Tips for Empty Nesters When the Kids Leave for College

Many parents are working through the transition in their lives created when their children leave for college. As CFLGSD member and family law attorney Julia Garwood notes, things change. They no longer know when the kids are home, whether they are eating or sleeping properly, who they are hanging out with, and other everyday activities.

Many couples find themselves in the situation where the kids are gone and they are left with a spouse that they no longer know – except in relationship to the children. It can be a crucial time in your marriage. Unfortunately, some empty nesters find themselves contemplating divorce or separation because they’ve spent so much time being parents that they forget how to be lovers. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

College Empty NestersGarwood has excellent advice for parents who might feel confused or even overwhelmed by the changes created due to your child’s new “freedom,” and your own new “freedom” as a result. Read her excellent tips here to help survive the transition to becoming a happy empty nesting couple.

 

 

Survey: Single Fathers Head Record Number of Households with Minor Children in U.S.

A record 8% of households with minor children in the United States are headed by a single father, up from just over 1% in 1960, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of Decennial Census and American Community Survey data.

SDT-2013-07-single-fathers-01The number of single father households has increased about ninefold since 1960, from less than 300,000 to more than 2.6 million in 2011.

The entire Pew Research study can be found at this link. There is a tremendous amount of data offered in this study which could be useful to anyone dealing with issues affecting families including divorce, custody and support issues.

Have you run across this trend in your own professional experience? Tell us and add your observations in the comments section.

How to Find the Divorce Process That Works for You

by Mel Mackler, MA, LMFT
Coaching and Education for an Emotionally Healthy Divorce

Divorce: You have choices

When it comes to divorce, many people hire an attorney out of anxiety. They feel compelled to get advice or protection, often before they’ve discussed the situation with their spouse or partner.  Once the discussion is on the table, a spouse may feel compelled to seek immediate protection.

How do most people choose an attorney? It’s often by word of mouth: friends who have used an attorney, a friend who practices law, or a recommendation from a family member.  While the advice may bring quick relief by reducing anxiety, the advice is frequently biased and won’t necessarily take into account the individual needs of the person or their family.

Most people don’t realize that when they retain an attorney, they are not only hiring a personality, they are also buying a divorce process.

In California, there are four different methods that can be used to attain a divorce.  Typically, attorneys specialize in one of these processes although they may have experience working with more than that one specialty.  And each process has its merits and costs—financial as well as emotional.

If you’re considering divorce, become familiar with each of theses of processes before you retain your attorney. Think about which process fits the emotional make up of your family and which can offer the kind of emotional support you imagine your self, your spouse, or your kids needing.

Divorce is a process of negotiation and communication so you’ll want to think about the skills you and your partner share.  Are you able to have productive conversations when there are differences of opinions?  Do each of you have the capacity to manage your anxiety when tensions build so that you stay focused and can come to a rational agreement?  Is there a balance of power in your relationship or does one person tend to dominate?

In many communities there are divorce educators and divorce coaches who can lead you through the process of determining which process would best suit your family make up.  They will give you referrals to attorneys who specialize in the process you decide is going to be best for your family.  They can also help you to understand the financial costs associated with each process.

Become an aware consumer before retaining an attorney. If you and your spouse or partner can go through this process together and mutually choose a suitable divorce process, all the better.  This would be a great beginning to what I hope will be a cooperative and constructive future.  It may also help indicate what processes are compatible with your and your spouse’s abilities.

Sperm Donor Being Pursued for Child Support

Family law attorney and CFLGSD member Myra Fleischer discussed a Kansas child support case making national news in this interview with NBC 7 San Diego. In the case, a man who participated in a private donation arranged via Craigslist to a same-sex couple is now being pursued for support after the biological mother applied for public assistance after being unable to work due to medical problems. Since the laws in Kansas and California are similar, while the case is unusual it could happen here. See Myra’s interview in the video window below.

Who Is A Parent in 2013?

by Frank X. Nageotte, CLS-FL

Faced over the last 30 years with rapid advances in the science of human reproduction and fertility, DNA analysis, and genetics, the equally rapid evolution of the legal rights of gay and lesbian individuals, and significant changes in social views regarding traditional marriage, same-sex couples, and families, the law throughout the United States has been forced to wrestle with the question of just exactly “who is a parent?”

The New Normal: Who Is a Parent

The New Normal: Who is considered a parent under the law in 2013?

The traditional “nuclear family” consisting of a married man and woman with children to whom they are connected by either biology or adoption is no longer the only family structure with which the courts must deal.  In some states, same-sex people can marry. Many other states have some form of Registered Domestic Partnership (“RDP”) for same-sex couples.  Of course, many couples (straight and gay) have children without being married or RDPs.  As a result, the definitions of “family” and “parent” have broadened significantly.

It is now legally possible in many states for a person who has no biological connection to a child, who has not adopted the child, and who is not married to (or an RDP with) the child’s biological parent, to nevertheless be found to be a “parent” of that child.  These cases often arise in connection with the break-up of a same-sex relationship.  However, disputes over parentage also arise between biological parents and stepparents, between surrogate mothers and the parties with whom they have contracted, and between sperm and/or egg donors and the recipients of their genetic material in cases of in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination.

In these cases, the courts are called upon to determine and evaluate the “intent” of the parties, the terms (if any) of their contract or agreement, the roles that they each have played in the child’s life, the existence and nature of a parental “bond” between each party and the child, and exactly what form of “family” will best meet the child’s interests and needs.

These cases are by their very nature extremely emotional and often heart-rending.  Resolving these cases through litigation can be quite expensive, especially since appeals are often necessary given the unsettled nature of the law in this area.  As is generally true with regard to all family law cases, our civil litigation system is very poorly equipped to handle these deeply personal issues.  Collaborative Family Law, with its team approach, use of appropriate experts, confidentiality, and focus on problem solving, is a much better process for these cases.

Why Collaborative Divorce is a Better Option for Parents and Their Children

By Debra N. Caligiuri, attorney and mediator, CFLG San Diego Member

January is International Child Centered Divorce Month – a whole month dedicated to alerting parents about the effects of divorce on children and teaching them how to prevent emotional and psychological damage to children during and after a divorce. One of the named promoters of this concept is a helpful website, Our Family Wizard.

Our Family Wizard Website

The Our Family Wizard website can make parenting after divorce easier for everyone.

Our Family Wizard provides child custody and co-parenting tools to divorcing couples. Parenting between two people who are no longer a couple, and not in the same home, can become complicated. The Our Family Wizard website is an effective, common sense way for you and your co-parent to create parenting schedules, communicate important kid-related items with your co-parent, and make and keep a record of shared child-related expenses.

San Diego Family Court judges frequently recommend (and sometimes order) parents to make use of the tools Our Family Wizard offers. Their goal in providing positive resources for parents is to improve the lives of children of divorce. My clients who use the site appreciate its simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

Most parents are aware that how you conduct yourself during and after the divorce process will impact your children for years to come. Studies reveal that divorce does not necessarily harm children, and in some instances may improve children’s lives. But there is no doubt that a high level of conflict between you and your spouse can seriously damage your kids.

Fortunately, divorcing parents now have options and resources available to help keep conflict with one another to a minimum. They are no longer stuck with going through an adversarial divorce in a court of law, with attorneys who are profiting off the conflict. Instead, they have options. Among the best: choosing attorneys who promote the childrens’ best interests by offering a collaborative approach to divorce. With the appropriate level of professional expertise and support, you and your spouse are able to focus on what truly is important to your family’s lives.

Choose collaborative. Your children will thank you for it.

Contact Debra N. Caligiuri at www.caligiurilaw.com or call 760-477-8595.

Sperm donation, parental rights, and the law: Column by CFLGSD member Myra Chack Fleischer

Sperm-Donation-Paternity-Child-Support-Law

Can a sperm donor end up on the hook for child support? The case of Kansas sperm donor William Marotta has raised numerous questions about the potential obligations of a sperm donor who never intended to be a legal parent to a child. Laws do vary from state to state; the law in California is similar to Kansas. The issue in this case arose after a same-sex couple separated, and no second parent adoption took place.

CFLGSD member Myra Chack Fleischer, lead counsel with Fleischer & Associates, explored the many issues raised in this case in her latest column for Communities Digital News at the Washington Times. Read more here. What implications does this have for your clients?

Read more: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/legally-speaking/2013/jan/17/daddy-sperm-donors-paternity-child-support-law/