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Montgomery County Divorce Law Blog

Helping your teens adjust to your divorce

While divorcing when you have young children can be challenging, so can ending a marriage when you have teenagers. While teens are better able to understand a parental break-up than younger kids, that doesn't make things easier for them.

Some parents make the mistake of sharing too much about the reasons for the break-up with their teens. They aren't your best friend or your therapist. Save the details and the criticism of your spouse for other adults.

5 helpful co-parenting apps

Co-parenting is a challenging process. While you may believe it is best for your children to have close relationships with both parents, it comes with its fair share of frustrations and complexities. You must stay in consistent communication with your ex-spouse, coordinate schedules and switch the kids between houses.

Thankfully, there are plenty of tools available to assist you with co-parenting. Here are a few apps that can help you achieve your co-parenting goals. 

Some simple words can help your co-parenting relationship

Most parents teach their kids at a young age that simple courtesies, like saying "please" and "thank you," are important. However, couples often forget to use these words when talking to each other. If a marriage is deteriorating, such niceties may become nonexistent.

However, as you and your former spouse work to co-parent your children, it's time to bring them back. They can go a long way toward showing respect for your co-parent and make a request seem less like a demand.

What divorced parents need to know about relocation

At some point after a divorce and while their children are still minors, many parents face the issue of relocation. If you're the custodial parent, you can't just pack up and move when a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity comes along in another state, or you need to help care for an aging parent who lives thousands of miles away. Your co-parent (assuming that they have parental rights) needs to approve that move. If they don't, a court will.

The court has a duty to look after the best interests of your children. If you're seeking court approval to relocate with them, you'll have to show that you have a "good faith" reason to do so. Examples of good faith reasons to relocate include:

  • Taking a new job that's already been offered (not just moving and then planning to look for a job)
  • Moving to an area with a lower cost of living
  • Being close to extended family who will help care for your children
  • Seeking a degree or otherwise continuing your education

Common Tennessee child support modification myths

The payor or the recipient may desire post-divorce child support modifications for many reasons. If a recipient notices her spouse, who works at a low-wage job, suddenly drives a red Mustang GT350, brags online about luxury resort vacations and flashes a two-carat diamond pinky ring on Instagram, she may suspect that unknown to the court, his job title changed from fry-cook to master chef.

On the other hand, if a payor notices that her ex-spouse, who cannot work due to a permanent back injury, is the lead story on the local news for winning the state golf championship, she may suspect the father of her children has made a miraculous recovery and should begin paying child support.

How do judges determine what's in a child's 'best interests?'

If you're working with your co-parent towards a custody agreement or if the two of you can't reach an agreement and the matter is going to a judge to decide, you'll likely hear a lot of talk about what's in the "best interests" of your children. Family courts throughout the country, including those here in Tennessee, use this as a determining factor in deciding custody cases.

With that in mind, if you're seeking sole custody or even perhaps a 50-50 shared custody arrangement, you'll need to show the court that:

  • You and your children have a strong relationship
  • You can provide your children with a loving, stable home
  • You can meet your children's physical and emotional needs
  • You are healthy physically and mentally
  • You will support their continued relationship with your co-parent

Convincing a court of your co-parent's substance abuse problem

If you're divorcing a co-parent with an alcohol or drug abuse issue -- or if your co-parent has developed an issue since your original custody agreement was worked out -- you're likely concerned for the safety and well-being of your kids. You may be seeking sole physical custody and perhaps supervised visitation for the other parent.

However, if your spouse is fighting you on the issue and the matter is being decided by a judge, you need to be prepared to substantiate your claims in court. You'll have to provide evidence of your co-parent's substance abuse problem -- particularly if they deny having one.

How to deal with false child abuse accusations

Perhaps the most damaging allegation that a person going through a divorce can make about their spouse is that they have abused their children. Unfortunately, false allegations of abuse occur in some contentious divorces and child custody battles.

In some cases, a parent truly believes that their co-parent has been abusive -- perhaps because of something a child has said or may be based on the suspicions of a relative or friend. In other cases, however, people will knowingly level a false accusation at their spouse to gain greater custody rights or simply to punish them. Meanwhile, the children caught in the middle may be the ones who suffer the most.

7 times when sole custody is the best option

When you decided to become a parent, you pledged to always put your child’s best interests first. After all, few things are more rewarding than watching a child grow into a well-adjusted, productive and decent adult. Following a divorce, joint custody gives both parents the ability to share parenting responsibilities. Often, this approach encourages children to thrive in a post-divorce world. 

While you may want to work collaboratively with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to dissolve your marriage, you may not think joint custody is a healthy strategy for your children. Here are seven times when pursuing sole custody usually makes sense: 

Divorce doesn't have to mean the end of other relationships

If you're divorcing your spouse after many years together, you may feel like you're not just losing a partner but your entire social circle and support system.

Friends may disappear. When couples divorce, their friends (particularly other couples) often feel like they have to choose sides and continue socializing with one or the other spouse. They may avoid both of them.

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