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Montgomery County Divorce Law Blog

Keeping a parenting journal could win your custody case

Clarksville parents do a lot of heavy lifting for their children – and some parents do a great deal more than others. If you're one of those parents who serves as the primary caretaker of your child, you are shouldering a tremendous amount of work. If you can prove the work that you perform, the family law court that decides your child custody case will give you preference when it comes to making its decisions. For this reason, it's essential that you keep a daily journal of your parenting activities.

Here's what parents should include in their parenting journal to help protect their custody rights:

  • A dated entry for every day you did something on behalf of or with your child.
  • Information about entertainment activities with your children.
  • A notation of work and chores performed on behalf of your kids.
  • Notations about doctor and dentist appointments
  • Morning activities like waking your children up, breakfast and lunch preparation, hygienic tasks and transporting the kids to school
  • Evening activities like picking the children up from school, dinner preparation, bathing, helping with homework, reading bedtime stories and putting the children to bed.
  • Notes about behavior and anything else you can think of.

Is divorce more frequent at the end of summer?

Although it may seem unusual to consider, research has found that divorce filings tend to follow a seasonal pattern. Researchers from the University of Washington found that divorces tend to spike in the months of March and August each year.

What various factors might play into this seasonal cycle? With the end of summer upon us, examine this information to determine whether you may find yourself in a similar situation if you are currently pondering divorce.

My spouse moved in violation of our child custody agreement

A spouse with shared child custody -- in most cases -- cannot simply move away with the child from the other parent without permission. Instead, both parents must agree on important decisions like this, which could negatively affect the relationship between the child and the parent who's left behind.

Since most parents want to continue to have a relationship with their children, the parent who doesn't want to move will usually reject any request to move, and the moving parent will be subject to some limitations. Those limitations could involve not being able to move more than 50 or 100 miles from the parent's current residence, and/or an inability to move across state lines.

When looking for hidden assets in a divorce: Search everything

Finding hidden money in a contentious divorce process isn't entirely difficult. With the aid of a skilled divorce attorney and a forensic accountant, you probably won't miss a penny during your investigations. Here are some of the most important places your legal team will search while trying to dig up any assets your ex-spouse is trying to keep hidden:

Artwork, hobby equipment, antiques and collectibles

Is there such a thing as too many rules in parenting plans?

Parenting plans are a great way to ensure that co-parenting runs as smoothly as possible. The best plans tend to cover many areas such as vacations, holidays, information sharing between the parents, child care, health care, religion and travel. However, is it possible to go overboard and to instill too many rules within each area?

Absolutely, yes. For example, too many rules in parenting plans may have to do with bedtimes, what foods are allowed, ages of babysitters and how many books a child should read per week.

Ex-military spouses: You might be able to receive retirement pay

Ex-military spouses have the right to receive a portion of their ex-spouse's retirement benefits. This right is protected by the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA), which was enacted in 1982 by Congress. The law permits state courts to treat military retired pay as retirement benefits that are a part of the marital estate, and therefore, divisible in accordance with state property division laws.

The Department of Defense (DOD) can also order the division of military retired pay if the ex-spouse of the military servicemember can prove that his or her marriage to the servicemember overlapped at least 10 years of the servicemember's military service. In cases where there was less than 10 years of overlap, however, the state court can still divide the military retired pay as it deems to be appropriate given the facts and circumstances surrounding the marriage and divorce.

What's the best way to talk about a prenuptial agreement?

Imagine you've been dating the love of your life for the last three years, and you want to get married, but you're terrified of the possibility of divorce. Both of your parents have been divorced twice, so you have a realistic view of marriage and you don't want to experience the kind of contentious and costly meltdown that divorce can sometimes be.

Let's cut to the chase: You want your future spouse to sign a prenuptial agreement and you don't know how to bring up the topic. Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Prenuptial agreements are viewed more realistically these days, and they don't have the same kind of stigma as they used to. Essentially, your future spouse will probably not look at your prenup like it's a "gold digger prevention kit."
  • It's common for couples to wait until they're older before getting married. This means that many couples have more money that they need to protect by the time they get married.
  • Your future spouse might be just as interested in a prenuptial agreement as you are considering that modern marriages are more likely to end in divorce than marriages in the past.
  • Focus on the benefits of a prenuptial agreement and that it's not only about divorce planning; it may also about estate planning.
  • See your prenup as a pathway to marriage -- something that allows you to breath easier and overcome your fears and tribulations about marriage and divorce, rather than a sad or gloomy topic.

3 obstacles that can come up in adoption

Adoption is a joyous occasion and a noble pursuit. Whether you are taking in a child from a foreign country or legally affirming yourself as the parent of a partner's child, the process is a great way to expand your family and take responsibility for the children you care about. Still, there are often obstacles that make an adoption less than straightforward.  

Anybody planning to adopt should be aware of potential difficulties. These are three of the obstacles that most commonly arise throughout the adoption process. 

Did a pattern of non-stop arguing result in your divorce?

Arguing is toxic. If you can't stop arguing with your spouse, then you are familiar with just how toxic these patterns can be. You get home from work, you notice your spouse left the milk out on the counter again, you ask why, and suddenly a two-hour argument ensues and it only ends when you decide to lock yourself in the bathroom. When these kinds of situations are happening on a daily basis, it's time to seek help from a marriage counselor or simply bring your marriage to a close through divorce.

Here are two argument patterns spouses need to watch out for:

How do parents support each other's relationships with the child?

Good co-parents will always encourage their children to have love for the other parent, and they will never speak ill of the other parent in front of the child. However, as much as this is true, and as much as parents say they agree with it, they might not always be true to these precepts in their actions.

For this reason, parents may want to include specific language within their parenting agreements that requires the other parent to adhere to certain standards of decency when it comes to preserving the sacredness of the child's relationship with the other parent.

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Clarksville, TN 37040

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