Child Custody

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
 

What You Need to Know About Effective Co-Parenting After Divorce

co-parenting after divorce Even though divorce may end the legal bond between you and your former spouse, you are still tethered forever if you have children together.    

 

If you do have children, the most important consideration should be regarding their well-being and what is best for them. For many parents, co-parenting does not come naturally, nor is it easy to navigate this new territory.  Co-parenting after divorce will come a lot easier if you follow the steps below.

 

Follow These Steps for Effective Co-Parenting with Your Ex

 

  1. Show Some Flexibility When Necessary:  Yes, there may be specific custody arrangements in place when it comes to who gets the children and when, however, know when to be flexible.  There may be a time when your spouse has to be out of town on business unexpectedly or makes a request to switch the schedule for other reasons; be understanding and show some flexibility instead of being rigid. It is also important to be mindful and respectful of the schedule and to honor the pickup and drop off times.

 

  1. Do Not Talk Bad About Your Ex-Spouse to Your Children: For those who do this, find that it only backfires on them.  Your children are likely to tell the other parent and it will only create unnecessary friction.  Furthermore, you are putting your children in the middle of your battles; which is not healthy for anyone.

 

  1. Don’t Fight or Argue in Front of Your Children: Of course, there may be times when you and your ex don’t see eye to eye on something or end up having an argument; however, make sure that your children are not privy to listen in on these type of conversations. One way to do this is to acknowledge the matter that will require further discussion and set up a time when your children are not within earshot to have that conversation. 

 

  1. Foster Open Communication with Your Children: Create an environment that makes it easy for your children to share their thoughts, worries, and emotions.  Make it clear to your children that they can tell you if they are not comfortable with the other parent or if the parent is somehow mistreating them. When your children know that you are willing to listen to them and they will not get in trouble for what they disclose, it will make it easier for them to open up.

 

If you are in the process of going through a divorce and need help with formulating an effective parenting plan or any other matters related to family law, contact Sabra Divorce Law today at (646) 472-7971.

How to Handle Divorce When Children Are Involved

It can be complicated to get divorced when children are involved.  When children are involved in a divorce, the amount of topics and areas to sort out with your spouse substantially increase. 

There are many factors to take into consideration.  Decisions will have to be made pertaining to child support and child custody. It is also a good idea to come up with a parenting plan which outlines details of how the children will be cared for. 

Follow the below tips to make the divorce process a bit easier when children are involved:

  1. Try to stay on good terms with your spouse: it may be difficult to avoid arguments with your spouse, however, keep in mind that you will have to interact with them indefinitely.   When children are involved, you will have to communicate with your spouse to coordinate parenting time with your children, and as they grow older, to coordinate their after school activities and other aspects of parenting.  Imagine what it would be like for your children if they were to see you arguing with your (ex)spouse all the time versus if you and your (ex)spouse were to become masterful at co-parenting.  Do your best to preserve a cooperative relationship with your spouse so it makes it easier on the children.  It may not be easy, and there are many books that discuss this topic.   
  2. Be mindful of the appropriateness of “adult” issues and exposure to your children. The details of your divorce are painful for you, it could only be even more painful to your children should they learn of them. You may be tempted to vent to your children, however, it would best to protect them by withholding the details of the divorce and reserving any such thoughts, comments and venting for a session with a therapist or life or divorce coach.  Be mindful not to leave divorce papers out in the open where your children may get access to read them or leaving your computer open where your children might see that email discussing some of your divorce matters. 
  3. Determine an effective way of co-parenting: try to have respect for your spouse’s decisions and keep an open mind.  You may not agree with every decision your spouse makes, however, make an effort to see it from their point of view.
  4. Get outside assistance:  seek assistance from a specialist who can help you.  The specialist should be trained in child psychology.  This will help your child get through this difficult time if they are having trouble dealing with all of the changes that come with divorce.

Questions About how to Handle Divorce When Children Are Involved?

Contact Sabra Law Group today if you need assistance with parenting plans or divorce mediation.  You can reach Sabra and schedule an appointment at (646) 472-7971.

Handling Holiday Child Custody Arrangements in Manhattan

With the holidays quickly approaching, there are so many things to handle.  One of the most important things to handle is child custody arrangements for the holidays. 

Below are some tips on handling child custody arrangements in Manhattan

  1. Plan ahead:  never wait until the last minute to sort out child custody arrangements with your ex.  The sooner you start planning, the better.   Hopefully, you already have a written schedule of custody for your children throughout the year.  However, for some reason, if you don’t, the first step should be to agree on a schedule for child custody. 
  2. Take your children’s wishes into consideration: If your children are old enough to be in middle school or high school, they may have some excursions in mind.  Ask your children if there is something specific they would enjoy doing during the winter break.  This will help you plan accordingly when it comes to custody.  Your child may have a friend’s birthday party they want to attend and you book a family vacation without consulting them; they will not be happy. 
  3. Don’t micro-manage what your ex does when he/she is with your children.  If you are too busy constantly nagging your ex, you will be missing quality time with your children.  It is hard to tell your ex who to bring around or not when your children are over, so choose your battles wisely. 
  4. Be more concerned with making your own winter plans, rather than be obsessed about what your ex is doing.  Your ex may have an extravagant trip planned with his/her significant other.  If you show jealously or try to interfere with their plans, it will only create more conflict.  The holidays are stressful enough without creating unnecessary conflict.  Spend your time focusing on your plans and what you can do with the children to have a memorable holiday season.  Create your own experiences and memories that are just as fabulous as your ex’s activities. 
  5. When you do have to see your ex, be polite and respectful.   Even if your ex can frustrate you, don’t let it be seen.  The more you show your frustration, the more your ex will irritate you.  Set the example and be the kind of person that you would want exemplify for your children.  It is essential to remember that your children may be in the background, listening to your conversations. 

If you need to alter your child custody arrangements in Manhattan, call Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971.  And we can help you with creating or altering parenting plans.  Give us a call today.

 

How to Determine if a Parenting Plan in New York Can Be Changed

While there may be many complicated issues to work out in a divorce, the one thing that most couples can agree on is that they both want what is best for the children.

In order to ensure the welfare of the children, it is imperative to have a parenting plan that has been carefully orchestrated.  When drafting a parenting plan, it is important to consider the long-term and not just the short-term. 

Once a Parenting Plan is Finalized with the Divorce Decree Can It Be Changed?

The parenting plan can only be changed under certain circumstances; for example: both parents can agree to modify an existing parenting plan whenever they choose to do so.

One of the simplest ways to modify an existing parenting plan is for both parents to agree on modifying the plan.  If you feel that the current parenting plan does not meet the best needs of the children or is lacking certain factors, consider having an open and honest conversation with your spouse to see if you can come to an agreement on the suggested modifications.  Once you can both agree on the modifications, the process is quite simple:

  1. Draft a new parenting plan
  2. Both parties need to sign the new plan
  3. Then it has to go to the court for their signoff
  4. Once the court signs off on the new plan, it becomes official

Can a Parenting Plan Be Changed to Reflect a New Schedule or Changes in Schedule?

Yes, a parenting plan can be changed due to schedule conflicts.  Whether the schedule conflict has to do with one parent’s new job or a child transferring schools, it may require a change to the parenting plan that once was a good fit but now no longer serves its purpose. 

If the Changes to a Parenting Plan Are Significant, There Must Be Valid Reasons

Changes cannot be made to a parenting plan just because one parent decides that they want changes.  There must be good, valid reasons that directly impact the children’s best interests. 

Need to Make Changes to an Existing Parenting Plan, Consult a Mediation Attorney

If you need to make changes to an existing parenting plan and need some guidance, it is best to consult a knowledgeable mediation attorney who can guide you along the way.  Contact Sabra Law Group today for a confidential consultation at (646) 472-7971.

Manhattan Child Custody Lawyer Explains Drafting an Effective Parenting Plan

Parenting during and after a divorce can be a challenge even in the best of circumstances. What makes a parenting plan so beneficial in these situations is that you and your ex-spouse get to set the parameters of the plan without allowing the court to impose its own constraints. This means that you have greater control over your parenting decisions.

There will necessarily be compromise involved in drafting an effective parenting plan. The more that both sides can agree to some flexibility in terms of scheduling and daily arrangements, the less time and money you will spend ironing out small details. The most important aspects of the plan to decide on are the health, educational and well-being decisions on behalf of your child. Setting clear guidelines as to how the parents will communicate and act with respect to major decisions in the child's upbringing makes for a much easier transition for all parties involved.

An effective parenting plan will also include some contingency planning. This means setting some guidelines for what will happen in the event of an emergency and how parents will contact each other if something happens to the child. Having a plan in place ahead of time can hedge off any miscommunications and misunderstanding about how emergencies will be handled. These are some of the most important things for the parents to agree upon at the outset.

Other topics of consideration include:

  • Vacations
  • Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Passport and birth certificate
  • Relocation
  • Higher Education
  • Overnight guests

Contact an Experienced Manhattan Child Custody Lawyer Today

To learn more about what an effective parenting plan could look like in your situation, call (646) 472-7971 and schedule an appointment for your mediation in New York. Sabra Law Group is ready to assist with all of your divorce and child custody mediation needs in New York. Find out why so many couples are turning to this convenient and cost-effective method of navigating divorce and legal parenting issues through divorce mediation in New York.

Manhattan Divorce Mediator Shares How to Protect Your Children’s Confidence After a Divorce

Most divorces are not as simple and straight-forward as we would like them to be.  Divorce can be complicated and involve quite a bit of conflict, but the worst part is that your children will go through so many emotions during their parents’ divorce.  It is imperative to support your children during this stressful time and ensure that their confidence and self-esteem is not shattered so that they maintain their self-confidence both during as well as after divorce.

Conflicts that commonly arise during a high pressure divorce can also cause stress in children, as a result that stress can impact their social skills, confidence, grades, and even friendships.

Follow These 5 Tips to During Divorce to Protect Your Children’s Confidence

  1. Don’t put your children in the middle of the divorce: during a divorce there are many issues that need to be sorted through amongst the parents.Don’t make your children the messenger if you do not wish to communicate with your spouse, instead seek the assistance of a savvy Manhattan divorce mediator who can mediate on your behalf. It is crucial to keep your children out of conversations that have to do with the custody battle, visitation schedule, or shedding a less than positive light on your spouse.
  2. Make time for your children:yes, the demands of work, dealing with divorce matters and everyday life can get in the way, however, it is more important now than ever to be there for your children and make time for fun activities.Children need to feel secure and loved and it is important to have family time for fun activities.
  3. Get your children more involved in extra-curricular activities: make sure your children can pursue extra-curricular activities at church or school that they are passionate about.This also allows them to be surrounded with their peers and keeps them active; staying active will make for a healthier mind and body.
  4. Show your children that you appreciate them:remember to praise your children on their grades, after school activities such as sports, band or any other activity that they may be involved in.Children need validation and appreciation for their efforts.It is important to spend time talking to your children on a daily basis and determining where their interests reside and also accessing when they need help.
  5. Learn to resolve disagreements with your spouse in a positive manner: Remember, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.If you need to have a conversation that is difficult with your spouse, carefully think it through before speaking and then approach it in a calm manner.You never know when your children may be eavesdropping on your conversation and it is best to maintain calm.

Contact a Manhattan Divorce Mediator if You Need Assistance

If you are having difficulty sorting through difficult issues that arise during a divorce, contact an experienced Manhattan divorce mediator who can assist you with coming to an amicable resolution.  To learn more about divorce mediation, contact Sabra Law Group today at (646) 472-7971.

How to Develop a Parenting Plan in New York That Works

If you are going through a divorce in New York and have children, it is important to develop a comprehensive parenting plan so that the parenting of the children is clearly outlined.

There are two parts to an effective parenting plan; part 1 involves establishing custody and visitation and part 2 involves everyday schedule and routine activities of the children.

Part I. Establishing Custody

  1. Determine what the normal schedule will be:the first step in this process is to figure out who the child will live with and how often the other parent will get to spend time with and visit with the child (also referred to as parenting time).There are a couple of different scenarios that can occur:joint custody or sole custody.
  2. Create a plan for how to deal with holidays and vacations:determine which holidays will be spent with which parent.It is also important to determine a plan for travel and vacations.Will one parent allow the other to take the child out of the country for summer vacation? If one parent gets to see the child on the weekends, will that parent make an exception for Father’s Day weekend and let the child spend the weekend with his/her dad?
  3. Allow for special circumstances:there may be instances in which the child may be sick and it may be best for the child to remain at home and not be sent to the other parent.For example, the child may want to attend a friend’s birthday party that is closer to one parent than the other so it would make more sense for the child to remain with the parent closest to the party.
  4. Set guidelines for who you trust around your child or not:the first concern should be the safety and welfare of your child, so it may be best to outline who you allow your child to be around and who you do not.
  5. Determine how the child will be transported from one parent to the next:will the child be dropped off or will the non-custodial parent be picking up the child?

Need Help Developing a Parenting Plan in New York That Works?

Contact the Sabra Law Group for a confidential consultation on developing an effective parenting plan at (646) 472-7971.  You can also check out Part II. In our next blog that will cover establishing everyday activities and normal schedule of a parenting plan.

How to Determine if Your Child is Having a Hard Time Dealing with Divorce

Some parents are so caught up in the divorce process and their own sadness that they may tend to overlook the fact that their child is also struggling with the thought of their family being torn apart. 

 

If your child is old enough to truly understand the meaning of divorce, it is likely that  he or she will not accept this change in family dynamics easily.

 

Below are some warning signs to be aware of:

 

  1. Withdrawal: if your child has suddenly lost interest in hanging out with friends or family members that they are normally fond of, this could be a sign that your child is suffering from dealing with the divorce.
  2. Sudden Outbursts: your child has episodes of yelling and screaming that seem to come out of nowhere.  It seems that every little thing now sets  your child off, whereas, in the past your child was easy going and happy-go-lucky. 
  3. Trouble Sleeping: stress can disrupt normal sleeping patterns and it is important to take note if your child is complaining about not being able to sleep at night.
  4. Nightmares: if your child is complaining about nightmares, subconscious fears of loss and abandonment can cause nightmares. 
  5. Harming Oneself: this one can be a cry for help and/or attention. Your child may be trying to tell you that he or she needs more of your time and attention
  6. Grades Start to Drop: if your child normally is a straight “A” student and now is getting “C” grades, this can be an indicator that your child is distracted and not able to focus on school activities. Make sure you attend parent teacher conferences and take the time to ask your child how their day was at school. 

 

There can be many other symptoms as well, but the above are some of the most common indicators that your child is struggling with the concept of divorce. 

 

If you are having a hard time dealing with divorce and need legal guidance, contact the Sabra Law  Group today for a confidential consultation at (646) 472-7971.