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Gettysburg Pennsylvania Family Law Blog

Children and the holiday season after divorce

Holidays can be stressful for all families, but separated and divorced parents in Pennsylvania may have to deal with additional challenges. Along with their children, parents may be struggling with emotions that include sadness, anger, fear and loss; in addition, the change in routine and traditions can be difficult. However, it is necessary for parents to put these feelings aside so that they can focus on their children and make sure they have a pleasant holiday season.

Parents should not simply repress their emotions, so they may need to deal with them by talking to a therapist or counselor or just to loved ones. They should encourage their children to spend time with the other parent during the holidays and enjoy themselves instead of trying to prevent it.

Divorcing couples turning to parallel parenting to avoid conflict

Like many divorced parents across the country, Pennsylvania parents often struggle with maintaining an amicable relationship with one another after a separation. Because children are involved in the process of custody and visitation orders, ex-spouses have to see each other at some point, but these interactions can lead to trouble for both parents and the well-being of the children. As a means to combat this common problem, some ex-spouses are turning to parallel parenting as a solution.

According to The Good Men Project, parallel parenting is an arrangement in which both parents treat custody in a business-like manner with little personal interaction. Through parallel parenting, both parents are able to raise the children in their own ways with only major decisions involving things like medical treatments being discussed. The purpose of parallel parenting, as pointed out by The Good Men Project, is to reduce conflict between divorced parents who are unable to get along.

How nesting may help and hinder children after divorce

Some Pennsylvania parents who are getting a divorce might want to consider an arrangement called "nesting" or "birdnesting" for a few months. This allows children to remain in the home while parents take turns living with them there. However, most experts caution that only three to six months is the ideal amount of time for this arrangement.

The advantage of nesting is that it provides stability for children in a time of upheaval. For example, a child might have the opportunity to finish out the year at the same school. However, it can create a strain for parents. While an effective nesting arrangement requires parents to get along very well, even individuals who have a good relationship may find it strained by having to share living quarters. Usually, in addition to the family home, parents also take turns living in a small apartment. Another disadvantage of nesting is that it may encourage children to think their parents will get back together.

Why so many people over age 50 are getting divorced

In the three or more decades that you've been married, you've likely encountered all sorts of challenges in your relationship and in your family life, in general. Raising your children, perhaps helping your now-adult kids raise their children, going through career changes, financial crises and other life circumstances through the years have made you who you are today.  

It may also have helped you determine that your marriage is no longer sustainable. In fact, there has been a tremendous increase in divorce for people age 50 and over here in Pennsylvania and across the country in the past 10 to 20 years. On one hand, you may wonder why anyone who has already survived 25 or 30 years of marriage would want to start proceedings that involve having to resolve legal issues, financial issues and property issues. On the other hand, you may be able to relate to those who are considering doing just that.  

Fathers face many potential challenges in family court

Some Pennsylvania fathers may struggle within the court system after divorce. From expensive support payments and civil protection orders to being left off the child's birth certificate, there are many common issues that fathers may face. However, there are ways to navigate the waters of being a single dad.

Many fathers struggle with child support obligations. Experts suggest that fathers who fall behind on child support should still try to pay something to show they are making a good faith effort. They may want to consider hiring a lawyer to help them request a modification in support. While courts expect biological parents to support their children, they also recognize that sometimes there are extenuating circumstances such as job loss. While a modification will not wipe away past child support debt, it may lower payments going forward.

Financial prudence can help after divorce

When people in Pennsylvania decide to divorce, they may be particularly concerned with how they will emerge financially from the end of their marriage. The financial consequences of divorce can linger on long after the dissolution is finalized and after the emotional and practical matters have been handled. However, by keeping some guidelines in mind, divorcing spouses can help to stay on track toward achieving their financial goals.

Some people may be tempted to spend in the period immediately following their divorce. They may want to explore the single life with a new look, a vacation or a new car. They already need a new place to live, so they may consider splurging on a dream home. However, the period after divorce is a time for financial adjustment. Moving from a dual-income household to a single-income household can have a major effect on people's ability to handle certain expenses. By waiting to jump into major purchases for a period after the divorce is finalized, people can make better choices that fit their new budgets.

How are living together and divorce rates linked?

Pennsylvania couples who choose to live together before marriage could be at a higher risk for divorce according to a recent study. Over the years, statistical analysis has indicated that people who live together before marriage may be more likely to struggle with conflicts during the marriage. Other researchers have argued that this effect can derive from multiple factors, including social disapproval of premarital cohabitation. As of 2018, a strong majority of Americans approve of living together before marriage.

However, this study says that changing attitudes about living together before marriage have not affected the overall likelihood of divorce. The researchers argue that couples who do not live together before marriage are more likely to divorce in their first year together because they have a difficult time adjusting to sharing a home. However, people who shared a home before marriage become more likely to divorce in later years together. The study examined data from U.S. women who married for the first time between 1970 and 2015 at the age of 44 or younger.

Seeking out effective methods to co-parent the kids after divorce

Going through the end of a marriage can be a stressful and daunting experience, especially if you and your soon-to-be ex have children together. While you may be ready to enter a new chapter in life, your children might not feel the same, and safeguarding their well-being is likely your top priority.

Since protecting the future of your children is probably a goal you and the other parent share, you may wish to reach a parenting plan with their interests at heart. If your preferred path is to share parenting responsibilities with the other party, you might be in search of advice on effective co-parenting methods.

Prenups can be part of smart future planning

When people in Pennsylvania hear the term, "prenuptial agreement," they may have a lot of preconceived ideas. In many cases, public perception of prenups is shaped by news coverage of celebrity divorces and the associated legal battles. However, this document can often be a responsible choice for many types of couples. A lot of people steer clear of prenups because they fear that these agreements equal them beginning to plan for divorce before the wedding has even happened. However, prenups can also be mutual documents that respect each other and provide common-sense protections.

While many people think prenups are only for the super-rich, celebrities or people with significant family wealth, they can be useful for individuals of varying financial means. This document can be used to decide on future spousal support payments, the division of real estate or even how debts should be apportioned. Even more, they're not only for planning for a future divorce. Prenups can include provisions that set up a framework for estate planning. This can be particularly important when both parties are entering the marriage with existing children.

Filing for divorce

Many people in Pennsylvania file for divorce every year. Some choose to proceed without a lawyer and file the paperwork on their own. A person who is representing him or herself is known as a "pro se" litigant.

The first step a person who is filing for a divorce him or herself should take is to obtain paperwork that is specific to his or her state. There are many websites that offer complaint, summons and basic settlement forms. In some areas, local courthouses have the paperwork available.

Law Office of
Katrina Luedtke LLC

Law Office of Katrina Luedtke LLC
43 West Middle Street
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: 717-253-9951
Fax: 717-420-2151
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