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Our goal is to keep you educated about news related to family law in Tennessee. Check back here often for updates and blog posts from our attorneys.

Halloween for Separated Parents

Halloween for Separated Parents

Halloween may not be an adult’s favorite holiday, but for a kid, it is one of the best nights of the year. Endless candy, getting to dress up as their favorite character, pumpkins, and so much more amazing fun makes it one of the most fun holidays. For separated parents, this fun holiday can be challenging. We have listed some different options for how you can make Halloween an amazing memory for your child.

Make Plans Early

Most parents like to wait to make Halloween plans until the week before Halloween because their kids change their mind last minute about their costumes or where they want to go trick-or-treating. However, when you are making plans as separated parents, it is important to make your plans early. You and your child’s parent will need to discuss plans for the roles that will take place on Halloween. Weather it is trick-or-treating together or splitting up the evening, early planning is helpful.

Share Pictures

When you have to spend a holiday without your child, it leaves you feeling like you are missing out on special moments. If you have your child for the holiday, you should consider sending pictures and updates to your child’s parent, that way they can feel like they were a part of the special day.

Respect the Rules

If you have the holiday with your child, you should still respect your former partner’s wishes. If they have rules about candy, checking in, or curfew, you should remind your child of the rules, if it is in their best interest. If your child has a phone, consider turning on their location, so your former partner can monitor their location throughout the night.

It is important to keep the holiday carefree for your child. If you are in need of mediation services this holiday season, contact us at (615) 890-3656.

Drafting Your Fall Parenting Plan

Drafting Your Fall Parenting Plan

Fall is full of great activities you and your little ones can share—going to the pumpkin patch, doing a haunted hayride, apple picking, and more. However, if you and your child’s co-parent are separated, it is essential to create a parenting plan to navigate your child’s busy schedule this season.

Plan Ahead

Fall isn’t here yet but preparing yourself for the upcoming season will help set your child’s expectations for the time they will spend with you and your co-parent. In addition, having an agreed-upon plan with your co-parent ahead of time may help mitigate any schedule mix-ups or confusion.

Be Prepared to Compromise

We know there are a million fun fall activities you want your child to experience but depending on the time you can spend with them, you may not get to do every single one. So be prepared to compromise—you may be able to have a fun day at the pumpkin patch, but your co-parent has always wanted to take them to the apple orchard. It is important to be willing to compromise, so no burden is put on your child.

Leave Room for Error

There may be minor hiccups or changes that need to be made to your parenting plan as you go through the season. If you have divorced recently, there are bound to be mistakes that happen as you settle into this new phase of life. Remember to give yourself grace when going through this season.

Murfreesboro Family Law’s team of attorneys are experienced in divorce, child custody, child support, adoption, and grandparent’s rights. If you need assistance drafting a parenting plan or with a child custody case, please contact us at 615-890-3656 for a consultation.

Co-Parenting Through the School Year

Co-Parenting Through the School Year

Now that school is back in session, co-parenting may become more complicated due to extracurricular activities, homework, parent-teacher conferences, sporting events, and anything else that the school year brings. This can be a challenging transition phase for co-parenting, so we have compiled a list of tips to help this school year run smoothly.

Communicate 

When co-parenting throughout the school year, keeping your former partner updated on events and activities is essential. Communicating when your child is at home sick, has a library book due, or has homework to complete is vital to maintaining a healthy relationship throughout the school year. Always inform your former partner of any of your child’s goals or projects throughout the school year to help reduce the stress on your child. You could also consider making an online calendar that you can both update regularly. This will help you stay informed about your child’s upcoming activities throughout the school year.

Be Proactive

Divorce can put unintended stress on your child. Stay proactive throughout the school year to prevent any additional strain on your child. Make sure you are aware of any projects your child needs to complete, and consider contacting their teacher to discuss your child’s current home situation. Above all, always provide an open door of communication for your child and what they may be feeling.

Remain Positive 

If you and your former partner are experiencing stress trying to navigate this school year, avoid conflict and prioritize your child’s best interest. Remain positive, so your child can feel calm and secure throughout the year.

If you live in Murfreesboro, Rutherford County, or middle Tennessee and need help navigating divorce, child custody, and co-parenting, please contact us at (615) 890-3656.

Preparing for a Summer of Co-parenting

Preparing for a Summer of Co-parenting

Summer break is the highlight of your child’s year, but for a parent with a custody agreement, summer break can be a stressful time. Avoiding stress can ensure both you and your child have a relaxing, fun summer. Here are steps you can take to help make summer break less stressful.

 

Develop a co-parenting plan

Developing a co-parenting plan for the break will help make the summer run smoother for everyone involved. If you and your former partner are on good terms, together you can create a plan for the summer. However, you may consider involving a mediator if you have had difficulty agreeing on co-parenting terms before.

 

Make vacation plans known in advance

Throughout the summer, it is common for families to schedule vacations. If you schedule a vacation that does not fall on the dates that you have with your child, make sure your child’s other parent knows in advance that you wish to include your child. This gives you time to discuss revising the schedule to accommodate these plans.

 

Update your plans as your child grows

As your child ages, the plans need to be updated. It is important to realize that a plan you made last summer with your child’s parent may not work for this summer. Co-parenting will be less stressful when both parties are willing to adapt to a new plan.

Effects Of Parental Separation And Divorce On Children

Effects Of Parental Separation And Divorce On Children

Divorce continues to become more prevalent, so it becomes critical to understand its impact on children and to establish ways to protect them from the potentially damaging effects. Fortunately, a sizeable body of research in multiple areas surrounding divorce and parenting exists. It resulted in considerable amounts of information, and it is now known how divorce exactly impacts children, both in the short and long term.

This research also determined the major risks and protective factors that predict how children cope. Specific factors within parental control have the single greatest impact on children, and we now know what specific behaviors provide a lasting positive effect. According to research, effective parenting that includes both warmth and discipline, develops positive parent-child relationships, and also manages conflict, are the three most important factors in protecting children.

This, of course, depends upon the parents’ own well-being and their ability to function effectively. According to JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, PhD a leading Clinical Psychologist, “by learning how to manage their own conflict, continuing to parent well, and at the same time nurturing warm and loving relationships with their children, parents have the ability to effect powerful, positive influence on their children, even while they experience difficult changes in their own lives. Many children profited from their parents’ enduring love and their determination to put their children first – ahead of their own personal heartache.”

Pedro-Carrol notes that underlying the ability to parent effectively and foster strong relationships is developing the ability to listen for children’s hidden emotions and assisting them in articulating their feelings. Children experience divorce deeply and personally, and the depth of emotion it brings might overwhelm them. The potential for negative short- and long-term consequences is considerably higher for children whose parents divorce than for those from non-divorced families, so listening becomes even more important.

Many factors can help reduce risks and promote a child’s resilience. However, divorce can interfere with effective parenting and deprive children of nurturing from parents who become preoccupied with their own personal suffering. Also, divorce is frequently followed by a decline in income for the custodial parent and his or her children.

Early studies suggested that children from families that experience a divorce and remarriage are more likely to drop out of school, get into trouble with the law, abuse drugs or alcohol, and exhibit emotional distress compared with children who grow up with both biological parents.

The most important way to minimize emotional harm to children involved in a separation and divorce is to ensure that children maintain a close, secure relationship with both parents, unless there is spousal or child abuse or neglect, or parental substance abuse. Evidence shows that children with cooperative parents cope better. Those children who adjust best maintain regular contact with a caring, and supportive adult like a parent, relative, or teacher.

Tips For a Peaceful Divorce

Tips For a Peaceful Divorce

The way you conduct yourself during your divorce lays the groundwork for your recovery and life afterward. That’s why taking steps toward an amicable process helps you move forward.

Negotiate the terms of the divorce in good faith.

It can be helpful for you to gain an understanding of divorce laws related to property division and child custody. For example, retirement benefits might be viewed as marital assets; however, there is no obligation to divide future retirement savings. A court might order the division of benefits that would typically be processed by the retirement-fund administrator. This could allow each share to be managed independently.

Place the needs of your children first.

When children are involved, create a constructive parenting plan, and become a good co-parent even before your divorce case becomes finalized.

Child-rearing issues can be some of the most contentious matters along with their related financial arrangements, all while under the scrutiny of both parties, their lawyers, and the court system. In trying to avoid litigating every detail, an individual might suggest negotiating an agreement without the court to help save time, stress on everyone, especially the children, as well as avoiding fees. Collaboration or mediation could be alternative methods to simplify the process; however, proceed with caution should the opposing party seem to be making unreasonable demands.

It might be helpful to request the appointment of a temporary advocate or guardian to represent the needs of the children in a highly contentious case.

Maintain mutual respect.

Create an environment of mutual respect and dignity as you work through the terms of the settlement agreement. Maintaining mutual respect with a soon-to-be-ex might be challenging considering certain circumstances. With infidelity, abuse, addiction, etc., your overwhelming desire may be to hire a lawyer who would be ready to fight it out in court and win at any cost. However, lengthy court battles often only result in additional financial, emotional, and physical strain, so consider the entire cost of that path before proceeding. Try to enter the process with a shared desire to remain civil throughout the divorce. Though mutual respect might be challenging, it will spare you and any children from additional unnecessary anxiety throughout the proceedings.

Focus on the big picture.

Spouses could spend vast amounts of money in a high-asset divorce case adding more and more fees as they quarrel over minor matters. Your divorce lawyer could be helpful in streamlining the issues, ensuring that a fair settlement is proposed.

Contact Murfreesboro Family Law at (615) 890-3656 to discuss your case with one of our experienced and skilled attorneys. We are here to listen to every detail and we will work with you to form a strategic plan to meet your needs.

Grandparent’s Visitation Rights in Tennessee

Grandparent’s Visitation Rights in Tennessee

Grandparents pursuing additional visitation with their grandchild(ren) need to understand the rules for grandparent visitation in Tennessee. There is no federal law governing grandparent visitation rights, so the parents’ wishes will usually win in a court battle. Although parents are more likely to win, grandparents may get visitation rights if it is proven to be in the child’s best interests.

For a court to consider visitation rights for grandparents, the grandparent must prove at least one or more of these factors are present:

  • One of the child’s parents is deceased
  • The parents are divorced, separated, or never legally married
  • One of the parents has been missing for six months or longer
  • A court in another state has required grandparent visitation
  • The child lived in the grandparent’s home for a least a year and was removed by the parent(s)
  • The child and grandparent have an important bond and breaking off the relationship could harm the child

For the last factor, the grandparent will need to prove actual harm. It is not enough that the child will miss the grandparent. The grandparent will have to prove that the child will suffer emotional damage if the relationship ends, the grandparent was the primary caregiver for at least six months and the child will be traumatized from the emotional loss, or the loss of the relationship will put the child in danger or risk of harm.

Grandparents can have a major impact in the lives of their grandchildren. It is very common for grandparent visitation to be cut short or completely cut off when the parents divorce or when one parent dies. In the state of Tennessee, grandparents have legitimate standing to seek visitation rights with their grandchild(ren) in certain situations. In the end, the best interests of the child will determine the extent and frequency of the visitation.

Contact Murfreesboro Family Law at (615) 890-3656 to discuss your case with one of our experienced and skilled attorneys. We are here to listen to every detail and we will work with you to form a strategic plan to meet your needs.

Source:

https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/do-grandparents-have-visitation-rights-tennessee.html

Coparenting During the Holidays

Coparenting During the Holidays

The holidays can be a tough time for divorced parents. Having to share holidays can be frustrating, especially when you are not able to celebrate on your preferred day. However, planning ahead can make your Christmas and New Year’s much less frustrating and a lot more fun for you and your kids.

We recommend having a “set plan” for the holidays when it comes to who will be celebrating where and on what day. If you have an agreed upon plan well in advance, you and your coparent are less likely to have a disagreement involving your child. We find that planning ahead can resolve issues before they arise, especially around the holidays.

When making a holiday plan, there will likely be compromises you have to make. Compromising when it comes to your children can be hard because all you want as a parent is to make the holidays perfect for them. For example, celebrating Christmas on the 23rd or 26th may not be ideal in your mind, but perhaps if you make a concession on the day you celebrate Christmas, you will be able to celebrate on the day of New Year’s Eve.

Divorce is all about give and take—your holiday season may not work out the way you pictured it, but you can make it special all the same. Instead of focusing on what you’re missing out on this Christmas, maybe instead you can come up with creative ways to use the time you do have with your kids. Planning fun activities, making yummy treats, and watching holiday films are a few great ways you can maximize the time you have with your children.

If you have been through a divorce, know that we understand how hard it can be. Murfreesboro Family Law is always here to support our clients and help them in any way we can. If you are currently going through a divorce and need an attorney, contact Murfreesboro Family Law at 615-890-3656 to set up a consultation.

Benefits Of Hiring An Adoption Attorney

Benefits Of Hiring An Adoption Attorney

Adoption is an exciting time for expectant parents. However, the legal stipulations can turn a heartwarming occasion into a headache of contracts and signatures. At Murfreesboro Family Law our adoption attorneys will guide you through what we hope to be a seamless adoption process. 

There are many factors to take into consideration when going through the legal process of adoption. The steps you take for adoption will hinge on the form of adoption you are undergoing. Here are a few different types of adoption: 

  • Domestic Adoption: a common type of adoption through a licensed Tennessee agency
  • Open Adoption: adoption in which the biological parents of the child are still allowed to remain in contact with their son or daughter
  • Closed Adoption: all adoption records are sealed and all communication between biological parents and children ceases
  • Stepparent Adoption: a common type of adoption where in order to adopt, stepparents must obtain permission from the other biological parent

Whether you are going through domestic, open, closed, or stepparent adoption, the attorneys at Murfreesboro Family Law can help. Adoption is a complicated process with many steps. You might experience unnecessary delays, which will ultimately cost you more money, but an attorney experienced in adoption will avoid common mistakes and expedite your adoption journey.

Not many people talk about the expense of adoption, after all, introducing a new member into your family is a priceless experience. However, there are ways to mitigate your adoption expenses. Hiring an attorney may not seem like your idea of saving money, but the expense will more than pay for itself through the time it will save you.

Saving time and money through the use of an adoption attorney will make the experience of bringing home your son or daughter even better. We hope to reduce our clients’ stress in their adoption cases so that they can feel the excitement and joy they deserve. 

If you are a soon-to-be adoptive parent, we are here to help. Call 615-890-3656 to speak with one of our skilled attorneys. 

Keep Halloween Happy After Divorce

Keep Halloween Happy After Divorce

After divorce or separation holidays can be a tough time for many families. It’s very common to go to battle over holiday traditions and time spent with each parent. This becomes a big negotiation point during most custody battles. Halloween, though, is different than the other major holidays and that it is about a fun day for your child(ren). Being able to keep Halloween mostly about the child, trick or treating, all the candy and costume-making is an exciting time for school-aged children. It’s best to decide in advance what your family’s arrangement will be on Halloween and add this to the holiday list in your parenting plan.

 

Some things we have seen done with our clients over the years with sharing Halloween fun with their children. It’s always best to keep in mind that after divorce or separating, holidays and birthdays are going to be done differently for both parents – what used to be one family is now two and everyone is going to have to manage for their child’s best interests. Parents need to understand that maintaining a sense of normalcy, creating traditions for their children for holidays and birthdays so they stay a happy occasion is crucial for their child’s well-being after a divorce.

 

As with everything in divorce and coparenting, communication is key. We have found one of the best ‘fits all sizes’ fixes for Halloween is for it to be decided upon beforehand during custody planning. Forgetting smaller holidays like Halloween in your parenting plan can cause tension in your coparenting arrangement and ultimately hurt the kids.

 

We have seen Halloween done several ways over the years and sometimes how families do Halloween will change as their families get used to the changes, grow and tensions relax a bit. Some parents who split up amicably have decided to take their children out trick or treating together and enjoy those few hours of fun together with their kids. Others will split up the day or even make Halloween a two day holiday where one parent gets one day for Halloween and the other parent gets the next. In this scenario each parent gets a chance to do something fun with the child, and the child gets an extended Halloween experience. There is also the choice of alternating years for Halloween. Mom with even years and dad with odd, and visa versa.

 

The fun thing about Halloween is many schools have Halloween activities that the children put on where both parents can come and be involved in the fun and excitement that children have around Halloween. The most important thing to remember when it comes to Halloween and holidays with your kids in your new family dynamic — the kids experience is most important.

 

If you’re going through a divorce or separation, Murfreesboro Family Law is here to help. Our experienced Family Law attorneys have helped thousands of families navigate their settlements and arrange the best custody schedules possible for their children and their new family.