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White Plains Divorce Law Blog

4 reasons you may be able to change a custody schedule

It is incredibly important to follow the child custody schedule that you get during your divorce. Never willfully break it and violate your ex's rights.

That said, it is also critical to remember that these schedules may not work forever. You can, in some cases, modify them to better fit what you and your child need. Four potential reasons to do so include:

7 signs that may mean a divorce is coming

Impending divorce is not always obvious before it happens. Some couples split up after one unexpected event or because of outside factors, such as a drug addiction problem. However, there are some signs that experts use to predict divorce. They may mean that a marital breakdown is statistically more likely.

Again, these just mean that it could be more likely -- not that it is a guarantee. Even so, it is important to know what to look out for. Some signs include the following:

  1. Doubts right before the wedding: People often assume jitters are normal on a big day, but they can actually predict that the marriage won't last.
  2. An early marriage: Couples who get married young, especially in their teens, have a harder time keeping the relationship going.
  3. A late marriage: At the same time, getting married after age 32 could also mean divorce is more likely.
  4. Divorced parents: Those whose parents split up are around 40 percent more likely to end their own marriages than those whose parents stayed married.
  5. Serious debt: Money problems end a lot of marriages, especially when one person does most of the spending.
  6. Smoking: If both people smoke, it may not matter, but if only one person does, that couple faces higher odds of divorce.
  7. Living together first: The chances of divorce go up slightly if the couple lived together before they decided to tie the knot -- though this is a very common practice in modern society.

The other parent of my child is not exercising custody rights

Imagine a judge awards you with full physical custody of your children and awards your ex-spouse with visitation rights; however, your ex hasn't once shown up to exercise his or her custody rights. Should you file a lawsuit to revoke or limit your ex's visitation rights? Or, should you be patient and hope that your ex later develops an interest in your children -- which would probably be the healthiest situation for your children in the long run?

Many family law attorneys actually discourage parents from attempting to revoke or limit the other parent's visitation rights. This is because, no matter how bad or irresponsible your ex happens to be, your children may not understand or forgive you for taking such an action. A more recommendable course of action is to take whatever action is necessary to help support and foster a better relationship between yourself and your ex. Doing so will help safeguard your children from feeling unwanted or unloved, and prevent them from suffering from the hurt and pain that goes along with such feelings.

Who benefits from a 50-50 child custody plan?

Divorcing parents will always struggle to find a workable solution to sharing the time they have with their children. In some cases, the best way to work out a parenting plan is to share the children 50-50. This usually involves the children living half the time with one parent and the remaining time with the other. Parents might divide their kids every other week, every two weeks or split the week right down the middle. Ultimately, it's best that the plan works to provide each parent with equal weekend time to enjoy with the kids.

As for whom the 50-50 plan works best, parents who answer "yes" to the following might benefit from the 50-50 plan:

  • The parents live close enough to one another to make exchanges convenient.
  • The parents can communicate and make decisions without constantly fighting.
  • The child is mentally and emotionally capable of living in two different homes.
  • Both parents have a commitment to the best interests of the child or children.
  • Both parents are on board with the idea of a 50-50 plan.

You work hard for your child: Make sure to document it

If you're in the middle of a child custody dispute, or about to be in one, there's one thing you should consider doing immediately: Keep a childcare journal. This journal will include information pertaining to the daily things you do on behalf of and with your children. It could serve as the most important piece of evidence that your child custody matter hinges upon: Who serves as the primary caretaker of your children?

The parent who can prove the status of being the primary caretaker is the parent who will receive preference in any child custody case decision. In some cases, both parents serve as primary caretakers, and in other cases only one parent performed the lion's share of the work required to raise the children. Regardless of your situation, you want to have evidence of the parenting tasks you performed.

Should I fight my prenuptial agreement in court?

Imagine your husband has been having an affair and he wants to get a divorce. You agree, and that's when his lawyer contacts you to remind you of the prenuptial agreement you signed two decades ago - something you had long-ago forgotten about. The question is: Will your prenuptial agreement even hold up in court? Can you challenge it after all these years?

Here are several legal grounds by which you might be able to contest a prenuptial agreement:

8 ways a prenuptial agreement helps

Prenuptial agreements have had a bad reputation for a long time, but in recent years, more and more spouses are seeing the wisdom of these agreements. Essentially, a prenup recognizes that humans aren't perfect, and sometimes we make mistakes when we select the person who we think we want to spend the rest of our lives with. It represents a sound and respectful plan for the possibility of divorce, which hopefully will never occur.

Here are some of the benefits of signing a prenuptial agreement before your marriage:

  • If you have children from a prior marriage, your prenuptial agreement can protect their inheritance rights.
  • A premarital agreement will protect your ownership rights of a professional practice or business.
  • A premarital agreement will protect your future spouse from the debts you currently hold.
  • Premarital agreements protect spouses who give up their lucrative careers to enter into a marriage.
  • Spouses can detail in their prenups how they plan to share responsibilities during marriage.
  • Spouses can use premarital agreements to limit their liability in terms of spousal support.
  • Premarital agreements can protect the financial interests of individuals who have substantial wealth and plan to get married.
  • Premarital agreements create an action plan for divorce, allowing divorces to happen more swiftly and cost-effectively.

What physical child custody arrangements are right for you?

Determining what kind of physical child custody arrangements are right for you will depend on various factors. For example, you'll want to determine what arrangements are best for your child. You'll also need to consider both parent's work schedules. Let's look at these two issues in more detail.

What's right for your child?

Child custody agreements and international travel

When it comes to international travel, parents need to establish some guidelines about the procedures that must be followed when one of the parents wants to take the child outside of the United States.

While it can be an enriching experience for your child to travel overseas with you or the other parent, it can also be dangerous, so it's important that you establish some simple rules. Parents can codify these rules within their parenting plan in the form of parenting provisions that might look something like this:

  • Both parents can travel out of the United States with the child if they provide at a minimum 14 days of notice to the other parent. This notice will include a detailed itinerary showing where the child will be and when, along with phone numbers so the other parent can be in touch if needed.
  • The parents agree to share legal documents, such as birth certificates and passports, with one another if they are required for the child to travel out of the country with the parent.
  • The parents will not apply for passports for the child without first obtaining the permission of the other parent or a family law court.
  • The parents will keep the child's passport in a safe deposit box guarded under court seal.

401(k) assets: 2 divorce mistakes to avoid

Your 401(k) assets represent your future financial security. However, they also represent an asset that probably needs to be divided in your divorce proceedings. If you earned and saved some of your 401(k) during the course of your marriage, then the amount of those assets you acquired during your marriage will be subject to the asset division process.

It's important that you handle the division of 401(k) assets in a way that protects your marital property rights and your future retirement security by avoiding the following mistakes:

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