form of separation agreement begins.

If you are dealing with child support issues, it's vital that you work with an attorney. Doing so not only gives you a chance to find out what your child deserves, but it gives you the representation you'll need to interact with the legal system. When you're ready for help, make sure to contact the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Domestic Violence Can Impact Child Custody During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Domestic ViolenceDomestic violence can cause emotional, psychological, and physical trauma to the spouse who is being abused as well as the children that are living in an abusive household.  If you are in a situation where you are experiencing domestic violence, it is best to remove yourself from that situation for your safety as well as your children’s.   Let’s examine how domestic violence can impact child custody during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

A New York family law judge will take domestic abuse charges very seriously when it comes to determining how child custody and visitation may or may not be granted. If the abuse was serious enough or happened repeatedly, it is unlikely that the judge will grant child custody to the abusive spouse.   Both the New York family law judge and your child custody attorney have the same goal in mind; to do what it takes to protect you and your children from an abusive domestic environment.

 

Children who witness domestic abuse between their parents are at the highest risk for transmitting violent behavior from one generation to the next; it is best to get them out of that type of environment as soon as possible.  Their future depends on it.

 

Legally, the abusive spouse may be allowed to rebut the domestic violence charges.  This process may include having to provide evidence that shows that he/she is not a threat to the children or spouse. An example of when a spouse may need to rebut the domestic violence charges is if their spouse fabricated some or all of the domestic violence allegations in order to have the upper hand when it comes to child custody.  It is also an opportunity for the accused spouse to prove their case and/or make an effort to fight for their custody rights.

 

How to Get Immediate Help If You Are Experiencing Domestic Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

The first step is to find a way to either remove yourself from the situation and your abusive spouse.  You can do this by either finding another place to stay temporarily or get assistance from your New York divorce attorney who can guide you. Your attorney may be able to guide you in getting an order from a New York family law judge to restrict visitation or help you obtain a temporary restraining order.  

 

Call Sabra Law Group Today to Determine How Domestic Violence Can Impact Child Custody for Your Unique Situation

 

Each situation is different, so it is best to have a knowledgeable New York family law attorney advise you on what the best course of action should be for you. Call Sabra law Group today to book a confidential phone consultation at (646) 472-7971.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Handle Child Custody During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Child Custody During the COVID-19 PandemicCo-parenting and child custody can already be challenging but when you couple that with the COVID-19 Pandemic, it takes stress and uncertainty to a whole other level.

 

So much has changed because of the pandemic.  Most day-care facilities remain closed, forcing parents to quit their jobs or take on the additional responsibilities of having to parent and work from home with no outside assistance.  Many schools are still doing homeschool for the safety of the children and educational staff. What many parents are realizing is that what previously worked or was put in place regarding child custody no longer makes sense.  For many parents, it’s time to re-evaluate child custody and parenting and modify existing child custody orders/plans.

 

Questions About Child Custody During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

 

Are you wondering if you still have to comply with the custody schedule and order that was in place prior to the pandemic? The short answer is “yes”, however; any deviations made must be based on the best interest of your children.  Because the COVID-19 Pandemic has put many travel restrictions on the public as well as state to state quarantine restrictions, traveling out of state to see your child may not be feasible.  Instead of seeing your child in person, you may have to modify the order to be able to have video chats instead or if you are able to travel, to have an extended duration with your child in an effort to minimize the back and forth.

 

Another valid concern that many parents are having is the worry of exposing their child to COVID-19 at the other parent’s home if that parent works in a setting that makes it easier to contract the virus.  If you have genuine concerns about the safety of your child, then it is best to communicate that to your ex and figure out an alternative game plan.  In all fairness though, do not use the pandemic as an excuse to keep your child from your ex. 

 

Another option is to discuss a temporary agreement that revolves around the new nuisances that the COVID-19 Pandemic has brought upon.  If you are able to discuss a temporary agreement and come to an agreement, then it is important to also put the stipulations in writing.

 

If you are not able to come to amicable terms on your own, then it may be time to consider getting a New York Divorce Mediation Attorney involved who can help you both come up with a temporary agreement that best meets the needs of your child or children.  Even with the assistance of a mediation lawyer, it is essential to be flexible and accommodating with your ex-spouse when it comes to child custody.

 

Contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971 for assistance with handling child custody during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Handle Co-Parenting and Child Custody During the COVID-19 Pandemic

 

COVID-19 pandemicEven prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, parenting was a challenge for separated or divorced couples; now with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is even more difficult to navigate.

 

There are some guidelines that you can follow to alleviate the struggles of parenting during this unprecedented time. 

 

Even though the majority of parents may find themselves in a situation where the child custody schedules were already determined, it helps to be more flexible during this time.

 

What it Means to Be More Flexible

 

The COVID-19 pandemic presents new situations and stressors that definitely have to be considered.  There are now remote work situations, remote learning/school, and the fact that families have to struggle to juggle it all (without access to daycare).  At a time like this, both parents need to be flexible when following the parenting plan/schedule as what worked in the past will no longer suffice.

 

Be Understanding of Financial Situations

 

Many families are facing financial challenges that come with losing their job or being laid off from work or even reduced hours.  Even the inability to work because you now have to take care of your children can hinder the opportunity to make money.  This is why it is so important to be empathetic and understanding of your spouse or ex-spouses’ situation.  Do not use this time to be petty or make the other person frustrated.  It is best to find a way to be more accommodating and flexible for the sake of your children.

 

Use This Time as a Learning Opportunity

 

Set a good example for your children by tactfully mastering the art of conflict resolution.   In life, there will certainly be adversity and challenges; but what’s more important is teaching your kids how to handle roadblocks.  Children always look up to their parents as role models, so remember to put your best foot forward even during the most stressful times.

 

Even if both parents are keen to cooperate with each other, there will always be unforeseen challenges to deal with.  There is a lot of uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic; therefore, it is best to focus on what we can control. 

 

Certain stressful situations will always arise, but we can control how we react to these situations.  Children are quite sensitive and can feel the negative energy between parents, so it is best to keep calm when it’s time to handle conflict with your spouse/ex-spouse.

 

Contact Sabra Law Group today for a confidential consultation at (646) 472-7971.  

 

 

 

 

 

How to Negotiate a Child Custody Arrangement with Your Spouse

Child Custody ArrangementOne of the reasons why many divorces are so challenging is because it's difficult for the soon-to-be former spouses to agree on a child custody arrangement.

Without any question, both parents want what is best for their children. The court has a similar interest in protecting the health and well-being of any minors. Unfortunately, if parents cannot agree on custody issues, then the court may make these decisions for them. Most of these court-decreed decisions are nowhere near as convenient, workable and sensible as they could be.

Clearly, it's better for the whole family if the parents can create their own child custody arrangement that makes sense for them, but this is easier said than done.

When you and your former partner aren't able to initially agree on child custody, don't give up. The answer may be to enter negotiations, perhaps with the assistance of a qualified mediator.

Negotiating child custody is challenging, but it tends to go more smoothly when both parents keep their emotions in check. Feelings certainly are running high. However, keeping a cool head provides each parent with a better opportunity of crafting a creative and workable arrangement. If you're having difficulty regulating your emotions, consider consulting with a close friend, coach or a therapist for support.

Another thing to bear in mind throughout the negotiations is the best interests of your child. You may not be able to get along with your partner any longer, but your child still loves their parents. The courts don't like to stand in the way of healthy relationships between parents and kids, so unless there are verifiable claims of abuse or neglect, make your peace with continuing to share parenting responsibilities. It genuinely is in your child's best interests, and that's likely how the court will see it too.

It's also valuable to be open-minded as you go through negotiations. Try to visualize how each scenario might play out in your real, everyday life. Doing so may help you to see that a proposal that appears ridiculous on the surface actually may have a chance of working. Accordingly, it makes sense to not dismiss out-of-hand any suggestions that your partner or that the mediator might suggest. It may be that a real solution is lurking in that idea.

If you would like more information about negotiating a child custody arrangement through mediation, then contact the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971.

 

 

 

Tips on How to Make the Most Out of Your Joint Custody Arrangement 

Joint Custody Few issues in a divorce are as hotly contested as joint custody. Both parents want what's best for their child, but they don't always agree on what that looks like. Additionally, complicated schedules and out-of-control emotions can exacerbate the conflict.

Fortunately, there are ways to create workable, common-sense agreements for sharing custody. It's critical to keep in mind that custody isn't really about the parents. It's all about the kids.

That means that in a good custody agreement, you may not get everything you want at the cost of all else. Everyone wins when the parents put ego aside and focus on providing the love and support that their child needs.

Moreover, it's crucial for both parents to be realistic about their schedule and the other commitments they have in their life. Insecurity and fear can make parents want to hold on to as much as they can. This may cause them to reach for an agreement that just doesn't make sense in day-to-day life. Such a solution will not be workable and is doomed to fail. Whenever possible, it is wise to remove as much emotion from the equation as possible as you look at your life and your changing responsibilities.

Keep in mind that someone who you consider to be a bad spouse is not necessarily also a bad parent. If you consider your former partner to be an excellent caregiver and support for your child, then it shouldn't be too much of a struggle to acknowledge their right to spend equal or nearly equal time caring for your shared children.

Similarly, it's advisable to craft a unique joint custody arrangement that suits your family. This is preferable to having the court make such decisions for you. After all, no one knows your family, its personalities and its schedules better than the family itself.

This means that the parents are uniquely qualified to create a shared parenting plan that works for everyone. One of the best means for getting this accomplished is mediation.

Mediation is a collaborative and creative problem-solving process. You'll be surprised by just how many possible solutions are available to you as you work with an experienced mediator. As both sides compromise, they meet on a middle ground that is beneficial for the whole family.

If you're interested in learning more about how flexible joint custody arrangements can be, contact the Sabra Law Group at 646-472-7971.
 

The Importance of Communication In a Marriage When You Have a Child With Disabilities

child with disabilities Communication in marriage is essential to the success of any such relationship. However, when a child with disabilities is involved, solid communication becomes even more critical.

Having a child with disabilities or a chronic illness is incredibly stressful for the parents. Faced with a lifetime of providing care, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by negative emotions. One of the best ways to cope with these feelings is by sharing them with the other partner.

Both will react differently to the diagnosis, and they will adjust to the circumstances at different speeds. This makes it critical to keep the lines of communication open.

This is because a child who has special needs likely will impact all areas of the family's life. Finances, social life, future plans, parenting style, and recreational options all will change. The best way to deal with it all is to discuss it openly and honestly. Failure to do this may result in one or both partners getting "stuck" on some negative aspect of the situation, which makes it impossible to move ahead with acceptance.

To help the situation, seek the increased support of friends, family and spiritual advisors. This will enable the couple to spend time focusing on their relationship and individual pursuits that bring them joy and fulfillment. Such shared and individual activities will strengthen the relationship, improve outlooks and build better communication during even the most stressful situation.

It also may be helpful to seek the assistance of a professional counselor or therapist either on an individual basis or as a couple. Therapy provides excellent tools for working through trauma and difficult feelings. Moreover, the couple may learn new communication techniques that help them to better understand one another's needs and wants.

Keep in mind that changes do not have to be negative. Even a situation that may seem tragic or desperate usually has a silver lining. Try to keep looking for some positive aspect in even the darkest day. This will improve your outlook and encourage you to seek out better communication and more closeness with your partner. Improved communication in marriage may be what saves the relationship.

 

In fact, our firm works with couples who have children with varying degrees of disabilities. 

 

CASE STUDY

Recently, a couple retained our mediation services in connection with reaching a divorce settlement.  During the mediation sessions, it was revealed that there was a lot of stress that each of them were experiencing.  They had one “healthy” daughter who had graduated from college and was getting ready to begin graduate school.  Their teenage son, however, suffered from severe autism.  Their son required a lot of attention and professional services.  The husband was working “all the time” trying to bring home more money to pay for the additional support for their son, while the wife, who obtained her real estate license in the hopes of bringing in more income to the family as well, spent a lot of her time with their son and shuttling him from place to place and just being with and caring for him. The time and attention that their son needed simply didn’t allow for the wife to be out in the field generating income from real estate.  The wife held resentment toward the husband because he was not home enough to help out with their son and the husband was feeling resentful toward the wife because she wasn’t working and bringing home any income.  What they were missing, was seeing how they were all part of the family, each participating in their own way and contributing to the family to make it “work”. Husband was out making money to support the family and pay for the additional services that supported their son, and wife was doing everything she could to maintain the household, shuttle their son to school, to various professional services, managing his behavior and the like, and each of them simply could not “see” what the other was DO-ing and how each was in fact contributing and supporting the family.  They were each “stuck” in their own “world” so focused on what each of them was doing and focused on what they saw as the other “not doing.”  The husband saw himself as working to financially support the household while the wife was not contributing at all financially and he was frustrated by that.  The wife saw herself as running around struggling to keep the household together and also managing their severely autistic son to make sure he had what he needed – and that she was doing this all on her own with no support from her husband.  Neither of them was right, yet neither was wrong.  While this might not be exactly the life and the marriage they had dreamed of when they said their “I do’s”, this is the life they were dealt, and that they chose and keep choosing each and every day.  When that was revealed to each of them, they saw each other so profoundly differently.  And, they decided to stop the mediation and instead, to work on their family and their marriage.        
 

While this couple decided to keep their marriage intact and to work on it, there are many couples in similar situations who decide to call it quits.  They can breakup amicably and have control over the outcome and work together in designing the details of their divorce, or they can each lawyer up and go to the court where a judge will decide for them.  Either way, if you believe that your marriage is ending, whether you want to pursue a more amicable and less stressful resolution or engage in a litigated contentious divorce, contact Sabra Law Group at 646-472-7971 now.

5 Parenting Tips for Divorced Parents You Need to Know

Parenting Tips for Divorced ParentsThe dissolution of a marriage is a difficult transition. For couples with children, the complications seem to never end as they meet the challenges of co-parenting. However, these challenges may be diminished with these parenting tips for divorced parents.

1. Build a New Relationship with Your Ex

It may be helpful to view your relationship with your ex-partner as a new, separate one. The co-parenting relationship isn't about you and your partner; it's about your children. This may make it easier to let go of old resentments.

2. Put the Kids' Interests First

Parents that continue to fight after a divorce create a stressful environment. Making an effort to put rancor behind helps children to move forward. Always remember that the well-being of your kids is more important than any disagreements you have with your ex-partner. 

3. Be Consistent with Consequences

Too many parents who are splitting up let consequences for poor behavior slide. However, forgoing consequences condones misbehavior and encourages worse behavior. Stick to reasonable consequences, and talk with your children about healthier ways to express their feelings.

4. Stay Hopeful

Your family is going through changes. While some of these may be painful, others may be positive. No matter how bleak things may seem, there's room for hope. Your optimism is a wonderful thing to model for your children. It demonstrates your resilience in challenging situations, and that's a quality that will serve them well in their lives too. 

5. Tame Your Emotions

Whenever you are angry or annoyed with your ex-partner, your first instinct may be to fly off the handle and go on the attack. However, this is rarely an effective coping mechanism. Keep a running list of grievances instead, and periodically review them. Most may seem trifling after just a few days. The ones that are of greater concern can be discussed reasonably and without damaging the co-parenting relationship.

If you want to learn more parenting tips for divorced parents, contact Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971. These legal professionals also can help you find an amicable resolution to your divorce proceedings. Contact a legal professional today at 646-472-7971 or set up a free phone consult using our scheduling link here