Custody

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 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.
 

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.

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.

Manhattan Child Custody Mediator Explains What You Should Know About Relocating After Divorce

Manhattan Child Custody Mediator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are considering moving to a new state after your divorce, it is important to put your children’s best interest first in addition to considering the other parent’s custody rights.

 

Consult a Local Divorce Attorney for Laws That Apply to Your State

 

Laws on custodial rights and relocating your children may vary from state to state, however, usually the custodial parent has to provide the noncustodial parent with a formal written notice with the intent to move. If the noncustodial parent wants to object to the move, he or she can file a formal objection with the court.  Once the objection with the court has been filed, it is up to the judge to schedule a “move away” trial and determine what is in the best interest of the children’s welfare.

 

Some Factors That the Court Uses to Determine the Outcome

 

  1. The stability of the children’s relationship is evaluated as well as the extent of involvement from each parent and even grandparents or siblings.
  2. The actual intent behind the parent seeking the move as well as the parent opposing the move.
  3. Any prior patterns of relocation that indicate what type of impact it had on the children
  4. Evaluating the quality of life that the relocation may provide for the children
  5. The financial implications of the move or prevention of the move
  6. The age of the children as well as their maturity level

 

 

A Manhattan Child Custody Mediator Can Help

 

It is possible to resolve the issue of relocating with children without taking it to court.  A child custody mediator can help you resolve difficult issues pertaining to child custody without the stress and added financial expenses of court.  There are a lot of considerations that have to be sorted out such as:  who will pay for the children’s travel to be able to see the noncustodial parent, and if the children’s schedule with school would allow time for visits during the year and what times of the year those visits would be scheduled.

 

Contact Manhattan child custody mediator Sabra Sasson today at (646) 472-7971 for a confidential consultation on your child custody matter.