A Canadian couple has been making international news after posting a selfie online right after they got a divorce. The big deal? They’re side by side and smiling broadly in the picture. The couple captioned the photo with a note about how they had “respectfully, thoughtfully and honourably ended” their relationship and were moving forward as dedicated “parenting partners.”
In a world where it seems like there is story after story of contentious divorces and bitter custody battles, a post like that seems like a breath of fresh air. Many divorced couples are wondering how they too can be more civil or even friendly in their interactions.
Contrary to what it may feel like in the midst of divorce proceedings, where you are fighting over visitation, child support and who gets to keep the house, it is possible to have a positive divorce experience. Two key tenants of this are civil communication and a commitment to keeping the divorce — and the years afterward — as low-conflict as possible.
This may mean only communicating in writing and letting any correspondence sit for at least 24 hours before sending to ensure you aren’t firing off heated emails while you’re angry. It may also mean holding to the saying “fake it till you make it.”
In even the most amicable of divorces, every moment is not pleasant. There will be times of anger, sadness and frustration. It’s important to understand that even when you are feeling less than friendly, smiling and treating your ex as you would a coworker can go a long way toward keeping emotions in check and your interactions less stressful.
Source: SheKnows, “How to have a picture-perfect divorce,” Marci O’Connor, Sep. 08, 2015
Child custody cases are often difficult on the parents and the child. In some cases, other family members can also feel the pain of the child custody case. Some family members, such as grandparents, might decide to seek contact with the child. The Family Law Act provides a way for non-guardians to still be able to see a child.
There are several different types of contact that a child can have with someone who isn’t a parent or guardian of the child. It is important to note that while the person is in contact with the child, they can’t make decisions about the child’s life. Only someone who is the child’s guardian can make those types of decisions.
A person who is granted contact with a child might have certain conditions placed upon him or her for that contact. One possibility for contact is called conditions on contact. When the court orders this, the person has to meet certain requirements before he or she can have contact with the child. In some cases, there are specific conditions about what the person can do with the child.
The court might order that the person only has contact with the child in specified places or at specified times. The person would have to follow those guidelines to be able to see the child.
Another possibility is a supervised visit. In this case, the visit with the child would be monitored. The person monitored might be a family member or friend.
In all cases of contact with a child that goes through the court, it is vital that you follow the plan the court establishes. Deviating from the plan can lead to a denial of contact with the child.
Source: Family Law in British Columbia, “Spending time with a child if you’re not a guardian: Contact,” accessed Sep. 06, 2015
While it’s normal and even expected to be upset at having limited time with your children after a divorce or losing a custody battle, it’s always important to respect the court’s decision and take any further action through the appropriate legal channels. Making spur of the moment decisions can backfire later on down the line and negatively affect another bid for custody or increased visitation rights. According to reports, INTERPOL was looking for four children who were believed to have been taken overseas by their father. The mother said that she had been worried about this possibility for quite some time after a contentious divorce and custody battle over the couple’s children. It appears that the incident began after the father did not return the children after a European vacation. The children’s mother believes he may have taken them to the Middle East, where he had ties.
The arrest warrant was issued for the man, a doctor who was known for working with Syrian refugees, across all of Canada, and the children are listed on the website for INTERPOL. However, some of those close to the case say that the man is a good father and has just been having a hard time dealing with the aftermath of the divorce and custody battle. One acquaintance of the father alleged that the mother had been making it difficult for the father to spend time with the children.
While there are always two sides to every story, not returning the children to a custodial parent after a visitation time is never a good idea, regardless of the circumstances. This can lead to consequences such as decreased time with the children later on or limitations imposed on parenting time.
Source: AM 730, “UPDATE: BC doctor wanted for abducting his children,” Charmaine de Silva, Aug. 26, 2015
While custody orders usually set forth some general co-parenting guidelines, a visitation schedule and child support, they often do not include details on how to handle the smaller expenses related to raising children. Extracurricular activities are just one example of things that require parents to pay fees or buy equipment beyond the scope of the child support order.
If parents know ahead of time that these things are likely to be issues, they may be able to set forth provisions in the court order for how those expenses will be handled, but more often than not, parents are left to figure this part out for themselves. One of the most contentious points in this process can be proving that the expense was necessary, showing that it should be a shared expense and requesting reimbursement.Add New
However, the new wave of co-parenting apps is making it easier for parents to navigate these issues. Most of these apps provide a way to directly link your bank account so that you can pay each other through the app — the app sometimes takes a couple of dollars as a processing fee — but the most important feature is the ability to show proof of the expense. Uploading a receipt with a request for reimbursement makes it easy for the other parent to see what the money was for, who paid and how much their portion should be.
For those who don’t want to use a formal parenting app, using free cloud storage programs may be an alternative. The parents create a shared cloud storage account and can upload receipts, records and even photos so that both parties have access to these materials as needed without always having to go through the other parent.
Source: Reuters, “Expense apps help divorced parents avoid anger,” Beth Pinsker, accessed Sep. 24, 2015