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3 Important Tips on How to Cope with a Divorce during the Holidays

Are you having an unusually difficult time with your divorce because it’s also the holiday season? A divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful period of your life, especially with children, yet everyone around you expects you to look and feel happy because they do.

You need a plan.

I’ve been a family law attorney in Las Vegas, Nevada for more than twenty-five years. During that time, I’ve seen lots of people going through a divorce during the holidays. I know a few things about how to cope, but I also went looking for unusual tips from experts who aren’t lawyers in an effort to give you a broader spectrum.

I included one tip from each expert with links to their articles, followed by my own tips.

divorce during the holidays

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Robert E. Emory, PHD, of http://bit.ly/1IM8DlO offers ten tips. My favorite on his list is “Celebrate with your children’s other parent.” Unusual? Shocking?

I know that for many people, yes, it is, but think about it. If you can manage one event, small or large, with your ex, your children are sure to feel more relaxed about then being separated from one parent or the other for the remainder of the holidays.

Dr. Karen Finn, http://bit.ly/1liY4Sy — has a great tip that can help whether or not you have children. She recommends giving yourself a gift.

© Liz Van Steenburgh Dreamstime Stock Photos

And why not? You most likely will not be getting a gift from your spouse or be gifting him or her either. Grab the opportunity to buy yourself something you really like.

 

 

 

Below is my list on how to cope with the holiday season while in a divorce:

  1. Start a new tradition, on your own or with your children if you have them, rather than continue with the ones you followed with your spouse.
  2. If you are single, or if your children will be with your ex, plan ahead of time to do something to help others. It’s a well-known fact that helping others lifts our own mood in turn. Volunteer at a shelter, for instance, or visit people in hospitals with no family, or give friends with children a night off while you watch the kids.
  3. Do NOT become a recluse. Even if you’d rather pull a double shift at work, or stick your hand in fire, force yourself to go out and mingle with good friends or family.

Your spirits will lift from your new activities! We are social creatures and even when feeling low, we derive comfort from being around others. You will also feel empowered from having weathered holiday events on your own.

Now, go forth and make merry!

Conexa, LLC, Discount divorce law firm in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

Are Physical Custody and Legal Custody the same thing?

Are physical custody and legal custody the same thing? Oftentimes, clients see them as one, when in fact, these are two different aspects of custody that are addressed in a divorce with children.child physical and legal custody

  • Physical custody refers to time a parent actually spends with his or her children.
  • Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions on major issues regarding their child(ren).

Regarding physical custody, Family Court in Nevada operates from a belief that both parents should have as much meaningful and quality time with their children, post-divorce, as possible.

Ideally, after a divorce, the children’s  parents will share joint legal and joint physical custody. In Nevada, as long as the children spend between 40% to 60% of quality time with each parent, the parents are considered to be sharing joint physical custody.

If one parent cares for the children more than 60% of the time that parent is considered by the Court to have primary physical custody of the kids. This can affect child support.

Even when parents have a joint physical custody agreement, there is likely to be child support paid by one parent to the other if there is a disparity in income between the parties.

When parents share joint legal custody, but one parent has primary physical custody, the other parent is entitled to, and likely to have, reasonable visitation with the children.

Reasonable visitation must be defined in the decree of divorce, though parents are free to define it any way they want. The Court just wants something definite in the decree such as dates or days, as well as time of day and the exchange location are put in the Decree.

If the divorced parents live in two different towns, then one parent will typically have primary custody of the children for purposes of attending school.

Sole physical custody, meaning the children live full-time with one parent and never visit the other parent, is not customary for Nevada, though it happens frequently nevertheless.  If one parent can’t be located, is unfit because of child abuse, mentally challenged, or a sex predator, then the court is likely to grant sole physical custody to the other parent. This happens often enough when one parent has been sentenced to prison for a long period of time, for instance.

One should be cautious when accepting lightly what the court might recommend what they term as a temporary physical custody arrangement. What’s often not said at such time, is that usually what the Court decides at the first hearing on temporary physical custody often ends up being the permanent custody decision in the case.

 Once the decision on temporary physical custody has been made by the Judge, or during the case management conference, and has then been signed by the judge, it’s often difficult to change that decision without showing a significant change in circumstances. One would have to show that a change is in the best interests of the children before a judge would agree to modify any physical custody order already in effect, even if it’s only a temporary order.  Any change in custody must be approved by a judge; parents cannot simply write up their own amendment to the physical custody. A stipulation for a change must be filed by the parties and an order must be signed by a judge.

Legal custody essentially gives a parent, even one with no physical custody, the right to participate in life decisions affecting the welfare of their children in the following areas:

  • education
  • religion
  • medical decisions
  • extracurricular activities

A motion must be filed with the court to take legal custody away from one parent. It cannot be addressed as a part of a divorce, though both actions can take place simultaneously.

To go further down that continuum if an absent parent does not pay child support or make any effort to be involved in the child’s life for a year, then the active parent can seek to terminate the parental rights of that absent parent.

So, to reiterate, physical custody is the time a parent actually spends with a child. Legal custody is the right by a parent to make decisions on important issues in a child’s life.

Frequently-asked Questions in a Divorce with Children

This should help answer your most pressing questions if you are either contemplating Divroce with children divorce or are currently going through a divorce and you have children with your spouse. In most divorces that involve children, we get asked most of these same questions each and every time.

Why do I have to pay Child Support when I share physical custody with my spouse?
In many cases, even when parents share physical custody fairly equally, one parent will end up paying at least some child support.

First off, for your arrangement to be considered shared physical custody, the court likes to see a time split that amounts to a near-equal number of hours shared by the parents, outside school hours. For instance, if your child is with you from Friday after school until Monday when you drop him off at school, and is then with your spouse from after school on Monday until Friday morning school time, that would be considered equal time even though your child is with you for only two full days. This is because, since there is no school on the weekend, you have spent pretty much the same number of the child’s awake hours with the child, as did the parent who had the child from Monday after school through Friday morning before school.

In Nevada, child support is calculated according to a specific formula which you’ll find on our Divorce with Children page.

Do I have to buy health insurance for my child(ren) even though they don’t have coverage now?
Nevada expects one parent to be responsible for health care cost of the child(ren), usually in the form of a health insurance policy. If neither parent can cover this cost, an explanation must be given in the divorce pleadings. Both parents are expected to share, fifty/fifty, medical costs not covered by the insurance. If Mother incurred the medical expense for the child, she must present Father with the invoice within 30 days of incurring it. Father must then reimburse Mother his fifty percent share of that expense.

Can I include college expenses into the decree of divorce?
Nevada has no rules or laws about this, so it’s discretionary. The parties can agree to include it in the decree of divorce, but the judge has no jurisdiction over it, therefore cannot force a parent to pay for the college education of a child.
Can I ask for money for extra-curricular activities for the child(ren)?
Quite possibly. Extra-curricular activities such as sports, private school tuition, costs of child care, are all items on the allowed list of deviations from the child support guidelines. (NRS125B.080). Below are some of the most common deviations:

  • Cost of health insurance
  • Cost of child care
  • Special educational needs of the child
  • Age of the child
  • Legal responsibility of parents for the support of others (such as children from a previous relationship)
  • Value of services contributed by either parent
  • Any public assistance paid to support the child
  • Any expenses reasonably related to the mother’s pregnancy and confinement
  • The cost of transportation of the child to and from visitation if the custodial parent moved with the child from the jurisdiction of the court which ordered the support and the noncustodial parent remained
  • The amount of time the child spends with each parent
  • Any other necessary expenses for the benefit of the child
  • The relative income of both parents

Can I move out of the State of Nevada with my children?
Leaving the state permanently or temporarily without your spouse and taking your children with you while you are married is perfectly legal. Once you file a divorce, however, the rules change. You will need your spouse’s written consent and if your spouse won’t give permission, you will need to obtain a court order from the judge assigned to your divorce case.

If the child(ren)’s habitual residence has been Nevada for at least six months and you move outside the State of Nevada with your child(ren) and your spouse subsequently files a Complaint for Divorce asking for physical custody, a Nevada judge might well order the children back to Nevada. The judge would look at your reason for moving; if moving closer to family or work was not the reason, and it appears that the move was simply malicious towards your spouse, it’s highly likely that you’d have to return the child(ren) to Nevada.

The jurisdiction of children under the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act is the state where the children have lived for the majority of the 6 months immediately preceding divorce filings.

As always, this is general information; you should always consult an attorney before taking action.

 

Author: Office of Attorney James E. Smith — http://nevadadivorce.org/about_nevada_divorce.htm

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