The Law, as written, empowers Judges to protect children from parental alienation. They have the tools at their disposal to determine the presence of abuse.
The legal profession and the psychological profession are failing to protect children from a foreseeable harm, by ignoring the dynamics of power and control and the presence of Domestic Violence. The Courts who are responsible for managing the conflict and are beholden on the Psychological professionals and forensic evaluators to understand the conflict. The law empowers Judges to also obtain information about the conflict through other methods, such as Guardian Ad Litems, Parenting Coordinators, and Court Appointed Special Advocates.
One of the toughest challenges separating or divorcing parents face is sharing those special holidays that were always a family affair. Remember that not only are you facing the challenge but so to are your children. They are already confused and conflicted about why their family stability is no longer a place of refuge. If you are not the couple who can still share the holiday time together as a family, here are a few tips to help you survive and to build new holiday memories with and for your children.
1. If it is not your year to share the holiday with your children, don’t sit at home alone! Don’t listen to sad music or watch old home movies of years gone by. Keep moving. Find a new project such as a local charity walk/run being held that day or a local soup kitchen that is serving Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless. Let your children know, you are excited to be involved with this new adventure, otherwise they may feel guilty leaving you alone while they are having fun with the other parent.
2. Start a new tradition with the children which will help them and you enjoy the holiday in a different way. Maybe it is making special decorations, or going to their favorite restaurant or game day. I know a family that plays holiday Jeopardy for real money. (Dimes and Quarters) Holidays can become a week long celebration, allowing everyone to enjoy them in their own unique way.
3. Call your children either on the morning of the holiday or later in the evening. Don’t call them in the middle of the day or several times. It will again not only disrupt their time but cause them to feel guilty if they are enjoying themselves.
4. If you are the parent who is with your children on this holiday, focus on sharing time with them, you too should create new traditions. Playing games will help keep your children focused on the holiday fun rather than on their family no longer sharing the holiday together.
4. Parents if you are spending this holiday without your children, remember next year will be your turn and you have plenty of time to plan for an amazing holiday.
5. Don’t try to outdo the other parent’s celebration events, make yours unique to you and the kids so they can enjoy an expanded holiday season with all of the people they love. Trust me, it will may your holiday more enjoyable as well.
Gail Linscott Silva
These suggestions for a divorced family Christmas will help give the gift of love and harmony. Christmas and divorce for kids can be peaceful, not painful.
Thoughts of Christmas and divorce many not immediately stir feelings of peace and joy, but a divorced family Christmas doesn’t have to be difficult. These practical suggestions for Christmas and divorce for kids can help bring peace and harmony.
The following tips are geared toward families newly divorced at Christmas, but they can ease tensions for families who have spent many divorced family Christmases together (or apart).
- Ask your kids what Christmas traditions they want to keep. They may be attached to old family rituals – or the traditions may be too painful for your kids. Consider creating new Christmas family traditions. Listen to your kids; they may know how to make a divorced family Christmas joyful and harmonious.
- Consider spending Christmas somewhere else. If you have always spent it at your parents’ place but think it may be too painful this year, consider going to a close friend’s for Christmas. Diverting attention away from … (read more)
Shouldn’t responsible parents be considered equals?
Mayo – Sun Sentinel
Like divorce itself, the latest bill was messy and complicated. It roused strong emotions from supporters and detractors, who clashed in the governor’s office before Scott wielded his veto pen.
Supporters say they might try again next year, but may split the two main issues — alimony reform and child custody — into separate bills. At this point, I have to wonder if Scott will approve any divorce overhaul.
The key sticking point this time, according to Scott’s veto message: A starting premise that custody, now known as “time-sharing,” should be equally divided between parents. Scott made it seem as if the best interests of children would get lost.
But that wasn’t the case. Judges would still weigh 20 other factors before making a final determination. There’d still be plenty of chances for parents and their lawyers to tilt the custody scales in their favor.
The equal-time provision would be only a starting point, a way to level the playing field in an area that historically has been stacked against fathers.
“If people truly consider men and women as equals, then this [provision] shouldn’t be an issue,” said Lori Barkus, a family law attorney from Weston who supported the bill (SB 668). “A lot of people opposed to time-sharing are operating on emotions and outdated assumptions.”
As an example, check out this quote by bill opponent Adele Guadalupe to WPTV-Ch. 5 in West Palm Beach. “What did the father do? He contributed his sperm,” said Guadalupe, co-founder of women’s advocacy group Families Against Court Travesties. “The mother carried the baby for nine months. The mother had the nausea and threw up, probably had to give up her job. The mother had to give birth, the mother has to breastfeed the child. All of the sudden, the mother counts for nothing and the father has a 50-percent right to this child when it’s young? It goes against nature. It goes against justice.”
As the devoted and divorced father of a 10-year-old girl, I disagree. Biology precluded me from gestating or lactating, but I changed nearly all the dirty diapers and had plenty of bonding time with my daughter when she was young. Why shouldn’t I get a presumption of equality when it comes to future parenting rights during a divorce?
Fortunately, my ex and I were able to work out an amicable time-sharing arrangement through mediation. We submitted the parenting plan and a contract known as a “marital separation agreement” to a judge for approval.
For those who can’t work things out on their own, the divorce judge acts as the referee and state law is the rulebook.
As it stands, Florida divorce law is vague. It calls for children to have “frequent and continuing contact with both parents,” and says that “parental responsibility for a minor child [on matters such as education and health care] shall be shared by both parents,” unless a judge finds it would be “detrimental” to the child. Current law also says that the time-sharing schedule shouldn’t be predisposed to favor one side or the other, and should be determined by numerous factors.
That sounds a lot like the 50-50 starting premise, only with fuzzier language. And that’s a problem, according to Barkus, because some judges hew to the old way of thinking that children should spend more time with their mothers.
“There are inconsistencies throughout the state, depending on the judge,” Barkus told me.
The anti-father antipathy displayed by some of the bill opponents strikes me as sexist and antiquated.
Times and thinking change. How would these women feel if someone pushed a provision spelling out that mothers should teach kids about cooking, sewing and cleaning and that fathers should handle tools, cars and sports?
Barkus said recent research indicates more equitable time-sharing arrangements lead to better outcomes for children. But it might lead to worse finances for mothers who lose time with kids, because child-support payments are based on a formula pegged to custody time and income disparity. Barkus said even with 50-50 sharing, the higher earner would still have to pay child support.
Scott’s veto also means the current alimony system stays in place, with amounts set by the length of marriage and income levels. It is less onerous to end short and medium-term marriages, but leaving long-term marriages (17 years or longer) will remain expensive and can still end up forcing one side to pay until death. Depending on who’s doing the leaving and why, that might be appropriate.
But there shouldn’t be an incentive for an alimony recipient to unfairly milk an ex-spouse, either through avoiding work or never marrying again. Just as there shouldn’t be a child-custody system that’s stacked against willing and able fathers.
By Michael Mayo Sun Sentinel Columnist
Shared a link — reading The Equal Parent Presumption: Social Justice in the Legal Determination of Parenting After Divorce at Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust. · Miami, FL ·
In vetoing family law bill, governor emphasizes child-custody sharing clause and putting needs of children first Thousands of people submitted comments on both sides of divorce reform…here’s one of our favorite comments R. Michael Brown originally shared to Guys With Kids (Important Discussion):…