Category : Child Custody

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Co-Parents, This Is What a ‘Breakthrough’ Looks Like

Becoming a divorced co-parent for the first time can be tricky business. After all, you typically go in to a parenting situation with the support of your spouse. When divorce occurs, that support can become fragmented. Yahoo! contributor Melissa Fleming had that very problem, but was able to find her way through after what she admits was a “grim divorce.”

In fact, it was so grim that it took the pair four years to finalize. 

Fleming said that she and her husband conducted communications primarily through email from that point forward until he suggested that they do something different for an upcoming custody-sharing period. Split the girls up for one-on-one time. Fleming claims she initially “balked” at the idea but that her ex convinced her to meet in person for coffee.

“When we came out of our email corners and sat across from each other, we easily reached compromises,” Fleming writes. “In person, we focused on the issue at hand without bringing in past emotional baggage or future what-ifs. I learned when to hold steady and when to let go. I was also able to recognize the role we each played in the downfall of our marriage and divorce trajectory, enjoying the freedom of my single time and moving on from the anger towards creating a fulfilling life as a trio.” 

Fleming believed this was an “emotional turning-point” in hers and her husband’s post-divorce life, and it led to some quality one-on-one time that allowed their girls to feel like individuals. 

This co-parenting “breakthrough” is a reminder of how much can be accomplished when you bring in face-to-face interaction. Obviously, that isn’t something you want to do if there was domestic violence involved in the relationship, but if it’s just you and your ex not seeing eye-to-eye, consider sitting down in a public place and interacting. You might be surprised at the level of compromise and understanding that you’re able to reach. 

And on one final note: if you try it once and it doesn’t work, come back to it later on. Time can help you cope tremendously with issues that seem like deal breakers today. Just something to think about if you’re struggling at this co-parenting thing. Good luck!

How Maine Is Trying to Ease Custody Tension

A new article in the Bangor Daily News highlights two bills that Maine is currently weighing in an effort to ease the custody transition between two parents and their children. According to the piece, written by Judy Harrison, LD 642 and LD 346 would add to the “best interest of the child” standard that courts use in determining a custody/parenting plan. 

Exceptions in both bills would include “domestic violence, abuse, neglect and/or drug use by a parent … in determining how much time and under what circumstances children spend it with each parent,” Harrison states.

“The basic goal of the bill is that, before anyone gets divorced, both parents get access to their children regardless of what their parenting skills are,” says Sen. David Dutremble, D-Biddeford. 

He continued: “Attorneys, guardians ad litem and judges step in and take the best interest of the child standard into consideration and make recommendations to the court. But how would someone who does not know your child know what the best interest of your child is supposed to be? … I think the system should start with shared parenting as a basis from which to start making decisions. The idea is to prevent the system from pitting one parent against the other and to allow both parents access to their kids.” 

The pain of custody transition is why many of our clients choose to collaborate on their divorce settlement from the very beginning. By setting aside differences, even if it’s just temporarily, and devising a plan that focuses on the child instead of individual pride or animosity, parents can make some surprising breakthroughs. 

If you’re both concerned about how your child will be affected by your divorce, don’t hesitate to sit down and work out the details together, laws or no laws.

Do you think the Maine bills are necessary, or do parents already have the tools they need to decide what is best for their children? And how does your state handle this part of the divorce process? Sound off in the comments section. 

On Dating A Single Mom: Guys Weigh In On How They Feel About Doing It

Being a single mom, who has just gone through a divorce, can be a scary time. You might feel it difficult to get back on the dating scene. But as far as guys go, it’s not as big of an issue as you probably think it is. Our online divorce review site found the following responses from men across the reddit community. Here’s what they had to say.

1. “I wouldn’t get in a relationship with a single mom unless I saw a genuine long term possibility, it’s too difficult on the child when men pop in and out of their lives. If I liked her enough that I could see myself sticking around past the honeymoon phase, why the h*** not?”

2. “My current girlfriend is a single mom (Well, was, I suppose) and I felt like I was under a lot more pressure to not only make sure she enjoyed my company, but I also had to be a fatherly figure towards her son (6yr old). She wouldn’t accept anything less than exactly what she knew she wanted. She has been through the whole marriage and kid ordeal before, and it didn’t work. As most people know, you learn by failure, and she knows herself much better and knows what she actually wants and needs more accurately.”

3. “I’m 35. At 24 and 29, I would have said (a qualified) no. Now I say yes. But now I have nephews and nieces who have shown me how awesome (and awesomely challenging) kids can be, so that’s no longer as unknown and frightening as it once was. … And I’m older and I’ve really had my fill of immature ladies. I could be wrong but I tend to assume that a woman with kids (and in my age range) would be more likely to know what she wants and less likely to create drama for the sake of it. (I’m sure there are many exceptions to that general assumption…)”

4. “I can only use the data set I’ve observed here in rural Kentucky, so consider me biased. If the woman only had a single child and was independent, then maybe. If she was somebody I was into. If she has multiple children by multiple men, then, no.”

5. “Yes. I love children. I don’t know how common this is among men, but when I was dating, one of the things I wondered about was whether a woman could be a competent mother and also remain sane. So many people seem normal until children get involved and then they turn out to be … insane. Dating a single mom would at least give me the chance to see the whole person early in the game.”

Are you a single parent with primary custody? What are you most nervous about upon reentering the dating scene?

This Technique Will Make Co-Parenting With A Back-Biting Ex Much Easier

Jane Thrive, in a recent post for Divorced Moms, tackled the tough subject of how you should respond when your ex talks bad about you. As an online divorce review site, we hope you never have to deal with this particularly tricky subject matter, but let’s be realistic. Not every divorce is clean and collaborative. You may need to hear what Jane has to say, and while all of it is gold, this particular method of validating your child’s experience was a favorite.

In the example that Jane chooses, Dad has told the child that “Mommy is rich and Daddy is poor because Daddy gives all his money to Mommy.”

Many single mothers have to deal with this type of scenario day-in, day-out, but the author’s response is pitch-perfect. In her words: 

“Validate by responding: “Gosh, I’m sorry your dad said that to you. Or, “how did it make you feel when he said that?” This communicates that you are listening, that you believe your child heard what dad said, and you are respecting the space that they are trusting you with their worry or concern about it.

“Next, tackle the subject. Instead of saying, “how dare dad say I’m rich, I can barely pay the rent/mortgage, and he doesn’t even pay full child support!” You could say, “gosh, what does poor mean?”or “what does rich mean?” and start a meaningful conversation that is not focused on mom or dad.”

In Jane’s case, once she’d done these things she asked the child a series of questions: Does Daddy live in a nice house? Does Daddy have a truck to drive? Does Daddy have a cell phone?

Once the child answered “Yes” to all these questions, it became apparent that Daddy and Mommy both were better off than a lot of people, and Jane was able to remove the stigma that her child’s father tried to place on her without saying anything negative about him.

While we offer online divorce reviews of the top attorney referral and DIY forms services on the web, we also like to know about your experiences. What effective conflict diffusing techniques have you used to combat negative talk that your ex has said to your child? Share yours below!

Why Did Daddy Leave? What To Remember When Your Child Wants To Know

Inevitably in the life of a divorced custodial parent whose partner has left, there is one question that they will have to field more than any other. Why did daddy (or mommy in rarer cases) leave? It can be tempting to inject your own bitterness into the answer of this question, but before you do that, here are some important things you need to remember.

1. Your child carries half the other parent’s DNA.

Even if your son or daughter’s other parent is an absolute scumbag, you have to be very careful with how you address the question from a critical standpoint. After all, half your child’s DNA comes from said scumbag, and kids are smart enough to put two and two together. If their daddy or mommy is a bad apple and that’s reinforced by you, then they’ll start thinking that they are a bad apple.

2. What you say could be used against you.

Any time the mud gets slung, there is always a good chance that it’ll splash back and hit you. If you’ve yet to go through the divorce and you’re still evaluating our online divorce reviews to decide between attorney or DIY service, for instance, then criticisms could find their way into court conflicts and jeopardize your positioning for custody.

3. Responding without negativity will ensure that you’re more likely to raise a positive person.

You don’t want your child to grow up negative and pessimistic, but unfortunately they must fight against that when their world is turned upside down by divorce. They need to learn about positivity and perseverance from you, and how you respond to their question will go a long way in ensuring they turn out the way you want them to.

It can be difficult taking tough questions. As an online divorce review site, we’ve seen how hard it is on our clients. But by taking a deep breath and remembering how much rides on your response, you’ll stand a better chance of saying the right thing when the moment comes. Good luck!

Divorced Parents, Do You Feel Like Courts Are Taking Away Your Rights?

Our online divorce review site is a place where you can come to research proper legal representation, and unfortunately, when it comes to co-parenting, the courts don’t make it easy for you to fulfill your responsibility. This is an inconsistency that caused one writer to recently question:

Do divorced parents have the same rights as married parents? 

The latest NY Times piece from Robert E. Emery goes with a resounding no, and he makes a pretty good point this is the case. Stemming from the fact that divorced parents often have to have child-rearing decisions made by a judge, Emery points out that even mutually agreed parenting plans can be overridden by a divorce court judge.

This, Emery says, is an outdated product of a time when most children were born in wedlock — a statistic that is no longer so pronounced. Emery also notes that close to half of first marriages end in divorce, resulting in many children caught in the middle.

To help co-parents make better decisions in the interests of their child, he proposes a “simple” solution.

We can do this with a very simple change in the law. When judges make decisions, they are guided by the “best interests of the child” — a list of factors like the parents’ mental health and the child’s wishes. States should add parental agreement to the list, and make it the primary consideration. This would mean that, at least when they agree, unmarried parents, not judges, make decisions about their children.

This change could help us move away from litigation and toward alternative kinds of dispute resolution.

What do you feel, divorced parents? Do courts often get in yours and your spouse’s way, or are the current standards still broadly relevant?

As a site that specializes in online divorce reviews, it is always fascinating to hear what the co-parenting experience is like — the challenges, the triumphs, the obstacles out of your control. We’d love to read your comments!


Use a Divorce Kit Today!

My Divorce Documents is one of the most trusted names in divorce documentation online today.  We pride ourselves in creating complete divorce kits that help our customers to file their divorces by offering on site downloadable divorce forms, restraining orders, child support and custody documents, and everything you need to complete our divorce papers, including name change forms.

Our downloadable divorce forms allow you to fill out the papers with our step by step guides in the comfort and security of your home or office when it is convenient for you.

Divorce can be a very frustrating and trying time.  If you and your spouse have come to the conclusion that divorce is the only answer, this kit will not only save you time, but dollars in legal fees and pain.

No-fault divorce is just as it sounds, neither party is at fault.  Some states call no-fault divorce “dissolution.  It simply states that there are “irreconcilable differences” between the two and they wish to terminate the marriage.

In the Do-It-Yourself Kit the following details will be covered for you:

  • Personal property and real estate
  • Child custody, support and visitation
  • Alimony
  • Debts and other obligations
  • Change to former name for the wife
  • Income taxes

Both Spouses Must Agree on the Following:

Both parties must agree entirely on the following listed details or this kit will not work for you.  Legal advice is recommended if you cannot agree on all aspects of ending the marriage.  If you and your spouse can agree entirely on the following few items, you are a perfect fit for this kit:

1) You must meet residency requirements for your state.  In most states, that is 6 to 12 months. The residency requirements for all states are listed in this kit.

2) Both of you must agree on all aspects of ending your marriage.

3) No pregnancy involved.

4) You must know the whereabouts of your spouse. He/she will need to sign the documents later. He/she will not need to appear in court, however, the person filing will.

5) You must be aware that there will be court fees you’ll pay directly to the court when you file. The fees vary in each state vary depending on where you live.  You can find out by contacting your county clerk’s office.

If you are able to agree on these items, it’s possible to save yourself lots of money in legal fees.  If you cannot agree, we suggest you seek legal advice.

Divorce is usually a very trying time, but if you and your spouse have agreed to all matters in regards to ending your marriage, this kit will definitely save time, heartache and hundreds of dollars.  Be sure to go over all situations, even real estate and children.  In addition to the cost of the kit, you will need to pay court fees.  These vary from state to state, even county to county.  You pay these fees directly to the court.  You can contact your county clerks’ office for actual fees.

To begin this low-cost downloadable specific state divorce process, please go to and see what we have to offer you now.

Options of a Divorce!

A divorce legally suspends a marriage.  Courts in the United States at this time acknowledge two types of divorces:

1) Absolute/Fault Divorce: To obtain an absolute divorce, courts require some type of verification showing of wrongdoing on one spouse’s behalf.  An absolute divorce is an official termination of a legal marriage.

2) Limited Divorce: Limited divorces are typically referred to as a legal separation Limited divorces result in termination of the right to separate but the court refrains from officially dissolving the marriage and the parties status remain unchanged.

A limited divorce is a legal action in which the court obverse’s a couple’s separation.  It is generally used by people who

  • Do not have any grounds of an absolute divorce
  • Need financial relief
  • Unable to settle their differences privately

During a limited divorce, the parties are to reside separately.  However, they remain legally married.

  • Although the parties are still married, neither has the right to have sexual relations with the other spouse.
  • In addition, neither spouse may remarry, nor have sexual relations with another person.  If so, this is considered adultery.
  • The court determines which party is at fault, if either, is at fault.  The court may grant support to one spouse based on need.
  • The limited divorce can also resolve questions of:
  • child custody
  • child support
  • health insurance coverage
  • dividing of personal property & assets

If spousal support is not required, and there is no property to divide, there is generally no need for a limited divorce.

If one spouse dies after a limited divorce the other spouse may still inherit property.  Also the form of ownership for any property you own as husband and wife will stay the same.

3) Conversion Divorce:

Some states permit conversion divorce.  Conversion divorce changes a legal separation into a legal divorce after both parties have been separated for a necessary amount of time.

4) No-Fault Divorce:

Many states have passed a no-fault divorce.  A no fault divorce does not require a fault or a substantial reason to divorce.  In today’s day, not all states have passed a no fault divorce.

The Court may find the following:

  • the relationship is no longer possible
  • that irreconcilable differences have caused a breakdown of the marriage
  • conflict of personalities have destroyed the legit ends of the marital relationship and prevents any reasonable possibility of reconciliation
  • Marriage is irretrievably broken

Property Division

During a divorce the court must divide the property between both spouses.  Courts today recognize two separate types of property during property division proceedings

  • Marital Property
  • Separate Property

Marital property is any property that the husband and wife obtained individually or jointly during the course of the marriage.  Separate property is any property that one spouse purchased and possessed prior to the marriage and that did not change in value during the course of the marriage.  If the separate property owning spouse trades the property for other property or sells the property, the newly obtained property or funds of the sale stay separate property.

Current Division

Current division of property strives for a reasonable division of marital assets.  By dividing the assets equitably, a judge endeavors to effect the final separation of the parties and to enable both parties to start their post-marital lives with some degree of financial status.

Most courts at least recognize the following factors:

  • Contribution to the accumulation of marital property
  • Respective parties liabilities, whether one spouse received income-producing property while the other did not
  • the duration of the marriage
  • age and health of the partners
  • the earning capacity and employability of the respective parties
  • the value of each party’s separate property
  • the pension and retirement rights of each party
  • whether one party will receive custodial and child support provisions
  • the tax consequences of the allocations
  • whether one spouse’s marital misconduct caused the divorce

Most jurisdictions also give the family court judge broad jurisdiction by providing judges with the right to consider any other just and proper factor.

When assigning property, judges cannot transfer the separate property of one spouse to another spouse without the legislature having previously passed an enabling statute. Whether such an enabling statute exists varies between jurisdictions.


Alimony refers to payments from one spouse to the other.  A court can order one spouse to pay three different types of alimony:

  • Permanent Alimony
  • Temporary Alimony
  • Rehabilitative Alimony

Permanent alimony requires the payer to continue paying either for the rest of the payer’s life or until the spouse receiving payments remarries.  Temporary alimony requires payments over a short amount of time so that the payment receipt can stand alone once again.

Similar to temporary alimony, rehabilitative alimony requires the payer to give the recipient short-term alimony after the property division proceedings have ended.

Rehabilitative alimony is to help a spouse with lesser employ ability or earning capacity become adjusted to a new post-marital life.

Courts allocate alimony with the intention of permitting a spouse to maintain the standard of living to which the spouse has become accustomed.  Factors affecting whether the court awards alimony include the marriage’s length, the length of separation before divorce, the parties’ ages, the parties’ respective incomes, the parties’ future financial prospects, the health of the parties, and the parties’ respective faults in causing the marriage’s demise.

If a couple had children together while married, a court may require one spouse to pay child support to the spouse with custody, but one should note that alimony and child support are totally different.

In a nutshell, if you are certain you want a divorce you can simply start the process yourself by going to and begin your do it yourself divorce now.

Know your Facts of a Divorce!

Divorce is very painful and can be an extremely difficult process.  Knowing how divorce laws function and understanding the court’s role in a divorce can help to make this transition smoother and easier.

Divorce laws govern the dissolution of a marriage.  Every country has its own laws regarding divorce and, in fact, divorce laws can vary from state to state or province to province within a nation.  Knowing your jurisdiction’s divorce laws can keep a bad situation from becoming worse, and save you future turmoil.

In the United States, divorce laws, in general, provide two basic forms of divorce: fault and no-fault divorce.  However, even in some jurisdictions whose divorce laws do not require a party to claim fault of their partner, a court may still take into account the behavior of the parties when dividing property, debts, evaluating custody, and support.

In a no-fault divorce, the dissolution of a marriage does not require a reason or proof of fault of either party.  Forty-nine states have adopted no-fault divorce laws, with grounds for divorce including incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, and irremediable breakdown of the marriage.  New York is the sole exception divorce laws there still require a proof of fault.

Studies show that about 95 percent of divorces in the United States are “uncontested,” because the two parties are able to work out an arrangement concerning property, debt, children and support issues.  When the parties can agree and present the court with a fair and equitable agreement, approval of the divorce is almost guaranteed.  If the parties can’t work out their differences, divorce laws govern the fair and equitable disposition of these issues.

Divorce laws generally recognize two types of property during property division proceedings – marital property and separate property.  Marital property consists of property that the spouses acquire individually or jointly during the course of marriage.  Under divorce laws, separate property represents any property that one spouse purchased and possessed prior to the marriage and that did not substantially change in value during the course of the marriage because of the efforts of one or both spouses.  Under new divorce laws, separate property is returned to its original owner, while marital property is divided according to negotiated settlement and what the court deems equitable.

In cases involving children, divorce laws attempt to ensure the matter does not spill over into the family court system.  In many jurisdictions, divorce laws require divorcing parents to submit a parenting plan documenting out each party’s rights and responsibilities.

Divorce laws also provide for the establishment of alimony, often depending on the length of the marriage and other factors.  Spousal support is becoming less common, however, as more women are entering the workforce and earning their own income.

With this in mind if you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement and you wish to save money and time simply go to and begin your low cost specific state divorce process now.

Organization Tips for a Divorce!

Once you have made the final decision to get a divorce, attached are some tips you can do to prepare for a divorce.

1) Take Note

You will need to use your own money for divorce, not your spouses.  You will have to maintain yourself and your children for a while if you are dependent on your spouse and your spouse makes the decision to cut you off support.

You will also probably need funds to hire a lawyer.  If there is anyway to begin a separate account to guard against future financial possibilities, now is the time to do it.  If you need to borrow money from a relative or friend, be sure to sign a promissory note so the court will look at this as a loan that you have to repay and not as a gift.

2) Log a Divorce Calendar

If you are currently using a desk calendar or day planner, you will now need to include your divorce events.  There will be meetings with your lawyer and court deadlines to keep track of.  It may be helpful to keep track of discussions with your spouse.

A divorce Calendar may be used as evidence in your case when your spouse does not keep an appointment or violated an agreement or court order.  Visitation dates with children need to be calendared.  You will also want to keep track of appointments with your children’s teachers, doctors, coaches and tutors.  This may become evidence of your participation in your children’s lives in your divorce.

3) Create a To Do List

Be sure to stay organized and set your priorities straight during the divorce.  This is the easiest way to do it.  List all the items you have to accomplish and mark them off as you go through them.

4) Prepare a Divorce Folder or Binder

A divorce produces a lot of paperwork and may become a storm.  The simplest way to keep track of all these papers is with a three ring binder and a three-hole punch.  Put papers in chronological order and be sure to make an index for your own benefit.

5) Set up a Divorce File

You may prefer to set up individual files for various categories of divorce papers.   Some examples are correspondence with your attorney, drafts of agreements, financial information and pleadings.  Files with brads and a two hole punch will help you keep papers neat and organized.

6) Cut Expenses

If you have debt in your name, like credit cards or student loans, you will want to pay those debts down as much as possible before a divorce.  If your family is like most American families, you have been spending close to your entire income, if not more, and when one household becomes two, there will not be enough money to pay the expenses of both unless something changes.

You may have to cut your current expenses, sell the car and get a less expensive model, or maybe sell the house.  If your spouse does not voluntarily support you and the children, your remedy is to ask the Court to order support.  You will not have a good prediction of any of this and you will not know the answers for sure until the agreement is signed or the judge makes a ruling.  But, the point is to think about it, and identify problems and possible solutions. Then take the actions that you can take and avoid missteps.

7) Stay with a Consistent Routine

It will help if you try to keep things as normal as possible in your life.  Do not skip meals or change sleeping habits.  Positive routines like using you’re to do list and calendar will help you keep focus.  Exercise is always a great way to relieve stress.  Try to maintain friendships and daily routines as normal.

8) Be Constructive

Try to maintain a positive outlook and do not let yourself get involved with unnecessary conflicts with your spouse.  You will need his signature on a settlement agreement before your divorce is over.  You will still be parents together for years after the divorce.

9) Make a Plan

Take it one day at a time.  Focus on the present and not the past.  Try to control only those things within your control.  Many things in a divorce are outside of your control.  Try not to blow those things out of proportion.  Make a plan. Then keep working your plan.  That is how you will take control of your divorce and not let it take control of you.

10) Gather Financial Information

The more you can organize your own financial documents, the more you will reduce your attorney fees and improve your chances of success.  You are going to have to gather and organize a lot of information for your attorney or your case.  A good way of organizing the information you find is a financial statement which can be used as a checklist.

Many courts have a form financial statement available at the court clerk’s office and sometimes online. If you can obtain this form and fill it out, it will help you gather and organize your financial information.  Give it to your lawyer at the first meeting to save time and expense.

11) Do Your Research

It is valuable for you to learn everything you can about divorce early in the process.  If you know little or nothing about the process, you may not make the best decisions or choices.  Most people are uncomfortable with the unknown. You can raise your comfort level and your odds of success by finding out what is going to happen before it happens. The Internet is a convenient way to obtain summary and detailed information about divorce.

Of course there are other ways to research the subject.  You can start your research at a library or bookstore.  There are seminars and support groups.  Talk to friends who have been through divorce.  But, keep in mind that every divorce is different. It’s a good idea to learn about the basics of divorce law in your state early in the process.

With this is mind, if you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement without any hassle you are able to do an online divorce with a do it yourself specific state divorce process.  You can begin this low cost process by simply going to and begin your easy and quick divorce today.