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Navigating the Dating Scene After Divorce: A Journey of Self-Discovery

Introduction:

Dating after divorce can be a daunting prospect. It marks a new chapter in your life, filled with both excitement and uncertainty. The end of a marriage often brings forth a range of emotions, and the thought of putting yourself out there again can feel overwhelming. However, with the right mindset and a willingness to embark on a journey of self-discovery, dating after divorce can be a transformative and fulfilling experience. In this blog, we will explore some valuable insights and tips to help you navigate the dating scene after divorce.

1. Embrace Self-Reflection and Healing:

Before actively pursuing new relationships, it's crucial to take the time to heal and reflect on your past experiences. Divorce can leave emotional scars, and it's essential to address and process those feelings before moving forward. Allow yourself to grieve the loss of your marriage and learn from the lessons it taught you. Engaging in self-reflection will help you gain clarity about your desires, values, and what you're looking for in a future partner.

2. Redefine Your Identity:

Divorce often leads to a significant shift in one's identity. As you begin dating after divorce, take the opportunity to redefine yourself outside the context of your previous relationship. Rediscover your passions, interests, and personal goals. Embrace activities that bring you joy and allow you to connect with others who share similar interests. By focusing on personal growth, you will attract partners who are genuinely compatible with the person you've become.

3. Set Realistic Expectations:

It's important to approach dating after divorce with realistic expectations. Understand that finding a new partner takes time and effort. Be open-minded and willing to explore different avenues of meeting people, such as online dating, social events, or through mutual friends. Avoid rushing into a new relationship out of fear or loneliness. Instead, focus on building meaningful connections and allowing relationships to develop naturally.

4. Communicate Your Needs and Boundaries:

After divorce, you have a better understanding of what you need and the boundaries you want to establish in a relationship. Effective communication is key to establishing healthy connections. Be open and honest about your expectations, desires, and deal-breakers. By expressing your needs early on, you can ensure that you and your potential partner are on the same page, fostering a more fulfilling and balanced relationship.

5. Prioritize Self-Care:

Dating after divorce can be emotionally taxing, so it's crucial to prioritize self-care. Take care of your physical and mental well-being by engaging in activities that promote self-love and self-care. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, practice mindfulness, and surround yourself with a support network of friends and family who uplift and encourage you. Remember that your happiness and well-being should always be a priority.

Conclusion:

Dating after divorce is an opportunity for growth, self-discovery, and finding love again. It's a chance to learn from past experiences, redefine your identity, and establish new connections with people who align with your values and aspirations. By embracing self-reflection, setting realistic expectations, communicating your needs, and prioritizing self-care, you can navigate the dating scene after divorce with confidence and optimism. Remember, dating is a journey, and with patience and an open heart, you'll find the love and companionship you deserve.

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The Impact of Mental Health on Families During Divorce

Introduction:

Divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process that can have far-reaching consequences for all family members involved. While the focus of divorce is often on the legal and financial aspects, it is crucial to recognize the significant impact it can have on mental health. In this blog post, we will delve into how mental health can affect families during divorce, drawing upon the insights of Dr. Imani Walker, a renowned mental health expert who recently discussed this topic on the Custody Queens YouTube channel.

Understanding the Emotional Turmoil of Divorce:

Divorce is undoubtedly a stressful life event, and the associated emotional turmoil can take a toll on everyone involved. Feelings of anger, sadness, confusion, and fear are common during this period. The uncertainty about the future, the breakdown of a once-intimate relationship, and the potential loss of stability can trigger or exacerbate mental health issues.

Impact on Parents:

Divorce can lead to a range of mental health challenges for parents. The process often involves intense conflict and heightened emotions, which can contribute to anxiety and depression. Parents may also experience a sense of guilt, failure, or shame, which can further exacerbate their emotional distress. These struggles can make it challenging for parents to adequately care for their children and maintain healthy co-parenting relationships.

Impact on Children:

Children are particularly vulnerable during a divorce, and their mental health can be significantly affected. They may experience a wide range of emotions, including anger, sadness, anxiety, and confusion. The disruption of their familiar routines and the potential loss of one parent's presence can be distressing. Children may struggle with feelings of abandonment, guilt, and blame, as well as exhibit behavioral changes or academic difficulties. It is essential to provide children with age-appropriate support and access to mental health resources to help them navigate these challenges.

The Role of Mental Health Professionals:

In the Custody Queens YouTube video, Dr. Imani Walker emphasizes the importance of involving mental health professionals in the divorce process. These professionals can provide invaluable support, guidance, and therapeutic interventions for both parents and children. They can help individuals develop coping strategies, manage their emotions, and work towards post-divorce healing. Mental health professionals can also assist in facilitating healthy communication and co-parenting relationships, reducing the potential negative impact on children.

The Need for Self-Care:

Divorce can be all-consuming, making it crucial for individuals going through this process to prioritize self-care. Engaging in activities that promote mental and emotional well-being, such as exercise, mindfulness, therapy, and connecting with supportive friends and family, can help individuals navigate the challenges more effectively. Taking care of oneself not only benefits the individual but also positively impacts the family dynamic during and after divorce.

Conclusion:

Divorce is a challenging journey that affects families in various ways. The impact on mental health, both for parents and children, cannot be overlooked. Recognizing the emotional turmoil and seeking appropriate support is crucial for the well-being of all family members involved. By acknowledging the significance of mental health during divorce and involving mental health professionals, families can work towards healing, effective co-parenting, and a healthier future.

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Monitored Visitation

Introduction:

Divorce can be an emotionally challenging experience, especially when children are involved. Professionally monitored visitation is a court-ordered arrangement. One aspect that often requires careful consideration is visitation arrangements. In certain cases, due to safety concerns or other factors, monitored visitation may be necessary. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of monitored visitation during and after divorce. We will also introduce a YouTube show on monitored visitation, featuring our special guest, Alison Connety, who is renowned for her compassionate and hands-on approach to supervised visits.

Understanding Monitored Visitation:

Monitored visitation is a court-ordered arrangement where a neutral third party supervises visits between a non-custodial parent and their child. This type of visitation is typically implemented when there are concerns about the child's safety or well-being during unsupervised visits. The goal of monitored visitation is to provide a secure environment for both the child and the visiting parent, ensuring that the child's best interests are protected.

The Importance of Monitored Visitation:

While divorce can strain relationships, it is crucial to prioritize the emotional and physical well-being of the children involved. Monitored visitation serves as a bridge between the child and the non-custodial parent, allowing them to maintain a relationship while ensuring their safety. By having a neutral third party present during visits, potential risks can be mitigated, and the child can feel secure in the presence of both parents.

Introducing Alison Connety: A Caring and Hands-On Approach to Supervised Visits:

Alison Connety, our special guest, is an experienced professional in the field of supervised visitation. With her vast expertise and compassionate nature, Alison has helped numerous families navigate the challenges of monitored visitation. Her dedication to creating a nurturing environment during supervised visits is unparalleled.

YouTube Show:

We are thrilled to present our YouTube show, "Monitored Visitation with Alison Connety," where she shares her insights, experiences, and tips for parents going through or having gone through a divorce. The show is a valuable resource for individuals seeking guidance on how to ensure a positive and safe visitation experience for their children.

 

Conclusion:

Monitored visitation offers a crucial solution for families navigating divorce when concerns for a child's safety arise. It is essential to prioritize the well-being of children during and after a divorce. With the guidance of professionals like Alison Connety, parents can create a caring and hands-on supervised visitation experience that fosters a healthy relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent. Remember, by ensuring a safe and nurturing environment, children can continue to thrive despite the challenges of divorce.

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Forensic Accountant

Divorce can be a complex and emotional process, especially when it comes to dividing assets and property. In many cases, it can be difficult to determine the true value of assets and property, particularly when one or both parties have complex financial portfolios. This is where a forensic accountant can be invaluable.

Jack White is a highly regarded forensic accountant with extensive experience in property and divorce issues. He has worked on countless cases involving complicated financial situations and has helped countless clients navigate the complexities of divorce.

Recently, Jack White was featured on the Custody Queens Radio Show, where he shared his expertise on property and divorce issues. During the show, he discussed the importance of understanding the true value of assets and property, as well as the potential pitfalls of relying on incomplete or inaccurate financial information.

One of the main challenges in property and divorce cases is determining the true value of assets. This is particularly true when it comes to real estate, which can be difficult to value due to a variety of factors, such as market fluctuations, location, and condition. A forensic accountant like Jack White can help by conducting a thorough analysis of the property and providing an accurate valuation.

Another important issue in property and divorce cases is the potential for hidden assets. It is not uncommon for one party to attempt to conceal assets in order to avoid having to divide them during the divorce. A forensic accountant can help uncover any hidden assets through a careful analysis of financial records and transactions.

Tracing bank accounts and uncovering hidden assets can be a crucial part of property and divorce cases. Oftentimes, one party may attempt to conceal assets in order to avoid having to divide them during the divorce. This can range from simple transfers of funds to offshore accounts to more complex schemes involving multiple accounts and transactions. A forensic accountant like Jack White can help trace bank accounts and financial transactions to uncover any hidden assets or monies. By analyzing financial records and conducting a thorough investigation, Jack can help his clients fight for their fair share of the assets.

In addition to tracing bank accounts, forensic accountants like Jack White can also help uncover hidden assets or monies that may be located in other places, such as real estate, investments, or business interests. By conducting a comprehensive analysis of all financial records and transactions, Jack can provide valuable insights into the true value of these assets and help his clients fight for their fair share.

It is important to note that uncovering hidden assets and tracing bank accounts can be a complex and time-consuming process. It requires a deep understanding of financial transactions and records, as well as the ability to identify potential red flags and discrepancies. This is why it is critical to work with an experienced and knowledgeable forensic accountant, who has a proven track record of success in uncovering hidden assets and tracing bank accounts in property and divorce cases.

In addition to property issues, divorce cases often involve complex financial portfolios, including investments, retirement accounts, and business interests. A forensic accountant like Jack White can help ensure that all assets are properly accounted for and valued, and can provide valuable insights into the tax implications of dividing these assets.

Overall, a forensic accountant can be an invaluable resource for anyone going through a divorce or dealing with property issues. By providing accurate valuations, uncovering hidden assets, and analyzing complex financial portfolios, Jack White can help his clients achieve a fair and equitable resolution to their disputes. If you are going through a divorce or facing property issues, consider consulting with a forensic accountant like Jack White to help you navigate the complexities of the process.

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Signs It's Time to End Your Marriage

Marriage is a commitment that requires a lot of effort and work to make it successful. However, there are times when a marriage may not work out, and calling it quits may be the best decision for both parties. In this blog, we'll discuss some signs that it may be time to end your marriage and offer tips on how to navigate this difficult decision. We'll also provide some helpful resources and references, including a recent episode of Custody Queens featuring Laura Rhodes-Levin, a therapist.

Signs It's Time to End Your Marriage

  1. Constant Arguments and Conflict: It's normal to have disagreements and arguments in any relationship, but if you find that you and your partner are constantly fighting and unable to resolve your issues, it may be a sign that your marriage is no longer working.
  2. Lack of Intimacy and Emotional Connection: Intimacy and emotional connection are essential components of a healthy marriage. If you and your partner have lost this connection, it may be a sign that your marriage needs reevaluation.
  3. Infidelity: Infidelity can be a major breach of trust in a marriage. While some couples are able to work through infidelity, for others, it may be a deal-breaker.
  4. Different Goals and Values: It's important for couples to share similar values and goals for their future. If you and your partner have different priorities and aspirations, it may be difficult to find common ground and move forward together.
  5. Lack of Respect: Respect is a crucial component of any relationship, and if one or both partners have lost respect for the other, it can be difficult to repair the damage.
  6. Emotional or Physical Abuse: Any form of abuse, whether it's emotional or physical, is unacceptable in a healthy marriage. If you are experiencing abuse in your marriage, it's important to seek help immediately.
  7. Tips for Navigating a Divorce
  8. Ending a marriage is never easy, but there are steps you can take to make the process smoother:
  9. Seek Professional Help: Consider working with a therapist or counselor to help you navigate the emotional challenges of divorce and provide you with the support you need.
  10. Communicate with Your Partner: Communication is key in any relationship, even when it's ending. Try to have open and honest conversations with your partner about why you feel the marriage is not working.
  11. Consider Mediation: Mediation can be a helpful way to work through the legal aspects of divorce and come to an agreement without going to court.
  12. Put Your Children First: If you have children, it's important to put their needs first and make decisions that are in their best interests.
  13. Take Care of Yourself: Divorce can be emotionally and physically draining, so make sure to take care of yourself by exercising, eating well, and getting enough rest.

References

In a recent episode of Custody Queens, Laura Rhodes-Levin, a therapist, talks about how to navigate divorce and co-parenting. She offers helpful tips and advice for those going through this difficult process, and her insights can be valuable for anyone considering divorce or struggling to co-parent after a separation.

Conclusion

Ending a marriage is a difficult decision that requires careful consideration and thought. If you find that you and your partner are no longer compatible or are experiencing significant issues that cannot be resolved, it may be time to consider divorce.

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Divorce and Credit Repair: How to Rebuild Your Credit After a Divorce

Divorce is a difficult and emotional process that can have a significant impact on your credit score and overall financial health. When a marriage ends, it's not just a matter of dividing assets and going your separate ways. You also need to consider how the divorce will affect your credit and what steps you can take to repair any damage.

In this blog, we'll explore the impact of divorce on your credit score and offer tips on how to rebuild your credit after a divorce. We'll also provide some helpful resources and references, including a recent episode of Custody Queens featuring special guest Sandra Ruiz from fixyourcreditconsulting.com.

The Impact of Divorce on Your Credit Score

When you get married, your credit histories become intertwined. Your credit scores are based on the information in your credit reports, which include your credit history, payment history, and other financial behaviors. When you get divorced, your credit score can be affected in several ways:

  1. Joint Accounts: If you and your spouse have joint accounts, such as credit cards or loans, you are both responsible for the debt. If one of you fails to make payments, it can negatively affect both of your credit scores.
  2. Debt Division: During a divorce, debt is often divided between the two parties. If you are responsible for paying off a significant amount of debt, it can impact your ability to make payments on time and negatively affect your credit score.
  3. Income Changes: Divorce can also result in significant changes to your income, which can impact your ability to make payments on time and manage your debt.
  4. Credit Utilization: When you get divorced, you may need to rely more heavily on credit to cover expenses. This can increase your credit utilization, which is the percentage of available credit that you are using. High credit utilization can negatively impact your credit score.

Tips for Rebuilding Your Credit After a Divorce

If your credit score has been negatively impacted by a divorce, there are several steps you can take to rebuild your credit:

  1. Check Your Credit Reports: The first step in rebuilding your credit is to check your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Look for any errors or inaccuracies and dispute them if necessary.
  2. Close Joint Accounts: If you have joint accounts with your ex-spouse, it's important to close them as soon as possible. This will prevent any further damage to your credit score if your ex-spouse misses payments or runs up debt.
  3. Create a Budget: Developing a budget can help you manage your finances and make sure you're making payments on time. Consider working with a financial advisor to create a budget that works for you.
  4. Make Payments on Time: Payment history is one of the most important factors in your credit score. Make sure you're making payments on time and in full each month.
  5. Consider Consolidating Debt: If you have multiple debts with high-interest rates, consolidating them into one loan with a lower interest rate can make it easier to manage your payments and reduce your overall debt.
  6. Build Your Credit: If your credit score has been negatively impacted by a divorce, it's important to start building your credit as soon as possible. Consider getting a secured credit card or becoming an authorized user on someone else's credit card to start building your credit history.
  7. Seek Professional Help
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Understanding and Preparing for a Move-Away Case

A Move Away case is one where a parent seeks to relocate to some other geographic area with a child they share with a parent who will remain local. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in requests for consultations and representation in move-away cases. Some of the requests are due to the simple desire to leave California and reside in another state. Others have job opportunities in another state, or would like to be closer to family. We’ve also received requests from parents who would like to oppose the move-away request by the other parent. Whatever the case may be, understanding the intricacies and legalities of move-away cases is paramount to prevailing in such a case and often that is concurrently doing what is best for the child.

What is a move-away case?

A move-away is a particular type of custody case where two parents have a dispute or disagreement about what's going to happen with their kid(s) when either parent is going to relocate and there is an existing custodial arrangement. For example, they've got a schedule, maybe the parties have been separated for a couple years, or even a few months, but they have an existing de facto or status quo custodial relationship. The arrangement, or custodial relationship, could be 50/50, it could be 80/20. Or it may not be a percentage of time, but something like a set number of days during the week, and alternating weekends. When the kids are typically younger in age it is optimal, from a psychological developmental perspective, for a shared arrangement to grant more time to the parent who has more capability to be home and care for them (if such a circumstance exists).

Whatever the very legitimate and appropriate reason for the existing arrangements, whether by court order or not, the court will make a decision, or the parties have made a decision, that the existing arrangement is in the best interest of the child. A move-away case is a significant undertaking that happens with some frequency--And that frequency is increasing with today’s societal mobility, economic uncertainty, the ability to find more “virtual” employment opportunities, new relationships being formed from long distance, and ever changing migration patterns.

There is an abundance of law from the state of California, that relates to how the court should handle these cases, so that they're handled consistently the same. Yet the tactics and strategies exist that increase the probability of success, whether seeking to relocate with the child(ren), or opposing such a move.

How does a move-away case differ from a visitation case?

Custody time (also called “time-share”) is a plan for how the parents will share time with the children. This may also be referred to as “custody time” or “visitation” or the like. It is a shorthand way to refer to the amount of time a child is with each respective parent. Such court orders vary, depending on the best interest of the children, the situation of the parents, and other factors. If the case is more about minimal schedule changes, it's not a custody case. It's what we call a time-share type case. These cases are typically easier to resolve because we're not talking about a dramatic change in a custodial arrangement.

What many parents fail to understand…

The foundation for every custodial arrangement is what is in the best interest of the children, which includes relocation. So often, parents talk about “my time,” and they use the word “my kids”. They assert that they are entitled to “their rights”. Those parents are incorrect, and will face tremendous challenges if they are involved in litigation. Custody matters will always be about what's best for the children. The law starts from a presumption that frequent and continuous contact with both parents is what is best for the children. Many people confuse that to be a presumption that this naturally equates to a 50/50 arrangement. This is simply not true. There are so many factors involved in determining what is best for the child, outside of the parents’ opinions. The decision needs to be carefully made by the court in order to avoid having detrimental effect on the children, or impede the other parent's ongoing relationship and access to the child.

Some things courts will consider when determining move-away requests:

  • Which parent (if either) has an actual, or de facto, primary custodial relationship prior to the requested move
  • The good faith reason for the move (ex. job opportunity) -not designed to simply get away form the ex spouse (this is in turn mitigated if there is a history of Domestic Violence)
  • Distance of the move being considered/requested and the logistical issues raised include travel time, cost, etc.
  • The child’s age can be a large factor in the judge’s decision as it may be more difficult for younger children who haven’t had proper time to develop parent/child relationships-or older children who while more physiologically and psychologically developed and bonded have concurrently formed strong bonds with friends, schools, extended family, etc.
  • Any history of violence within the household(s)
  • The current and historical relationship between the parents
  • Ability to maintain proper medical treatment at both locations
  • The parents’ ability to Co-Parent or a lack of willingness to do so
  • The “best interest” of the child
  • The child’s preference and feelings about the move (depending upon the age)
  • An overall assessment of the “detriment” of the move. This issue was given overriding importance in the most recent California Supreme court case on this subject. In such cases, even where a permanent custody order is in place, the custodial parent’s right to relocate with a child remains subject to the changed circumstance rule. (In re Marriage of LaMusga (2004) 32 Cal.4th 1072) 1088-1089 (LaMusga).

It is important to note the individual elements referenced above are not necessarily equal, nor determinative. The court will look at the totality of the circumstances in assessing the best interest and detriment.

Here in Southern California, a classic example of a move-away could be any distance greater than 30 miles, say Orange County to Riverside County. While this doesn’t seem like a huge distance, commute time needs to be taken into consideration. The freeways are often heavy with traffic and while the distance isn’t tremendous, the time it takes to travel between the two areas could frequently be over two hours on any given weekday. The commute is going to impede a parent from being able to spend enough quality time with the children. More importantly, how is that drive going to affect that child? Is it going to affect the ability of a parent to pick up on Friday evening? This kind of move would also potentially mean a change in school districts and various other factors.

Here’s where it gets complicated…

Once the relocation is defined as a move-away, things can get really, really complicated. Sometimes the status quo may not contain a court order that grants parents the ability to relocate. Some attorneys who craft judgments (and some people without attorneys) don't put all of the necessary language outlined in their judgments into their court orders, relative to custody. As is such, it may be possible that a parent could move and then change visitation later on. It's also possible that doing so could have negative consequences. This is one reason why it is critical that you have a discussion with a competent family law attorney to talk about your options, in your case.

What if there isn’t a court order in place for custody?

The following is a hypothetical situation: Two parents are unmarried and they're already living apart. There is no court order in place for custody of their child. One parent decides that they want to relocate with their child. They decide that they're going to go ahead and move to New York without consulting an attorney.

Guess what is likely to happen in this instance.... The other parent (more likely than not) is going to run into court and ask for an emergency order to have that parent, either not relocate with the child or immediately return the child. The parent who has already moved to New York, has probably settled in, secured employment and has started their new life. However, the court can effectively change the custodial arrangement because the first parent acted improperly and failed to do things the right way.

It's imperative to get a plan in place and follow the plan. The commonly used colloquialism that sometimes “It’s better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission” may work--or may lead to disastrous consequences.

How does a parent looking to move away get permission if they need it?

First, they will need to create a paper trail and reach out to the other party stating intent to move. Ask them what their thoughts are on the matter. It may be received well, it may not. Regardless, communicating the intent, (or possible intent,) in writing is always the first step. If they don't ask and just rush to court, then the court is going to think badly of that person for not asking or trying to work it out with the other parent. This is true whether the parents have court orders or not. Someone who is still in an intact relationship and simply takes off in the middle of the night with the child to a far away place is equally subject to an adverse consequence. While a history of Domestic Violence may mitigate this, it may not eliminate it.

A key point to keep in mind is that the court has no authority to tell a parent that they cannot move. Every adult in the United States has an absolute, unrestricted right to travel. The government cannot say that a parent can't move; that they have to stay here and take care of the children. In fact, what the court does when they engage in a move-away, is start with the presumption that the move is happening. They make orders based upon that expectation. The order will either be that the children move with the parent who is relocating, or that they stay with the non-moving parent. Then arrangements for visitation will be made accordingly.

Move-away cases are not a quick and easy process

Whether or not there is a custody order in place, a plan is needed. After step one, it might be time to file the move-away request with the court. If it is a full on move-away case, it's probably going to take quite some time to get the hearing on it and get it done. That means going to court, certainly doing mediation at court, possibly doing a custodial evaluation, setting the matter for an evidentiary hearing with witnesses and cross examination, dealing with cancellations and postponements that are rabid in the court system, particularly with COVID, and finally, having the hearing and getting a court ruling. And even if the parties get a court ruling, thee law of California mandates that the parent is not allowed to move for 30 days after that ruling. This can really drag out and parents really need to plan for the long haul.

How long does it take to resolve a move-away case?

This depends on the courthouse. If the case is being processed within the public court system, then parents at the mercy of the court. There may be shutdowns because of COVID. It may also take awhile if a psychological evaluation, referred to as a “730 Evaluation,"  is required. There may be a trial set for three days on a move-away case, and then some other case bumps it, and it gets postponed for another two or three months. A short time period might be six to nine months, while a long time period might be a year and a half or more, because of how the legal system works. This is why it is important to get started with the process as soon the parent thinks that they will be moving. Parents should always make a plan and seek legal counsel before they accept a job out of state, buy plane tickets, or hire movers. Then again, bad advice can set you back both in time and in the ultimate likelihood of success.

No two move-away cases are alike...

Please remember, every move-away case, like every custody case, is different. There are unique aspects of each and every one. The one thing that always remains the same is that ultimately, this is about what's best for the children. If the parents have a good co parenting arrangement, that can serve as a basic foundation for resolving things amicably. However, parents should only do so after consulting with competent counsel.

If you are contemplating a move and want to do things the right way, please reach out to us as soon as possible. Our team has extensive experience with move-away cases and we can help you plan for this impactful life change in a way that keeps your children the priority and offers the best possible outcome for your family.

PLEASE NOTE:

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. It does not create an attorney/client relationship in any way, shape or form. The Custody Queens, a division of Holstrom, Block and Parke, are attorneys at law, licensed to practice in the state of California and have based the information presented on US laws. All cases are different and nothing in this content is intended to suggest any particular result for your matter. Custody Queens has no control over and accepts no liability in respect of materials, products or services available on any website which is not under the control of Custody Queens. Certain links in this website may lead to websites which are not under the control of Custody Queens, or Holstrom, Block and Parke, APLC. When you activate these website links, you will leave the Custody Queens website. Therefore, we have no control over and accept no liability in respect of the materials, products or services available on the third party websites, which are not under control of Custody Queens. There is no substitute for seeking out advice from a competent Family Law professional and you should always consult with an attorney before you rely on this information.

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Tips For Creating A Holiday Parenting Plan or Order

It's the most wonderful time of the year...it’s also the busiest and can be the most stressful time for families with parents who are separated or divorced, and have to figure out how to make sure that the children spend time with both parents. Creating a holiday schedule doesn’t have to be a source of stress for parents and children. In fact, the purpose of having a schedule or court order in place ahead of time is to alleviate frustration, confusion and chaos. These things enable both parents to plan for their major holidays respectively, while ensuring that the children have adequate time with each parent and the sense of security that comes with having a well communicated, mutually agreed upon plan. Children have so many expectations and emotions tied to holidays, due to the traditions and memories created. No child wants to spend the holidays, after a separation or divorce, listening to parents argue, being put in the middle of parental squabbles, or being made to feel guilty for spending time with one parent over the other parent. Parents should work together to mitigate anxiety and negative emotions for their children, while preparing them for new traditions and schedule changes in a way that reassures them that the holidays will still be memorable and a positive experience. The Custody Queens have some valuable tips for parents who want to navigate the holiday season as peacefully as possible by creating a plan that works for everyone, especially the children.

  1. Plan ahead. Do not wait until the last minute to start a conversation with the other parent. This needs to be well thought out and planned for in advance of the holiday so that plans can be communicated with the children.
  2. Be specific in crafting court Orders, but remain open to flexibility in practice. Having a specific court Order can help manage expectations and mitigate stress. On the other hand, remember life happens and being flexible with the other parent can be more practical and help foster a genuine co-parenting relationship.
  3. Accept that holidays will generally be split. This is really a conversation about how to arrange the time. Some suggestions on how to do this are:
    1. Alternating holidays (i.e. In odd years one parent has Christmas Eve and the other parent has Christmas day. In even years, the parents switch days.)
    2. Split the day between both parents (i.e. The first half of Thanksgiving Day is spent with one parent, the second half of Thanksgiving Day is spent with the other)
    3. Schedule the holiday twice. As parents, we can observe holidays on alternative days. For example, often separated parents observe their child’s birthday on a different day so that both parents get to celebrate. What child doesn’t want two birthdays?!
  4. Address travel. Will arrangements be needed for transportation and what time will need to be allotted for this? Who will be making these arrangements and paying travel expenses?
  5. Keep the children out of it. Even if you disagree, do not bring your children into the dispute—children want to celebrate holidays, not inherit your stress.
  6. Itemize which holidays need to be addressed in the Order. Some families celebrate only major holidays; others celebrate additional days/school break days/etc…Consider the type of schedule you have. If you exercise joint physical custody, do you really need to recognize all non-major holidays? The answer is sometimes yes. However, consider that with a joint physical arrangement, exercising non-major holidays does not provide you with additional time—it provides you with adjusted time that may cause unnecessary disruptions to an otherwise consistent schedule.
  7. Be efficient. Consider negotiating/agreeing on the entire year’s holiday/special day schedule at the same time. There is inevitably going to be more passion related to the holiday which is right in front of you (i.e. Christmas Eve or Christmas Day). Rather than having 8-9 different negotiations every time a holiday is approaching, just sit down, and agree on whatever split works best for your family for the entire year. If you don’t have your preferred schedule for this year, ask to reverse the schedule on alternating years so that it is consistent and your children get the opportunity to experience each holiday with both sides of the family.
  8. Special requests. If the other side has a request, do not refuse it just for the sake of refusal. Consider asking for an accommodation on your own special requests when negotiating.
  9. Identify your family’s unique needs. If you have them, include them in the plan or Order.

Now is the time to get your plan or orders in place to ensure that everyone has a peaceful holiday. For more tips on thriving during the holiday season, please read our blog post on Tips for Co-parenting Around The Holidays. With good communication, a willingness to compromise and proper planning, your holiday can be a lot less stressful and a lot more merry. Be sure to follow us on social media for daily posts and more.

PLEASE NOTE:

The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. It does not create an attorney/client relationship in any way, shape or form. The Custody Queens, a division of Holstrom, Block and Parke, are attorneys at law, licensed to practice in the state of California and have based the information presented on US laws. All cases are different and nothing in this content is intended to suggest any particular result for your matter. Custody Queens has no control over and accepts no liability in respect of materials, products or services available on any website which is not under the control of Custody Queens. Certain links in this website may lead to websites which are not under the control of Custody Queens, or Holstrom, Block and Parke, APLC. When you activate these website links, you will leave the Custody Queens website. Therefore, we have no control over and accept no liability in respect of the materials, products or services available on the third party websites, which are not under control of Custody Queens. There is no substitute for seeking out advice from a competent Family Law professional and you should always consult with an attorney before you rely on this information.

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In the News: Read Kristen Holstrom's Profile in VoyageLA

Custody Queens founder and managing attorney Kristen Holstrom was profiled by VoyageLA, the flagship publication of Voyage Group Magazines, a lifestyle publication with an editorial focus on independent entrepreneurs, artists, and local institutions that make our cities exciting to live in.

VoyageLA: Kristen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.

KH: I knew that I wanted to be an attorney since I was about 12 years old. I started out pretending to be my father’s secretary... Read the full profile in Voyage LA

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Proud to Be Here: My Journey Into Family Law

My journey to becoming an attorney was never easy, nor was it what most people would consider typical or ideal. Like so many others who decided to go to law school, I wanted to choose a career where I could genuinely make a difference in people’s lives.

Growing up in a Filipino family, I was (of course) encouraged to become a nurse. I could help others, have a stable job, and still make a difference. However, I always knew that nursing wasn't a career that I wanted to pursue. I was consistently hospitalized when I was younger due to my chronic asthma and have a fear of blood and needles. Hospitals are the last place I want to ever want to step foot in.

I was raised by a single mother and saw everyday how hard she constantly worked in order to send me to private schools in Los Angeles and essentially give me everything she wasn’t able to have in the Philippines. During my childhood, I wondered where my father was, why he never cared to be in our lives, or why, at the very least, he couldn’t assist us financially. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I could not rely on my father in any aspect to be there for my mom and I. That was a fact I easily accepted, because at the end of every day, my mom was I all I needed to be happy and succeed. When you have a generally small family, they are the most important aspect of your life and you would do anything and everything for them. It wasn’t difficult for me to decide that I wanted a career that involved supporting families in every possible way.

Family Law? Are You Sure About That?

When I decided I wanted to pursue family law, I was immediately met with questions and comments such as, “Are you sure about that?” “Family law is so stressful.” However, there is something about family law that sets it apart from different practice areas. You meet clients at the most vulnerable time in their lives and their only recourse is to seek help from the courts. I have worked in various civil litigation firms and assisted on cases with million dollar settlements. Yet no matter how much money we were able to obtain for a client, at the end of the day, it always came down to a single paycheck. Family law is real, personal, and at times messy, but you have the opportunity to help clients who truly need legal advice and change their lives for the better.

As much as I studied during Bar exam prep and so wanted to be “One and Done,” I struggled with passing the Bar. There were times where I questioned whether I made the right career choice. However, I was raised to never give up on my goals, chose to be resilient during times of trial and adversity and constantly reminded myself of why I decided to go to law school in the first place and certain events during my family law internship.

For the first two years of law school, I interned for the San Diego Volunteer Law Project dealing specifically with child custody and domestic violence cases. I spent at least three days a week at the Family Law Courthouse and assisted those who could not afford an attorney and other legal services. I witnessed first-hand how so many people were overwhelmed by the legal system and only wanted to find stability and peace in their lives. Each person I met had a different story and not one day during my internship was the same. I was determined to do anything I possibly could to help those who were experiencing the most trying and difficult times in their lives, whether it was simply assisting in completing confusing forms or drafting declarations that fully articulated how they felt, the unfortunate events that families and children had to endure, and what they wanted from the court.

Changing Lives for the Better

I will never forget one particular client who made a significant impact on my decision to practice family law. One client was faced with father’s move-away request to Mexico, and wanted to ensure that her child would stay in California, and safe from an abusive father. I spent an entire morning just speaking with her and getting all of the facts of her case to draft her declaration. The court ultimately denied the move-away request and the child would remain in California with her mother. I continued to see our client in the courthouse throughout the year due to modifications of custody and support, and every time I saw her the following year, she remembered me and thanked me for helping her. Every time, without fail, she was genuinely grateful for what we had done for her and her family; and for that, I could not have imagined a better position to be in.

Working at Holstrom, Block and Parke as a Custody Queens attorney gave me the opportunity to work with and learn from the best, most knowledgeable, and empathetic family law attorneys. The attorneys always plan multiple steps ahead of a case, consider every possible outcome, and are blatantly honest with clients during a time when they need it the most. From my first interview with Kristen Hostrom to simply being in the office, it is abundantly clear how passionate each attorney is about their clients and how they genuinely want the best outcome for their families.

I recently observed my fellow attorney Samantha McBride in court for a contentious custody case that involved a father’s false allegations of child alienation against her out-of-state client. Sam zealously advocated for her client, thoroughly explained the parties’ prior history of co-parenting without a court order, and utilized her extensive knowledge of the law and Family Code to show that it was in the child’s best interest to remain with her client out of state. At the end of a multi-day evidentiary hearing, the court ruled in Sam’s client’s favor, awarding her primary physical custody of the child. We walked out of the courtroom and I was fortunate to witness tears of joy and the abundance of gratitude Sam’s client had for her. At that moment, I immediately thought back to my experience as a legal intern in San Diego and felt privileged to have seen Sam attain the best outcome for her client.

Needless to say, working at HBP, especially with both Kristen and Samantha, solidified my decision to practice family law. I’m extremely grateful and fortunate to be working with a group of people who sincerely care about all of their clients and tirelessly work day in and day out to get the best possible outcome for their families.

About the Author

Custody Queens attorney Melannie Suba was admitted to practice law in California on July 14, 2020. She received a Juris Doctorate from Thomas Jefferson Law School in San Diego, and takes pride in delivering accessible legal services to clients, and has experience working on cases involving child custody, divorce, and domestic violence restraining orders.

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