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Fairfax Virginia Family Law Blog

Tips for effective communication with your ex

Effective co-parenting starts with effective communication. While it sounds simple enough, broken relationships have complicated aspects that divorced (or separated) parents have difficulty moving past. (After all, if the parties had good communication skills, chances are that they would not be getting divorced.) Nevertheless, stable communication between parents is essential to a child’s development. The following tips can help.

Put your anger and hurt aside – Again, this may sound easier said than done, but it is the most important aspect in how to manage communication. Try to recognize that co-parenting is not about your feelings, but about your child’s growth and development. If you have to blow off steam or work through things, seek counsel from a trusted friend or therapist so that you can maintain the correct focus.

Why litigation is often the best choice for divorce

Going through a divorce is a daunting experience. With so much to consider, including your mental, emotional and financial well-being, as well as that of your children if you have any, it’s understandable that many people want to get their divorce over with as quickly as possible.

Moving on emotionally is important, but many divorces are contentious and if you aren’t prepared to fight, you may be selling yourself short.

Should I start a divorce during the holidays?

If you are in a marriage that simply makes you sick (literally or figuratively) chances are that you have thought about initiating a divorce long before the holiday season started. Nevertheless, you may be ambivalent about starting it at this time of year. After all, it’s supposed to be “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Because of this, family and friends may not want you to spend the entire holiday season in a funk. Even while you may be depressed and angry with your situation, you still may want a way out. But what about the children who hold this time of the year so dear?

What to do after a Thanksgiving parenting time dispute

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, especially when a holiday falls on a Thursday. Unfortunately, some parents who are separated from their spouses were not able to spend Thanksgiving Day with their kids. But with the long weekend, there are three more days to relax and spend time with family.

The extra days should be an opportunity to put things in perspective as the holiday season approaches. Thanksgiving weekend, like the holiday season, is a collection of days that define a time where families get together. This means that even if a parent is not able to spend time on the actual “day” of the holiday, there are additional times to share special time. Additionally, it is important for disgruntled parents to know that family court judges expect parents to share the holidays.

What should I know about the best interests factors?

Parents who are facing divorce may be concerned about losing custody and being relegated to “weekend parents,” where they only see their kids on alternating weekends and a spare night during the week. Indeed, Virginia family court judges are charged with making custody decisions based on the factors set forth in Virginia Code §20-124.3, also known as the best interest factors.

Indeed, there are a number of factors that can make up a custody decision, but as a concerned parent, you want to know just how judges use them. While it is not legal advice, this post will provide some insight.

How concerned should you be about electronic information?

One would think that infidelity would be easier in the 21st century, with so many tools available to initiate and maintain clandestine relationships. With text messages to burner phones, phony or temporary social media identities and private online personas, one would think that being caught cheating would be next to impossible.

However, these modes of communication are anything but safe. If you are familiar with cyber-intrusion and unauthorized access of private email servers, you should know that unearthing hidden information about such relationships is entirely possible... and easier than you might think. 

What to expect in a divorce as a stay-at-home parent

Divorce can be even more stressful as a stay-at-home parent. If your spouse is the primary earner, you may be wondering if you'll be able to maintain your standard of living following your separation.

Even if you made little or no income during your marriage, you have the right to maintain your lifestyle following a divorce. While Virginia law offers few absolutes in regards to property division and spousal support, you do have rights when it comes to finances and property acquired during your marriage.

Common insurance concerns before filing for divorce

The key to a successful divorce is planning. Getting organized and setting things in motion can be easier said than done, especially in the midst of the holidays, which will be here before we know it. It is understandable that the sadness and anxiety that comes with knowing that a relationship is over can be overwhelming. Add that to the unanswered questions of child custody, financial support and property division, and it is no wonder that potential divorcees have a hard time in November and December.

As with the old adage "knowledge is power", answering questions can also be a source of comfort. As such, the following nuggets of information about insurance coverage can be helpful.

How to deal with a difficult ex during Halloween

Holidays are supposed to bring out the best in people.  Unfortunately, the drive to make things "perfect" may bring out the worst in people. This is especially true when it comes to warring parents planning Halloween festivities, because of how difficult and petty a parent can be about having their way. Even when an exception can (and should) be made, a difficult parent may want to make things as challenging as possible simply because they can.

As family law attorneys, we see this all the time; a parent who is obsessed with having control over the child and their ex. And when they don't have it, they do not deal with it well. This could result in angry outbursts and defiance. It is almost as if they believe that if they make things very difficult for you, you may give in and let them have their way.

Are grandparents entitled to parenting time?

In some families, grandparents are such an integral part of a child’s life, it is easy to assume that they automatically have custody rights. After all, more grandparents are raising children compared to past generations. According to a 2012 U.S. Census Bureau report, 7 million grandparents had at least one grandchild living with them.

Despite the number of grandparents involved with their grandchildren, grandparent’s rights are not automatically given. Instead, a grandparent must petition the court to have parenting time in the same fashion that an unmarried father must do. 

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