Category: Co-Parenting

Looking Ahead to Summer 2020 and Covid-19’s Impact on Summer Vacations

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Senior Associate- Marissa Del Mauro

Written by Marissa Del Mauro

With Memorial Day just around the corner, a weekend that has long been hailed as the unofficial start to summer, we are now looking ahead to how this Summer 2020 will be unlike one neither we nor our children have ever experienced. With some parks and golf courses now open, and with hopefully a path to reopening of the Jersey Shore, how do we navigate this in the wake of the standard two weeks of summer vacation each parent gets with their children each summer? And what happens for those who have already booked domestic or international trips for the summer?

It is important, first and foremost, to place your child’s best interests at the forefront. That may mean, for Summer 2020, to reschedule domestic and international travel, and to stay up-to-date on all travel advisories.

According to Travel and Leisure, some major airlines have instituted required face mask policies, instituted social distancing by limiting the number of passengers on flights, and some major hotel chains have touted their new hygienic protocol and innovated a new check-in experience[1].

When faced with any disagreement on travel destinations, dates of travel and the summer parenting schedule during this upcoming and unprecedented summer, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney to help guide you to a fair, reasonable and expeditious resolution of this matter that ultimately protects your children.

For more information regarding the effects of Covid-19 on summer vacations and parenting time in New Jersey contact the Law Office of Lyons & Associates, P.C. At the law office of Lyons & Associates, our team represents parents throughout New Jersey. We place a premium on personalized service and attention. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail, visit our website, or call our office at 908-575-9777.

[1] Eric Rosen, Here’s What Summer Travel May Actually Look Like, According to Experts, Travel and Leisure (May 13, 2020), https://www.travelandleisure.com/travel-tips/travel-trends/summer-travel-predictions-coronavirus.

Co-Parenting a Child with Special Needs

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Co-Parenting a Child with Special Needs

Divorce can be stressful for the children involved, but this is especially true when the children have special needs. While all divorcing parents must find a way to put their children’s needs ahead of any animosity toward their ex-spouse, parents of children with special needs have an even more pronounced obligation to be open to working together for the good of their special needs child.

Experts often advise divorcing parents to focus on what is best for their children when making childrearing decisions. This advice is the perfect starting point for any co-parenting arrangement, but a divorcing couple with a special needs child has additional requirements for cooperation as well.

Create a Parenting Plan

A clear parenting plan provides a list of agreed-upon priorities for both parents to use as a guide to keep them on track to provide their children the best care possible. Parenting plans should include a list of your parenting goals, such as supporting your child’s efforts in school, recreational activities, and social engagements.

As parents of a special needs child, your parenting plan should address such issues as education, diet, and medical or behavioral treatment plans, including therapy appointments and home modifications to accommodate your child’s needs. The plan should address these immediate needs, as well as a long-term care plan for your child’s future.

Strive for Consistency

Children with ADHD, Autism, or anxiety disorders often find comfort in consistency. Divorce upends a lot of the consistency in a child’s life, so it is important to create stability where you can. Routines help and having a consistent schedule for morning, bedtime, and homework routines can provide a sense of comfort. Discipline and other parenting approaches should also be streamlined where possible. A professional can help determine what concessions should be made by both parents to help them stay focused on the outcomes most beneficial to their child.

Share Tips and Work Together

In many families, one parent acts as the primary caregiver. That can work when the marriage is intact, but when the family is split between two homes, the primary caregiver parent should be willing to work with the ex-spouse to make the child’s life comfortable in the secondary home. While it may make sense for the primary caregiver to request a larger share of custody, it can still help to provide helpful advice for the times when the other parent has the child.

Child Support

Raising children is expensive. The added costs of accommodating a child with special needs can become overwhelming if the costs are not shared. The child support arrangement should address the added costs of your child’s special care.

Somerville Child Support Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Arrange Support for Special Needs Children

In families of divorce, parenting responsibilities are usually a major ongoing concern. Divorcing parents have additional concerns when it comes to caring for a child with special needs. The Somerville child support lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. help families figure out the best way to work together to support the needs of their children by working out a feasible parenting plan and a fair child support arrangement. Contact us online or call us at 908-575-9777 to set up a free consultation. With offices in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.

Co-Parenting Through the Holidays

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Co-Parenting Through the Holidays

Woodbridge child custody lawyers help clients develop co-parenting for the holidays.Every family has their own holiday traditions, and most experience some form of stress during this time of year. This is particularly true for separating or divorced spouses and their children. Those that are facing the holidays for the first time after separating may feel even more anxiety, but there are ways to keep the holidays happy for everyone.

New Traditions

Rather than focusing on past difficulties, separated and divorced parents can concentrate on establishing new traditions that still incorporate treasured memories. Having the same decorations, spending time with grandparents, and attending religious services can remain part of the festivities, but certain things will have to change.

No holiday season is perfect, and strict rules about how to celebrate no longer apply. The most important tool is a positive outlook along with keeping the children’s best interests at the forefront. In these situations, it is vital to receive ongoing feedback from your children and to take their input to heart.

Sharing Holiday Time

A key way to successfully share the holidays is to carefully plan ahead and be willing to make adjustments. Some ex-spouses live close to one another and can split the holidays in half; for example, the children can have brunch with one parent and dinner with the other. Some holidays are more easily divided, with one parent hosting Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas Day.

Other options include assigning fixed holidays where the children spend the same holidays with the same parent each year. Alternating holidays also works well for some families. Naturally, there will be some disagreements as to who spends time with whom, but keeping calm and showing a willingness to compromise will smooth the process along.

Quality Time

Many parents admit to overscheduling their children, and the holidays are no exception. Children need down time, especially during this busy time of year. Setting aside a few hours to relax at a movie or enjoy a peaceful meal with family and friends can reduce stress levels and build long-lasting bonds.

Ex-spouses that feel a need to outdo one another during the holidays may want to scale things back a bit to preserve everyone’s sanity. A more laid-back approach could be the best thing for the family, and the children may appreciate it. It is also important to schedule personal time for yourself during this hectic time of year.

Woodbridge Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Develop Parenting Plans for the Holidays

If you are struggling with co-parenting issues, the experienced Woodbridge child custody lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. can help. Call us at 908-575-9777 or complete our online form for a free case evaluation today. Located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.

Co-Parenting Tips for a Happy Halloween

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Somerville child custody lawyers have co-parenting tips for a happy Halloween.Seeking candy and fun on Halloween does not have to be difficult for divorced parents. In fact, it can still be a treat for both parents and their children. Following a few simple guidelines helps eliminate the challenges for everyone involved by ensuring the night has a happy ending.

Talk About Which Neighborhood the Child Will Visit

Unless parents are still residing under the same roof, they may be living in differing neighborhoods. Therefore, they need to decide where the child will trick or treat before the day occurs. They should also coordinate schedules if one parent is not scheduled to have the child for the night but wants to participate.

Some communities celebrate Halloween on different evenings. This can be a huge benefit for divorced parents and their children because they can enjoy two different trick or treating experiences. If children want to trick or treat with their friends, parents need to remain flexible. Parents may also need to accept that their youngsters may not want to trick or treat at all or would prefer to go to a friend’s party.

Get on the Same Page with Plans

Divorced parents should avoid turning costuming their children into a war. Even if one parent expects a child to dress a certain way, the parent may have to adapt to the child’s decision. Plus, a parent who typically makes all the Halloween costumes may not be able to do it this time around. The goal should be to talk to the child and the other parent, not make assumptions. Children have their own ideas when it comes to costumes, and they may be ready to tackle their costumes themselves, regardless of what their parents expect. Separated parents who do not get along may want to divvy up the trick or treat trail with their child instead of risking an angry confrontation. The less friction that happens during the walk around the neighborhood, the better.

Put Your Children First

Above all else, parents who have gone through a divorce since the prior Halloween have a responsibility to be the adults in the room. Everything has changed for the children, and they may feel as if their world has become unstable. Having a Halloween adventure plan that focuses squarely on the children’s needs and safety will go a long way toward showing them that they can still have amazing experiences despite their new household situation.

Somerville Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Clients Negotiate Holidays

If you are dealing with child custody issues or have concerns, contact a Somerville child custody lawyer at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Call us at 908-575-9777 or fill out an online form for a free consultation. Located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we work with clients throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains.

Back to School Co-Parenting

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Back to School Co-Parenting

Bridgewater family law lawyers assist clients with back to school co-parenting. The beginning of a new school year can be a stressful time for students and their parents. As children get ready for new changes and routines, co-parents may find new challenges arise. Setting the right tone for the school year begins by remembering the following important tips.

Anticipate School Year Needs

Preparation is an important part of transitioning to back to school routines. Prior to the start of the school year, co-parents should make decisions on how custody modifications, parenting time changes, and payment of school expenses should be handled.

Common questions that arise during back to school time include:

  • Which parent is purchasing or paying for school supplies, including school clothes?
  • How school information will be communicated to both parents throughout the year?
  • Where does the child go on scheduled days off?
  • Who will be responsible for dropping off or picking up at extracurricular activities?
  • What will happen to the child if the school day is cancelled or delayed due to bad weather?
  • Who will pay for extra tutoring if needed?

Reviewing these areas prior to the start of the school year can help avoid future disagreements.

Communicate Expectations

Miscommunication can result in unnecessary conflicts. By avoiding assumptions and communicating school year expectations, parents can make sure everyone, including the school, teacher, and child is on the same page. The start of the school year can cause emotional or behavioral challenges for children. Communicating any changes in a child’s moods or usual activity level with the other parent can ensure these types of issues are addressed immediately.

If both parents want to receive their own copies of important school materials such as calendars or report cards, this expectation needs to be shared with the appropriate school authorities in the beginning of the school year. Most schools will be open to sending home multiple copies when notified in advance of the family situation. Some families create a shared calendar using online options like Google Calendar, OurFamilyWizard, or Cozi to track important school deadlines and events. Parents can also obtain their own user name and passwords for online grades and activities.

Keep the Goal in Mind

Both parents must remember that a successful school year for their child is the goal. Using changes caused by the new school as leverage in custody disputes rarely is in the best interest of the child and can lead to deep distrust and the other parent’s unwillingness to cooperate in the future. By presenting a unified front on the importance of homework and other school rules, the child ultimately benefits.

Allowing both parents to be actively involved in their child’s education will benefit the entire family. This includes planning ahead so both parents can attend important school functions including parent-teacher meetings, concerts, sporting events, and awards ceremonies.

Revise Parenting Plans

Often custody and visitation agreements need to be modified to accommodate sports practices, music lessons, and other school activities. To protect the rights of both parents, changes to existing parenting plans should be made formally in writing with the assistance of an experienced Bridgewater family lawyer.

Bridgewater Family Law Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Protect the Rights of Divorced Parents Throughout New Jersey

At Lyons & Associates, P.C., our dedicated Bridgewater family law lawyers handle divorce, child custody, child support, visitation, and alimony issues for families throughout New Jersey. With offices conveniently located in Somerville and Morristown, New Jersey, we proudly represent individuals throughout Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, and Morris Plains. To schedule a free initial consultation with a Bridgewater family law lawyer today, call us at 908-575-9777 or contact us online.

Work Schedules and Child Custody

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Work Schedules and Child Custody

Woodbridge child custody lawyers help draft enforceable parenting time agreements.After a divorce, sharing custody of the children can be complicated, especially if both parents are working. Shuttling children to and from activities and between homes while holding down a job requires real time management skill and a solid parenting time schedule. If you are in the process of working out a parenting time agreement, it is important to be informed as you do so.

The parenting plan is part of the custody arrangement and is a legally enforceable document. It should ensure that both spouses have their allotted time with the children. A parent who knowingly takes time away from the other by not following the time schedule is endangering his or her future rights to custody.

Important Elements of an Effective Parenting Plan

Of course, at the heart of the parenting time schedule are the needs of the children. The schedule should outline in writing what kind of third party child care arrangements are acceptable, and any plans for after school. If you or your ex has an emergency, there must also be contingency plans for what happens with the children.

Most parenting time schedules also include a provision for the right of first refusal. This means that if for some reason you cannot exercise your timeshare rights, you must first ask the other parent to take the children before using a childcare service.

To help both parents in planning, it is useful to utilize an online calendar sharing application. These are commonly available and an effective way to communicate schedule changes. Information is readily visible to both parties and simplifies the process of combining the schedules of multiple adults and children.

Ideally, the parenting time schedule should be custom tailored to you and your family so that it is feasible given the demands of your work schedule. You may want to enlist the help of a skilled child custody lawyer whose experience can help you make a solid plan that accommodates your needs. Travel time, both parties’ work schedules, school schedules, and the children’s wishes should all be taken into account. Remember that failing to adhere to the arrangement means there could be a court order against you. Under severe circumstances, you can lose your parenting time and jeopardize your custody rights.

It makes sense to craft a parenting time schedule that will be successful rather than having to spend time and energy later amending one that did not work out as expected. Hiring a lawyer with extensive knowledge of child custody laws in New Jersey to assist in creating a solid parenting time schedule can save you from future heartache and disappointment.

Woodbridge Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Help Draft Enforceable Parenting Time Agreements

If you are going through a divorce in New Jersey and have questions about child custody and parenting plans, the experienced Woodbridge child custody lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. are ready to help you. Call 908-575-9777 for a free consultation or contact us online. Our offices are conveniently located in Somerville serving clients in Somerset, Woodbridge, Morristown, Parsippany, Rockaway, Short Hills, Chatham, Randolph, Madison, Morris Plains, and throughout New Jersey.

Children Need a Relationship with Both Parents

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Mendham family law lawyer advocates for a shared parenting plan after divorce.Written By: ChrisAnn Wright, Esq.

Very often I will hear parents say “Well, a daughter should be with her mother” or “A boy needs to spend time with his father.” According to the experts, children need time with both parents, regardless of whether the child is a boy or a girl. In the Time Magazine article “It Doesn’t Take a Man to Raise a Boy” by Michael C. Reichert, April 11, 2019, the author states that he is often questioned regarding teenage boys and the relationship a boy has with his father. Mr. Reichert states boys need to have both mother and father in their lives as each gender offers a child different types of support.

A mother tends to listen more closely to what her children have to say and acknowledge and validate their feelings. A father, on the other hand, may be better able to help his son deal with peer pressure, since he has been through similar situations growing up. Bottom line: As parents we all have strengths and weaknesses that help shape our children. It is important for parents to use their strengths and weaknesses to guide their children together, whether parents are living together or separate and apart.

According to N.J.S.A. 9:2-4, “The Legislature finds and declares that it is in the public policy of this State to assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage and that it is in the public interest to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy.” In other words, the Courts are to promote and preserve the relationship between both parents and their children and encourage parents to continue do so once divorce proceedings end.

While every family situation is unique, it is not uncommon for both parents to want to be involved in their children’s lives. The Mendham family law lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C., we can help you make sure that you stay involved in your children’s lives even after you’ve been divorced. Here, at Lyons, we place a premium on personalized attention for your personal matters. For a private consultation, contact us by e-mail or call our office at 908-575-9777.

The word “co-parenting” is becoming more common, but what exactly does it mean and is it truly obtainable?

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Somerville family law lawyers help their clients with an obtainable co-parenting agreement.Written by: Sara E. Kucsan, Esq.

As discussed in my previous blog, co-parenting is the sharing the duties of parenting. Mashonda Tifrere, Swizz Beatz’s ex-wife, wrote a book regarding how she learned to co-parent with Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz by blending their separate families into one large family. After reading Blend: The Secrete to Co-parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, I absorbed four core pillars to blending two families and effectively co-parenting: 1) communication; 2) empathy; 3) acceptance; and 4) focus.

  1. “Empathy is using your imagination to adopt another person’s perspective and becoming sensitive to the experiences that have influenced that perspective.” – Blend: The Secrete to Co-parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, pg. 112

Mashonda Tifrere discusses the empathy she felt for Alicia Keys because they had similarities. The most noteworthy similarity Mashonda Tifrere saw was that Alicia Keys loved her son and that Alicia Keys was committed to her son.

After two people get a divorce, parental duties that are usually shared will become divided: homework will still need to completed, instruments will be played, and memories will still continue to be made. Co-parents recognize the importance of these seemingly mundane day-to-day activities and they prioritize them. An example that Mashonda Tifrere provides is Alicia Keys attending a parent-teacher conference: this seemingly mundane activity demonstrated to Mashonda that Alicia was dedicated to her son and Mashonda was not negatively impacted by allowing Alicia to be present.

Like most step-parents, Alicia did not ask to raise another women’s child, but Alicia took the responsibility of co-parenting seriously, committing herself to ensuring Mashonda and Swiss’ child succeeded and grew in a loving home.

Lyons & Associate focuses its practice on family law and family law related issues. If you or someone you know is interested in effectively co-parenting their blended family, then please call the skilled attorneys and mediators at Lyons & Associates, P.C., at 908-575-9777 or contact us online. The attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. have substantial expertise zealously advocating for children’s best interest and mediation.

Co-Parenting for Your Kids

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Somerville child custody cawyers at Lyons & Associates help parents construct agreements regarding co-parentingWritten By: William P. Lemega, Esq.

By definition, getting divorced means to legally dissolve one’s marriage to another. If the desire for a divorce is mutual, along with that dissolution is a wish to move on with your life without the involvement of your former partner. However, if you have children together, the paramount concern of both parents should be the well-being of their children (both throughout the divorce process as well as afterward). This means you must be able to respectfully communicate with your ex in a way that meets the needs of you children, which is a task easier said than done.

Co-parenting is not easy. What can be easy is letting your hatred for your ex overcome your actions while the needs of your children take a backseat. It’s important to always remember that children need parents to work together to make decisions based on the children’s best interests, not the parent’s.

Keeping your emotions in check and being able to effectively discuss and resolve disagreements (and there will always be disagreements) is foremost to effectively co-parenting. Instead of thriving off the drama of confrontation with your ex and casting blame, which only creates disarray in the lives of the children, take a step back and understand that the better the relationship with your ex, the more positive experiences your children will have to share with both of you.

Somerville Child Custody Lawyers at Lyons & Associates Help Parents Construct Agreements Regarding Co-Parenting

What’s most important is that you have a custody and parenting time arrangement that is properly detailed and worded to encourage effective co-parenting. If you or someone you know has questions about properly structuring and entering a custody and parenting time agreement that will facilitate the needs of your children first, contact one of the skilled attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. at 908-575-9777. You can also contact us online.

The word “co-parenting” is becoming more common, but what does it mean and is it truly obtainable?

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Somerville family law lawyers guide parents in finding an equitable co-parenting solution.Written by: Sara Kucsan, Esq.

Co-parenting is the sharing the duties of parenting. Mashonda Tifrere, Swizz Beatz’s ex-wife, wrote a book regarding how she learned to co-parent with Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz by blending their separate families into one large family. After reading Blend: The Secret to Co-parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, I absorbed four core pillars to blend effectively and co-parent: 1) communication; 2) empathy; 3) acceptance; and 4) focus.

“Hello, how are you?” – Blend: The Secrete to Co-parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, pg. 157

Effective communication between all of the co-parenting adults starts with ‘love, understanding, and patience.” Page 156. Mashonda discusses how she sent a simple text to Swizz, “Are you free to talk?” (page 80), which led to an open discussion about concerns and goals for their son. Mashonda advises her readers the importance of checking your tone of any speech, emails or texts, as the opening sentence can steer the course of an entire conversation.

Often times after a divorce, ex-spouses struggle to communicate with one another. This struggle usually trickles down to lack of communication with an ex-spouse’s new significant other. In Blend, Mashonda Tifrere utilizes every opportunity to remind her readers that open and effective communication can prevent misunderstandings and can provide realistic expectations. Mashonda Tifrere writes how, once she began to have open conversations with Alicia Keys, she was able to see that Alicia wanted similar things for her child and that Alicia would respect the parenting choices she and Swizz made. As the communication between the two women grew, it enabled the two families to have a more cohesive plan for the children.

Once a divorce is finalized, both parties have anger and animosity to some extent; however, with open communication regarding your feelings and your child(ren) feelings, that animosity will slowly begin to fade. Co-parenting will not be possible if the adults are unable to have valuable conversations and refrain from emotions dictating their actions.

Lyons & Associates focuses its practice on family law and family law related issues. If you or someone you know is interested in effectively co-parenting their blended family, then please call the skilled attorneys and mediators at Lyons & Associates, at 908-575-9777 or use the online contact form. The attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C. have substantial expertise zealously advocating for children’s best interests and mediation.