COVID-19

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.  

 

 

 

 

 

Options for Sending Your Children Back to School in New York

Back to school in New York Are your kids planning to go back to school in New York? If so, then you may have choices with regard to what format that education will take. Here's a closer look at the most likely options.

In-Person

A limited number of school districts are choosing to re-open schools with in-person attendance. This may seem risky, but it can be accomplished safely if mask wearing and social distancing are strictly observed.

It's also essential that kids be encouraged to wash their hands frequently or to use hand sanitizer when hand washing isn't possible. Children may be counseled to refrain from touching their faces to better protect themselves.

Virtual

Another option available to students in many school districts is familiar to parents from the last school year. Virtual learning takes place using any computer, and it can be quite effective. In fact, many students thrive through being able to take on a more self-paced approach to learning.

Without a doubt, this can be a stressful option for parents, particularly those who work from home. It requires commitment and patience to take a larger part in your child's education, but attending virtual school is among the safest options for protecting your family from the Coronavirus.

Hybrid

In a few school districts, students will be attending school both in person and virtually. The precise configuration will vary from one school to the next. Certain students may attend in-person on alternating days so that fewer students are in the classroom at once. Alternatively, some students may attend in-person in the morning while the other half of the class attends in the afternoon.

A hybrid approach is incredibly flexible, and although it does involve some exposure from in-person instruction, the smaller group sizes mean less overall risk.

Homeschool

Alternatively, some parents are opting to teach their children themselves in a homeschool environment. In this approach, parents take on the majority of the responsibility for educating their children. They may devise their own curriculum or use curricula that have been prepared by other homeschool educators or businesses that specialize in educational materials.

Like virtual learning, this approach is the safest in terms of exposure to COVID-19, but it does require a huge commitment from parents.

Going back to school in New York carries some risk this year, but if you're thinking of making other changes, like getting a divorce, then call the Sabra Law Group at 646-472-7971.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why the COVID-19 Pandemic is Causing More Divorces and Breakups

COVID-19 Pandemic All of the quarantining that started back in March has been causing married couples to be forced to spend more time together.  While for some lucky couples, the extra time spent together can be a blessing and bring them closer together; the opposite is true for most married couples.

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on all types of stress: financial stress, career stress, emotional stress and more.  Furthermore, it has brought on additional stress for couples who have children.  The pressure of having to home-school or having to stay home to now take care of the children that were once in daycare can take a toll on parents and families across America.

 

Pre-existing problems in marriages are now exasperated because couples are being forced into quarantine.  Couples who were already unhappy with their spouse and in the process of distancing themselves from each other are now in a predicament; because they are being forced into the opposite by having to quarantine together. 

 

There is no doubt that the pandemic has been stressful on everyone, however; those with pre-existing problems are noticing that their problems are only getting worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting finances, jobs, health, and emotional well-being.

 

For some married couples, this will bring them to their breaking point, and even though they have tried so hard to make their marriage work in the past; now the frustration of it all may be too much to handle.  Arguments and fights that were once minor or once in a while occurrences may become the everyday norm.

 

Many couples will be faced with making some tough decisions when it comes to their marriage.  The most important factor to consider when it comes to divorce is what is best for your children and your well-being.  The last thing children need to see during a pandemic is their parents arguing and fighting in front of them. 

 

Some questions that can help provide more clarity on staying together or divorcing are:

 

  1. Was your marriage already facing problems prior to the pandemic or did the problems start when the pandemic did?
  2. Have the problems in your marriage gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  3. Is your marriage taking a toll on your mental health?
  4. Is your spouse abusive or becoming abusive (mentally or physically)
  5. Have you considered seeing a marriage counselor? 
  6. Are your differences something that can be worked out or is it beyond the point of no return?
  7. Are you financially prepared for divorce?  Do you have a plan for supporting yourself and your children?

 

 

Do You Have Questions About If Divorce is the Right Option for You During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with their marriage, consult a knowledgeable New York divorce attorney who can guide you in the right direction.  Call Sabra Law Group today for a confidential consultation at (646) 472-7971

 

If you are looking for parenting resources during the pandemic, download this free guide created by Sabra Law Group.  

 

 

 

 

 

What You Should Know If You Are Considering Marriage During COVID-19 

Marriage During COVID-19The arrival of the Coronavirus has meant that many of life's events are being cancelled, postponed or reimagined. That is certainly the case where weddings are concerned. 

Plans for lavish nuptials with hundreds of guests are on hold. While some couples are hoping to carry through with their plans when social distancing is at an end, others are appling online to get a marriage license – and are getting married virtually in New York. 

Which of the many available options is right for you? Only you and your partner can decide that, but if you give it some thought, you may begin to see the COVID-19 delay as something of a blessing in disguise.

That's because you now have an opportunity to go over all of your wedding plans again. You can make adjustments to that big ceremony that you'll be having as soon as you're able or you may have discovered that your heart's really not into having an over-the-top ceremony.

Even more critical than planning your wedding is planning your marriage. Accordingly, you might choose to reflect on marriage during COVID-19. This provides you and your partner with an opportunity to talk about whether or not you want kids, and when you might want to start a family. Another important topic might include your family's financial future. Will you be combining bank accounts or keeping everything separate?

As you are formulating plans for the future, it makes sense to ask your partner about whether or not it makes sense to have a prenuptial agreement. These agreements are not just for wealthy couples who each bring considerable assets to their union. Frequently, prenups are drawn up for ordinary couples who want to take a loving and proactive approach in the event that their marriage doesn't succeed.

Prenuptial agreements can cover a variety of topics, including ensuring that each of you remains responsible for the debt that you bring to the marriage or that you'll be able to keep your grandmother's Tiffany lamp no matter what. Considerations for children from previous relationships, retirement accounts and real estate also may be included so that every aspect of your financial and personal lives receives the attention that it deserves.

If you are considering marriage during COVID-19 and would like to have a prenup drafted, then contact the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971.

 

 

 

5 Things You Can Do to Prepare for Divorce During COVID-19

Divorce During COVID-19New York has now been on quarantine for over 3 months and tensions between married couples are at an all-time high.  Being quarantined for over 3 months is stressful in itself; but when you combine that with an irritating spouse, it can really make you re-evaluate if you want to get out of the marriage.

 

If you are contemplating divorce during COVID-19, however; aren’t quite ready to pull the plug, there are ways you can start preparing now so that when the time comes, you can turn it into a seamless and harmonious divorce. It is also critical to keep in mind that divorce doesn’t happen overnight.   The more prepared you are in advance, the smoother the divorce process will go in the future.

 

5 Things You Can Start Doing Now to Prepare for Divorce During COVID-19

 

  1. Keep track of and records of how your spouse behaves and treats you.  This is especially important if your spouse is becoming mentally, physically or emotionally abusive.  Document the date/time/occurrence and keep the document in a safe, private place so that if you needed to present it for any reasons related to your divorce, that you are able to do so quickly.
  2. Start “spring cleaning and organizing”:  if you foresee that you may want to move out or separate from your spouse, it will be easier to do if you have all of your personal belongings in order.  Furthermore, it may be easier for you to locate any financial or important documents that you may need for divorcing when and if the time comes.
  3. Don’t hesitate to consult a New York Divorce Attorney:  you are under no obligation to get a divorce simply because you consult a divorce attorney, however, it may give you the clarity you need on important topics such as alimony, custody, and divorce proceedings.
  4. Put aside a separate budget for your divorce:  start setting aside some money now as you may need those funds to provide a retainer to start the divorce or divorce mediation process.
  5. Put together a list of assets and finances: start gathering details about any real estate that you own jointly with your spouse as well as any other investments and any businesses that you have a stake in. 

 

For more tips on how to best prepare for divorce during COVID-19, request a complimentary consultation with Sabra Law Group by calling (646) 472-7971 and get your jumpstart guide to avoiding the 3 costliest mistakes that people make in their divorce.

 

 

 

 

 

How to Determine If Divorce is the Right Option During COVID-19

During COVID-19 At first, you were excited about Zoom happy hours and not having to always go to places and get to take a break from the hustle and bustle.  Unfortunately, the reality is that by now, you are sick of Zoom happy hours and your spouse is driving you crazy.  

Like many other New Yorkers under quarantine, you are contemplating divorce; however, it makes you wonder if the quarantine has driven you to divorce or if your marriage was already failing prior to COVID-19? 

There are some questions you can ask yourself and evaluate to determine if divorce is the right option during COVID-19.  Below is a list of questions to consider: 

1.    What are you really fighting/arguing about?  You have to ask yourself if your quarantine quarrels are a result of underlying issues that were pre-existing or if it is just the stress of being on lockdown for months with no sight of getting back to a “normal” lifestyle.  The pandemic can cause stress to even the healthiest relationships and marriages.  The stress of suddenly having to both work from home, homeschool the children and worry about losing jobs and finances can definitely take a toll and cause emotions to rise.

 
2.    Is it possible that once the pandemic goes away that your problems with your spouse will also subside? This is a difficult question to answer when there seems to be no end in sight, however; there are some ways to get more clarity on this.   One way is to determine if you were having lots of quarrels and fights prior to COVID-19; or did it all start with the stress of the pandemic? 

3.    Is the pandemic bringing out the worst in your mate?  Are you shocked and baffled by the way your mate is behaving? If you are noticing that the existing negative characteristics of your mate or being amplified during the pandemic; you may need to evaluate if this behavior will only get worse or will it go away once things start going back to normal.   You will need to follow your instincts on this one because only you know how your mate was prior to the pandemic and the changes you have noticed as of recently. 

4.    Do you feel unsafe or threatened? If you now feel worried for your safety or that of your children, you do need to take this feeling seriously.  If your spouse has or may have the tendency to become physically or emotionally abusive – it may be time to consider getting out of the marriage. Even though it is always scary to leave an abusive relationship, you have to remind yourself that the behavior may only get worse.  
Seek professional help if you are feeling like you are in an unsafe situation. 

The most important element about determining if divorce is the right option during COVID-19 is to determine if the issues/problems you are having in your marriage are more permanent or temporary issues caused by a stressful environment. 

If you need to get more information about divorcing during COVID-19, contact Sabra Law Group for a complimentary consultation at (646) 472-7971 or to find out how to avoid the top 3 costliest mistakes that smart people make in divorce.

 

 

 

 

  
 

Things to Consider Before Rushing Into a New York Remote Marriage Ceremony 

Remote Wedding On April 19, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the issuance of an executive order that allows marriage services to be conducted by clerks via video conference.

That's good news for couples who are anxious to begin their new life together, despite the pandemic. However, it does not necessarily follow that it's wise to jump into getting married remotely in New York. 

It's still smart to think about all of the ways that marriage may change your lives. For instance, consider both of your career goals. Will your job or your future spouse's job someday force you to move to another city or another state? If so, is that a move that the other partner is willing to make?

For many couples, it similarly is critical to know and understand each other's finances. That means disclosing things like how much credit card and student loan debt each of you has. Moreover, you'll want to share any financial obligations that you have to a former spouse or a child from a previous relationship.

Talking about assets is just as important. To guide your financial conversation, consider entering into a prenuptial agreement before getting married remotely in New York. 

Prenups may be short, simple, and straightforward or longer and more complex depending upon the couple's wishes and their financial situation. With a prenuptial agreement, it's possible to define that each partner will keep the debt that came into the relationship with them and that certain family heirlooms will remain the property of the spouse who brought it to the marriage. It's even possible to discuss potential spousal support terms.

Too many couples get married without knowing much about each other's finances. Having a prenuptial agreement drafted ensures that you're both aware of each other's financial standing. It also leads to helpful discussions regarding how you both approach money matters.

It may not seem romantic to pause to discuss a prenuptial agreement before getting married, but it nonetheless makes good sense. That is especially true during a time that is distinctly unsettled and unfamiliar. Most people's day-to-day lives look nothing like they usually do, and this can lead to decisions that one day may be regretted.

Recently, we drafted and negotiated the terms of a prenuptial agreement for a client who was initially planned to get married this summer – but his marriage was expedited shortly after Governor Cuomo’s announcement when his wife submitted for the opportunity to get married via video conference – and on television!  So while a prenuptial agreement typically gets prepared and negotiated within 6-8 weeks, here we didn’t have the luxury of time and we got it done within 48 hours – even coordinating remote notarization of the agreement.

If you are considering getting married remotely in New York, then contact the Sabra Law Group at 646-472-7971. Having a prenup drafted by the Sabra Law Group is the common sense approach to getting married in these unprecedented times. Call or click here to schedule a time to speak with someone in our office.
 

Parenting Tips for Quarantined Parents During COVID-19 Pandemic

 Parenting Tips Being a parent is challenging at the best of times, and in recent weeks, parents and kids have been thrown together in unusual circumstances. Adults and children may be having difficulty coping, which means that parenting tips are even more welcome now than ever before.

One of the best pieces of advice for parenting during the quarantine is to create as much stability as possible. For many families, this means establishing daily schedules. This may be critical for fostering a sense of predictability, orderliness, and calm. Stick to scheduled meal times as well as appointed hours for schoolwork, chores, sleep, and recreation. This helps the whole family to remain balanced.

Another helpful parenting tip is to exercise together. Whether it's a walk around the neighborhood, tossing a ball in the yard, or having a dance party, exercise is a fantastic mechanism for coping with stress. It releases positive endorphins, too, which can make everyone feel better and be a little more understanding during a difficult time.

Among the most useful parenting tips is the advice, to be honest with your kids. Without a doubt, they have many tough questions to ask right now. It's perfectly fine to let your kids know that you don't have all the answers. Remember that they are looking to you for information and comfort, so try to soothe their distress while also providing an age-appropriate amount of information.

Younger kids likely will get most of their information from you, but older children may see plenty of news stories and social media postings that may cause distress. Try to limit their access as much as is feasible or try going online together to look for credible sources that are conveying scientific data. If they go online alone, encourage your older kids to discuss the things they read with you.

Try to ensure that everyone in the family is getting at least a little bit of self-care every day. That might be time to read a favorite book, a moment to enjoy a piece of chocolate, a soak in the tub, watching an episode of a funny television show, or anything else that is fun and relaxing. This will go a long way toward keeping tempers cool.

Contact the Sabra Law Group at (646) 472-7971 for even more parenting tips, especially if you're considering a divorce. Sabra Law Group focuses on mediation and the healthy dissolution of marriage.

You can also download our “Ultimate Parenting During COVID-19 Guide" for immediate tips and parenting resources to help you during this difficult time.

10 Ways to Keep Busy at Home During Stay at Home Orders       

Stay at Home OrdersAt this point, practically the entire nation is on stay at home orders.  Staying at home is a new concept to many people who are so used to being out and about, socializing, going to work and running daily errands. 

 

There are ways to make your “stay at home” experience a pleasant and productive one.  Being forced to “stay at home” can be a positive experience if you plan for it appropriately.  Spend less time watching the news and more time on things that can help improve you personally, emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually.  Furthermore, use this time to connect more often with family and friends. 

 

 

Below are 10 Ideas for Things You Can Do While You Are Staying at Home

 

  1. Board Game Night: think back to the time when you were a little kid and how you enjoyed playing monopoly, cards, or even putting puzzles together.

 

  1. Movie Night: take a moment to stream a series on Netflix or watch a movie you have been meaning to watch. 

 

  1. Spring Cleaning: this is the perfect time to start that spring cleaning.  In addition to disinfecting your home, you can also organize your closet and pantry cabinets.  Another idea is to shred old mail and documents that may have piled up.

 

  1. Read a book:  even if you are not the type of person that likes to pick up an actual book and read it; you can try listening to a book on audible.

 

  1. Listen to a Podcast:  podcasts are great because they can be educational, entertaining, or inspirational, it all depends on what you are in the mood for.  Listening to a podcast also allows you to multi-task and prepare a meal or handle other chores around the house while you listen to the podcast.

 

 

  1. Workout at Home: working out is a great way to relieve stress and release endorphins, and we all know that this is definitely a time filled with uncertainty, anxiety, and stress.  You can download workout apps such as Home Workout, 7-Day Fitness or 30-Day Fitness. If you are not super athletic, then you can try meditation or Yoga:  meditating can be very therapeutic, and yoga is also a great way to bring a form of calmness into your life. 

 

 

  1. Go for a Walk: Going for a walk will really depend on your unique situation.  It may be easier to go for a walk when you live in a house vs. a high-rise.  If you live in a high-rise and want to go for a walk, it is best to wear a mask/cloth covering over your face and gloves on your hands.   By multiple people entering elevators, you may be exposed if you fail to protect yourself. If you are able to take a walk, it can be a great way to get some exercise and get some fresh air.

 

  1. Gardening: it’s a great time to plant some flowers, herbs, and fruits.  Since a lot of us are having to cook, having access to fresh herbs and fruits makes it easy to cook with.

 

  1. Cooking/Baking: by now, everyone has had to do some form of cooking; even if they previously only ate out.  Try cooking a healthy meal with a new recipe that you have never tried before.  Share your meal on social media or with your friends and also share the recipe with others so that your cooking skills may also benefit them.

 

  1. Expand Your Skills: use your time wisely to expand your skills by taking online courses or signing up for a challenge.  With the uncertainty of the job market right now, it is imperative to expand your skillset and have a back-up plan.

 

If the stress of staying at home with your spouse, having to co-work together from home as well as homeschooling the children is too much to handle, consider contacting Sabra Law Group for conflict resolution remote session by calling (646) 472-7971. 

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid Quarantine Quarrels with Your Mate

Quarantine QuarrelsWhile we all find ourselves practicing “social distancing” and under “stay at home” orders during the COVID19 pandemic, many couples are finding themselves confined to cohabitating in tight spaces 24 hours a day in an apartment, condo or home. 

 

For many people who normally work from an office, they are not really prepared to suddenly have to work from home.  In addition to suddenly having to work from home when your mate is there 24/7 as well as your kids, inevitably tensions will rise and “quarantine quarrels” to occur!  So, how can you manage to juggle this new way of life and avoid “quarantine quarrels” with your mate?

 

Follow the Tips Below to Avoid Quarantine Quarrels with Your Mate

 

  1. Designate a separate room to work in, if you can.  If you don’t have access to an additional room, then designate one particular area in your apartment or house to work from.  One thing that will drive your mate crazy is if you are all over the house on a work call and this prevents them from being able to use the kitchen or watch tv or work on your own business/job.  Please be respectful of your mate and limit working to your own area and clean up after yourself.

 

  1. It is imperative to set boundaries with your children and your mate.  You must make it clear that just because you are home does not mean you are available for constant interruptions throughout the day.  Instead, set up certain times during the day when your family knows that they can talk to you whether it be during your lunch break, afternoon break or after you are done with your workday.

 

  1. Agree to disagree with each other.  Realize that you will not agree with everything…and that is okay.  Instead of turning disagreements into full-blown arguments, agree that your mate is entitled to his/her opinion and you are entitled to your own.

 

  1. Take time out for self-care.  At a time like this, it is very important to take care of yourself and make time for the things that help you unwind and relax.  Whether that means getting out of the house and taking a walk or connecting with your friends via Zoom for a virtual happy hour or having a spa day at home – do it!

 

  1. If you do get into an argument, do not immediately resort to saying hurtful things that you will regret later; instead, take a moment to calmly collect your thoughts before responding.   By doing this, it will allow you to not make any rash decisions while you are in the heat of the moment. It is even okay to say, “can we continue this conversation” after work hours (which hopefully will allow both parties to calm down).

 

If this quarantine has pushed you to your limits and you have realized that you may need professional assistance, contact Sabra Law Group to schedule a remote conflict resolution appointment by calling (646) 472-7971.