People often ask me if they have to move out of their house once a divorce is filed.
Three years ago, Governor Jay Nixon signed into law a "Shared Parenting" bill, known as HB 1550, which basically stated that it is in a child's best interests to have both parents in his or her life.
Now there is another that was discussed in the Missouri House and Senate over the past term, but may pick up traction when they reconvene after the summer. This bill gets a lot more specific and actually will mandate courts to start with a presumption that parents should emerge from a divorce or custody case with each side having 50% custody. The presumption is that it is in a child's best interest that the parents will share equal time with the child, however, a judge can look at a bunch of factors and possibly determine that the 50/50 schedule is NOT going to be in a child's best interests. So, if you are going through (or about to go through) custody litigation, how can you best optimize your chances to have 50/50 custody with your "co-parent"?
There are often hard feelings between couples after they split up and their children can get caught in the cross fire.If you are one of those parents, this can make co-parenting extremely difficult and stressful, for both the parents and the kids. I got to sit in on a mediation a social worker was doing with two parents to come up with a custody schedule and I got to see how she went through a specific communication plan with them as well.
Once you go from being a couple to being co-parents, you need to look at it like a business transaction. There is probably no place for emotions to get involved when dealing with the other parent. However, if you are sharing custody, whether it is joint or sole legal custody, communication is very important. And parents should never be communicating about adult issues through the kids.
I am not particularly interested in the Jolie/Pitt divorce from a celebrity standpoint, but as a divorce attorney the ups and downs and drama is something that I see with some of my own clients, just on a much larger (and far more expensive) scale. Interestingly enough, the resolutions are not all that different than what I would have predicted with my own clients, which shows that people are all basically the same, even if they play superheroes in movies and have billions of dollars and perfect bodies.
This is a reprint from a NY Times article by Paul Sullivan in the "Weath Matters" column on July 27, 2018:
People thinking about a divorce don't always get the best guidance from others when they are starting on their journey. Well meaning friends, family members and unscrupulous attorneys may mislead you without even meaning to. So here are some important things to think about if you are thinking about going down this path:
Looming End of Alimony Write Off has Divorce Lawyers Telling Clients to Act Fast
A reprint of an article by Taylor Pittman for Huffington Post.