Parenting

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 Tackle the Biggest Divorce Challenge: Telling Your Children About Divorce

telling children about divorce

Telling your children about divorce is one of the most difficult situations to be put in; the hardest part is initially breaking the news of divorce to your children.

 

Follow the 5 tips below on telling your children about divorce

 

  1. Carefully determine what you will say to your children:  it is essential to prepare for the divorce conversation prior to having it with your children.  Get out your notebook or laptop and write your thoughts out so you can visually see them.  Once you have gotten all of your thoughts on paper or a notepad on your computer, determine what the most important key points are and make a separate list.  Make sure that you can create a script that also produces a nurturing environment for your children.  Anticipate what questions your children may have and write down all possible scenarios with possible answers.
  2. Convey that the divorce has nothing to do with them:  this is one of the most important things that you can communicate with your children.  Children (especially young children), often think that they did something to cause the divorce or break up the family; this is why it is so essential to ask your children how they are feeling and ensure that they do not have any feelings of self-blame.
  3. Be prepared for any type of reaction from your children:  sometimes children will show their reactions immediately, and sometimes, children may display a delayed reaction; it is important to recognize delayed reactions when they do happen.  If you notice your children acting out or becoming distant or appearing depressed, it is best to sit down with your children and have a talk.  Once you can get to the bottom of their emotions and feelings, you need to determine if this is something you can help them get through or if you need to get professional help.  Do not hesitate to take your children to a therapist or counselor if necessary.
  4. Don’t shock your children: if your children are old enough to understand that there may be an existing issue with your marriage, then you can be upfront with them, however; if your children are either too young to understand or have no idea that your marriage is on the rocks, it is best to give some idea prior to having “the divorce” discussion.  Children are more likely to handle it better if they have some idea that there is already a problem.
  5. Provide reassurance:  reassure your children that you love them and that they will always come first and that the marriage not working out has nothing to do with them.  Let them know that they will still get to see both parents and that if there will be a change in where they reside that you will do your best to communicate that to them in advance and take their preferences into consideration. 

 

Telling Your Children About Divorce is Never Easy

 

If you need assistance in any divorce matters that involve your children (such as coming up with a child custody arrangement that puts your children first), contact Sabra Law Group 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons Why a Toxic Marriage is More Harmful to Your Children Than Divorce

toxic marriageIs it better for your children for you to stay in a toxic marriage instead of getting a divorce? Research suggests that it nearly always is the most sensible for unhappy parents to go their separate ways.

Let's take a closer look at why staying in a toxic marriage usually is more harmful to your children than getting a divorce.

1. It can damage self-esteem

Most children are highly intuitive, and they pick up on negative emotions. Low self-esteem and feelings of unworthiness are common characteristics of children who grow up in high-conflict environments.

Divorce can give kids a happier home life, which helps them build healthy self-esteem.

2. They believe that all relationships are dysfunctional

Children model the behavior that they see in their parents. When they observe their parents constantly being unhappy, they grow up believing that this is what relationships are like. It's not unusual for these children to become depressed and pessimistic about the chances that they will find happiness with a romantic partner.

3. You're not as available for your child

Dealing with an unhappy relationship takes time and energy. You're fighting with your partner or spending time stewing or being distracted. When you're mired in a cycle of fights and depression, then you're not as present and available for your children as you would be if you were happier.

Living in a one-parent home will make you a better parent.

4. Kids may look for unhealthy ways to numb their emotions

Children and teens are developing the coping skills that will help them to deal with adverse circumstances as adults. With your help, they can develop coping strategies that are healthful, productive and effective.

However, children whose parents are trapped in an unhealthy marriage are more likely to develop habits to help them numb their emotions. These habits could be things like overeating, getting in fights, spending too much screen-time online and losing interest in school.

5. Kids may be uncomfortable in their own homes

Children thrive on structure and predictability. How can they cope when their parents are frequently at odds? When they don't know what to expect, they are incapable of relaxing in their home.

Are you dealing with a toxic marriage? If so, then it's time to consider your options by consulting with a legal professional at the Sabra Law Group. Call attorney Sabra Sasson today at (646) 472-7971 to learn more or click here to schedule a complimentary Discovery Session.

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

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