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Nesting Into Divorce

Nesting child custody methodDivorce may not seem like something that can evolve, but attitudes towards divorce and divorce practices are evolving. A prime example of divorce evolution is collaborative divorce, which only become a practice around the 1980′s. Well, prepare yourself for the latest stage of divorce evolution, called “nesting.”

Nesting is a child custody plan that allows the children of divorce to stay in the same house, while the parents are the ones who shuttle back and forth. Nesting requires three houses: one where the children live, one where the father lives, and one where the mother lives. The idea is to allow the children to continuously live in one home to lessen the negative impact of divorce.

A Child Custody By Many Other Names

Just to add a little more confusion into the mix, nesting is known by a few other names. However, nesting (aka aparenting, aka birdnesting, aka kids stay) is a fairly simple custody method; just think of nesting as an extreme version of joint custody.

Basically, the parents each rent an apartment or place of their own, but keep the house they lived in together during the marriage. The parents create a schedule to decide which parent stays in the house with the children for a certain amount of time. A common nesting schedule alternates the parents in the house with the children weekly or bi-weekly.

Three Homes, Two Parents, One Big Problem?

While nesting might seem like a viable option only for Birkenstock-wearing, granola-eating, peace-talking divorcees, nesting is touted to be a viable option for anyone who can manage to put the kids first. However, nesting should only be used in cases that are completely without any kind of abuse (emotional, sexual, physical).

Still nervous about the thought of having to share a common dwelling with your ex-spouse? Yeah, we totally understand that, but everyone who has successfully used nesting as a custody method gives the same advice: Just step up.

Easier Said…

The most annoying direction is probably “Don’t try, just do.” Hearing this may make your blood boil, but just think about the empowering message hidden in the condescending package. In the context of divorce, just doing it and taking each day one at a time is basically all any divorcee can do.

So the “Just step up” argument for nesting is really not so offensive or blood-boiling, especially when the pay-off is emotionally stable children.

Is Nesting That Beneficial?

While the downside to nesting includes living in a home that smacks of your ex, and having to maintain two houses, the upside appears to easily outweigh the negatives.

Firstly, just the fact that the children aren’t expected to be on the ones dividing their time and love is a giant bonus. All the negative impacts (being put in the middle, feeling unstable and uprooted, being confused about the physical family structure, feeling uncomfortable and unaccommodated in their parents’ new spaces, etc.) divorce is said to have on children would be a lot less of an issue just by trying the nesting method.

Secondly, the parents would have to come to terms with being forever connected sooner rather than later. Since this is the main hang-up for parents after divorce, nesting essentially forces them to be the adult and deal with it, and fast.

Thirdly, nesting doesn’t have to be permanent and allows the family to take their time in deciding how to handle the divorce. Nesting could be used as a transition parenting plan, it could be temporary, or it could be permanent. Nesting allows the family to avoid making rushed, emotion-based decisions.

What do you think about nesting? Does it give you the heebie-jeebies, or does it peak your interest?

The Grandparent’s Guide to Divorce

83496521Observing family dynamics and becoming a part of the dynamic is one of the best feelings in the world, which is a major perk of marriage. However, when the marriage doesn’t quite work out as expected, extricating yourself from the family dynamic is one of the most painful feelings. After all, you were all one big happy family for so long, so it’s jarring when the family is expected to pick sides and quickly part ways like simple acquaintances.

What if we were to tell you there was a way to stay connected after divorce? Actually, what we really want to tell you is that staying connected after divorce is the best possible thing for any children there may be from the marriage. Everyone involved in the divorce wants what is best for the children, and what is best is remaining connected as (what some might call) an eccentric family.

Grandfathering in New Expectations

Divorce has a knack for dividing families and making their interactions stiff and awkward, but it just takes one person in the family to take command and set the tone of the post-divorce family dynamic. Who better than the grandparents, the sages of the family, to set the tone and foster togetherness?

Well, there isn’t anyone better, because grandparents are just removed enough to avoid being parental, but loving enough to always care.

Parenting is Forever, Just Do it Grandly

Grandparents, just like everyone else in the family, feel confused, wary, and helpless when they watch their children go through a divorce. But grandparents are not so helpless because their wisdom, love, and support are the greatest tools to deal with a divorce. So for all you grandparents out there, don’t remove yourself from the situation; your family needs you.

Grandparenting your adult child doesn’t have to be invasive or controlling, it should be more supportive, loving, and offering. Instead of telling your adult child, “You should …, and then …,” offer ideas or support, like “You look like you need a break/talk/etc., why don’t I …”

There is one more piece of advice we have for grandparents: don’t push away your ex-son/daughter-in-law just because they are divorcing your child. It’s one thing to excommunicate an absent in-law, but another to excommunicate an in-law who is still very much involved in your grandchildren’s lives. If your child feels betrayed by the continued relationship between you and the ex, just calmly explain it’s in support of the grandchildren’s relationships with all the involved relatives (after all, the ex has supplied a set of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins too).

Grandparenting the grandchildren should be as neutral and supportive as possible. The grandparents house should be like a safe haven from all the confusing changes and emotional trauma because the grandparents house hasn’t had to alter at all in the divorce. Continue the usual routines and rituals practiced in the days before the divorce, don’t shy away from speaking about or to both parents, and don’t approach your grandchildren like they are damaged packages you’re uncomfortable around.

As a little side note, don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the role of family spy. If your grandchild comes to you for comfort and a willing ear, don’t take those words of trust and confidence and use them to arm your child with ammo against the ex. If you are on anyone’s side, you are on the grandchildren’s.

Essentially, your role as grandparent is to be the rock, the constant in your child’s and grandchildren’s lives. So don’t let yourself get caught up in pettiness or side-taking, because the family will be looking to you to set the tone of the post-divorce family dynamic.

www.MyDivorceDocuments.com | Uncontested Divorce Questions Answered

uncontested divorce questionsContrary to popular belief, not every divorce has to be a drawn-out court affair with dramatic statements and ruthless negotiations. In fact, there are many ways to go about getting a divorce nowadays, and only a few of them involve nasty courtroom brawls. One of the easiest, pain-free ways to get a divorce is by getting an uncontested divorce.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce does not involve lawyers, court battles, or rulings handed down by judges. Instead, an uncontested divorce involves the divorcing spouses sitting down and deciding for themselves how to divide their marital estate.

This is how it works: The spouses going through an uncontested divorce must either agree or be able to agree on how to resolve the issues brought up in the marital settlement agreement.

Points in the marital settlement agreement in need of resolution include:

  • division of assets (like checking and saving accounts, and profits from a shared business)

  • personal property (like home furnishings, electronics, and cars)

  • real property (like houses, condos, and apartments)

  • debts (credit card debt, mortgages, etc.)

  • whether or not to award spousal support, and how much to award

  • child issues (like child support, child custody, visitation schedules, and more)

How much does an uncontested divorce cost?

The cost of an uncontested divorce is quite minimal, since the divorcee doesn’t have to pay for a lawyer. In an uncontested divorce, you must only pay the filing fee (which varies from state to state).

However, the cost of an uncontested divorce can vary based on how you go about pursuing the divorce. These are your choices:

  • Fill out the forms yourself: The upside to filling out the divorce forms yourself is there is no additional cost. But the downside is that the slightest mistake or inconsistency in your paperwork can lead to your divorce forms being rejected, which would delay the divorce process.

  • Hire a lawyer: Some divorcees choose to hire a lawyer to fill out the divorce papers for them, which drives up the cost of an uncontested divorce quickly. True, the divorce papers will be completed correctly, but the cost is usually not worth the minimal labor.

  • Use a divorce forms service: A divorce forms service is not a legal advisory center or other type of legal aide; it is a company that specializes in completing divorce forms. These companies are usually a good option because the services do not cost as much as a lawyer, and the forms are completed by professionals.

However, be wary of false divorce forms services. Scammy divorce forms service companies usually do not have a method of contact on their website (like a phone number, address, or live customer support module). Before making payments to an online divorce forms service, make sure the website has a method of securing your payment.

Can we get an uncontested divorce if we don’t get along?

You and your spouse may not be the best of friends during your divorce, and that’s okay, even in an uncontested divorce. The divorcing couple may not stand the sight of each other, but as long as they can agree on how they want to settle the matters discussed in first section (division of assets, child issues, and more), they can get an uncontested divorce.

If during the divorce, the spouses find an area they cannot agree on, negotiate, or otherwise overcome, then they may have to seek mediation. If the divorce is at a standstill because of certain issues, then the divorce is considered contested, and the couple will have to hire a lawyer.

Is this helpful information, or is there a question about uncontested divorces we missed? Let us know in the comment box below.

The Evolution of Child Custody

history of child custodyLittle more than a decade ago, it was estimated that 90% of child custody was settled with the mother gaining full custody of the children. This obvious imbalance in custodial arrangements has made fathers all over America wonder at the horrible injustice and sex discrimination perpetrated by American courts.

But the courts didn’t just wake up one day and decide mothers were better parents; and family court judges are not battling Oedipus complexes. The reason about 90% of mothers received child custody in the past is due to a little thing called the Tender Years Doctrine. But we’ll get to the Tender Years Doctrine in a bit; first we have to make our way through a short history of the evolution of child custody law.

From Ancient Rome to 2013 America

Roman common law, established around 439 B.C., dictated that children of a marriage were the property of the father. This meant if a Roman husband and wife divorced, the children stayed with the father and the mother left.

Jump ahead hundreds of years to English common law, established around 1000 A.D., which upheld the same child custody outline as Roman common law. Simply carry the same basic common laws over into the founding of America, and you have the basis of American custody laws. The law theory pertaining to child custody was that the father was the only suitable parent to teach the children the ways of the world.

However, hundreds of years later during the time of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800′s, the question of what was best for the child became the focus.

Tender Years Doctrine

The Tender Years Doctrine replaced old Roman and English common law child custody arrangements by giving mothers custody of children, until the age of 6. This change was spurred by the Industrial Revolution’s impact on family structure.

The Industrial Revolution caused men to seek jobs away from the remote villages the English people lived in up until that point. The absence of husbands and fathers forced women and mothers to handle the housekeeping and child rearing completely by themselves. When divorces occurred during this time, the courts saw how impossible it would be for fathers to continue to take full custody of the children.

The Tender Years Doctrine stated that children under the age of 6 were too young to leave their mother’s love and care. However, once children grew older, they were of sufficient age and maturity to follow their fathers to industrial towns to work. In America, the Tender Years Doctrine extended the mother’s custody indefinitely, which is the cause of the statistic describing mothers retaining child custody 90% of the time after a divorce.

Do We Have a New Doctrine?

The 1960′s marked the beginning of the divorce spike, which peaked in the 1980′s; but the divorce revolution also sparked a child custody revolution in the U.S. The new child custody doctrine is defined not by the gender of the custodian (a.k.a. the parent granted with child custody), but by the best interests of the child.

So far, this new “best interests” custody doctrine adopted by American family law courts has created the joint custody option. The first joint custody statute was implemented in California in 1979; by 1991, joint custody was written into more than 40 state statutes.

But here’s the catch: Many people are still seeing mothers gaining preferential custody rights in the divorce process. This claim produces many questions, like “Is this still true today?”

Check back with us later this week for the answer to that question.

Do Fathers Have Custody Rights?

fathers rightsParents: Have any of you parents found yourself with your foot shoved far into your mouth? Yeah, so has every other person at one point in time. But trips to the playground seem to coincide with sudden cravings for the taste of feet. The huddle of parents watching their children play is a breeding ground for innocent-enough small talk, until one person makes the assumption that the divorced father just has visitation.

Each person in the group suddenly is interested in the look of their shoes, eyes widen, and lips slowly are pressed into a thin line. If the seemingly-innocent comment was fresh of your lips, your eyes mirror the apology currently flowing from your mouth.

The Truth About Father Custodians

If the father had heard this before, and is aware of the statistics, they probably were not too offended. After all, the 2009 U.S. census reports only about 17.8% of fathers gain full custody rights of the children after a divorce. It was just your luck that you bumped into the 1 father out of 6 who was the custodial parent. But, if you are the father fighting for custody, don’t let past statistics guide your choice to fight the good custodial fight.

Historically, fathers were the preferred custodian of any children in a divorce or marital split (which we discussed at length in a previous blog); but at the turn of the century, mothers became the championed custodial parents. Ever since the switch in child custody doctrines (read the blog and you’ll understand), the number of custodial mothers have all but stomped out the number of custodial fathers.

In custody battles, fathers may dejectedly say or think, “What’s the point of fighting for custody? The courts never favor the father.” But we are here to say, “Buck up, soldier. These days, fathers have just as many rights to custody as mothers.”

Fighting the Good Fight

We don’t normally endorse any kind of animosity or battling, but when a child’s true best interests are at stake, we fully support fighting the good fight. And besides, single fatherhood is quickly gaining momentum in American society.

In 1993, Indiana became the first American state to pass a child custody law in favor of joint parenting plans. Since then, the other U.S. states have passed similar custody laws championing joint parenting plans. As a result, the amount of single fathers grew by 37.9 percent between the years of 1990 and 2000; the rate continued to increase by 27.3% between the years of 2000 and 2010.

The Pen is Mightier

Although the world we live in might seem to enjoy horrific wars, the pen really is mightier than the sword; this is true especially during a custody battle. Nowadays, courts are focusing more on the best interests of the child, instead of the genders of the parents and child involved.

The courts generally consider the best interests of the child to be factors like:

  • maintaining the same standard of living

  • living in a stable, familiar environment

  • living with the parent who cared and provided for the child on a daily basis

If the father provide examples of all the factors above (and the other state-specific requirements), then he has a good chance of gaining custody. However, don’t take our word as divorce law. If you’re embroiled in a heated custody battle, you should probably seek legal guidance.

We try our best to be helpful and informative at MyDivorceDocuments.com, but we can’t cover everything without hearing from you. If you have a question or comment, let us know in the comment box below. We’ll do our best to get you the best information available.

Love at Any (St)Age

Let’s just acknowledge this right off that bat: Just because you’re divorced does not mean you’re dead. Although at times during the divorce process you might feel like a fine specimen of the living dead, you are not. Just repeat that to yourself in the mirror a few times a day and maybe you’ll actually start to believe it.

But this blog is about the post-divorce stage when trips to the grocery store becoming a grazing ground, in more than one way (if you catch our drift). For some, this stage approaches faster and with more ease than for other divorcees. But we have a sneaking suspicion one of the contributing factors to the time and ease at which a divorcee re-enters the dating scene is whether they come in a multi-pack.

The More the Merrier?

It’s difficult for a divorcee to re-enter the dating world, let alone for a divorcee who also holds the title of parent to re-enter the dating world. The statistics overwhelmingly shout that children of divorce are scarred for life, do poorly in school, might be suicidal, don’t seek healthy relationships, and for some reason are not math whizzes. So it’s no wonder a newly divorced parent’s head explodes at the thought of what dating would do to their children.

We are all for independent thinking, and let us emphasize no one knows what’s best for your family other than you and your family. But in case you were wondering, popular opinions on this topic range the entire spectrum. On one end of the spectrum, we have people who believe dating and children should be in totally separate spheres; at on the other end of the spectrum, we have people who believe they can be mixed healthily.

Finding Your Comfort Zone

In a HuffPost Live segment, host Marc Lamont Hill invites divorced parents/ HuffPost bloggers Ed Housewright, Emma Johnson, Jena Kingsley, Jessica Solloway, and Robin Amos Kahn to discuss the topic of single parents dating. The diverse group shares ideas about how to approach dating after divorce, and shed light on all the beautiful points of the spectrum.

Here are the arguments behind the two opposing sides of the issue, as brought up by the HuffPost bloggers:

  • Slow and Steady: The first concern dating parents under this philosophy have is their children’s emotional and mental state. Divorce presents a horrible upheaval for children and their families, which can cause confusion and emotional instability. Dating parents fear introducing romantic possibilities to their children will open the gateway to further feelings of abandonment and pain, should the relationship not work out. Parents operating under this belief promote only introducing a romantic partner after about 6 solid months of being in an exclusive relationship.

  • C’est La Vie: The opposing camp believes dating parents can approach dating with their children in a positive, balanced manner. As stated by one of the HuffPost bloggers, teaching your children about the ebbs and flows of life can prepare and strengthen a child to handle all of life’s curveballs. Age-appropriate communication about dating is the key to going this route, especially explaining the role (or lack of a role) dates have in the child’s life.

Wherever you may fall in the spectrum, don’t forget the players in the relationship. As Housewright said in the HuffPost discussion: “It just depends on your child. You need to know your child, and know their make-up. I don’t think you can make across the board rules. I wouldn’t give any advice to anybody else.”

Where do you fall on the spectrum and why? Sound off, Readers.