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Rhode Island Family Law Blog

Tips to prepare your children for divorce

You and your husband have known for some time that your marriage was coming to an end. Your children, however, are another story. Chances are that they have no idea it is coming. And while you have faith that your children will eventually adapt to the new situation, you know that the divorce process is going to be just as hard on them as it will be on you.

Just as you have taken steps to emotionally and financially to prepare yourself for the split, you will also need to take steps to prepare your children. Read further for some tips to help your children cope with your impending divorce.

Dealing with an ex who doesn't share your parenting style

Co-parenting after a divorce always has its challenges. You and your spouse take turns being single parents of sorts. Therefore, you likely find yourself making more parenting decisions than you did when you were married. This is a time when many people who left the discipline or other parenting issues to their spouse now have to step up and make decisions without someone else there to back them up.

Many parents find their parenting style for the first time after a divorce. However, what if that style clashes with your co-parent's? How do you provide consistency for your kids as they take turns living in each of their parents' homes?

Amelia Earhart's 'prenuptial agreement'

Prenuptial agreements are considered to be a fairly modern phenomenon. However, famed aviator Amelia Earhart, a woman ahead of her time in many ways, wrote her own version of a prenup more than 85 years ago.

Earhart's attempt to be the first woman to fly around the world ended when she and her navigator disappeared somewhere over the Pacific 80 years ago this month. A recently-discovered photo, however, indicates that the two may have survived a crash and ended up in the Marshall Islands, perhaps becoming prisoners of the Japanese military, even though she was declared to be dead in 1939.

Dealing with credit cards during and after divorce

An important part of financial independence after a divorce is managing your credit cards. Likely, you and your spouse have at least one or more joint credit cards.

That means that your spouse can rack up all sorts of debt on them that you'll be accountable for. That's why it's essential, even if you don't believe that he or she would intentionally put you in financial jeopardy, that you get a handle on your current credit cards and re-evaluate your credit card needs moving forward.

Review your parenting plan to make sure you understand it

After going through a divorce, you are probably ready to have some time away from your ex. If you have children, you might not be able to get this time because you and your ex will still have to deal with other when it comes to the children. There are several things that you can do to make this easier. Here are a few tips we have for you:

First, make sure that you understand the parenting agreement that now governs the situation. If there are any points that you don't fully understand, find out what they mean for you.

How to fairly divide retirement accounts in a divorce

The process of dividing assets is one of the most complicated parts of getting divorced. You and your former spouse will probably not agree on what is fair and who should get what. The greater the overall value of your assets, the more likely it is that you won't be able to agree without the intervention of the courts. Divorce in Rhode Island looks at all the assets acquired during your marriage, which are called marital assets. From your house and furniture to vehicles and retirement accounts, all assets will get compiled into a list for the courts, who must then decide how to divide them.

Who earned more money during the marriage won't factor into the asset division process. The courts recognize the fact that unpaid work, such as child care, cleaning, cooking and even emotional support of the working spouse are all critical to the process of accruing substantial assets. The courts generally consider the non-working spouse as entitled to a fair share of all assets, from the equity built into the home to the retirement account. Just because you didn't contribute to the account from a paycheck doesn't mean you didn't help contribute to the financial development of your marital assets.

Does your prenuptial agreement have a sunset clause?

Does your prenuptial agreement have a sunset provision? Many couples have language in their prenups that states that all or part of the agreement expires after a certain number of years. Often, it is 10 years, but it can be more or less.

These provisions are often requested by the spouse who has more money going into the marriage, perhaps as insurance that his or her spouse isn't just going to stick it out for a few years and then leave with a nice chunk of change.

Plan for vacation when you have a child custody order

Now that the busy vacation season is here, it is time for parents to make last minute plans for travel. When a parent has to deal with the conditions of a child custody agreement, this can be a bit more difficult than what it is for other parents.

Before you make plans to travel with your child, you should review the child custody paperwork. This can help you ensure that you are in compliance with the order. In some cases, you might have to alert the court or the child's other parent about the travel plans. Make sure that you do this in advance of the trip so that you can address any issues that might occur.

Dealing with your children's grief over your divorce

All responsible parents understand that a divorce can be difficult, sad and stressful for children, However, they may not consider that their kids are actually going through a grieving process. While a loved one hasn't died, they've lost the family dynamic they knew and having their parents together as a couple.

If parents recognize what their kids are experiencing as grief, complete with the stages involved in it, they can better help them. These stages are:

Keep separate property from commingling with marital

Couples who have accrued significant assets during their marriage often discover that the property settlement segment of the divorce is quite complex.

One issue that bogs down the process is when separately owned assets get commingled with marital assets. This can cause the separate asset — or a portion thereof — to become a marital asset, and subject to the asset division laws of Rhode Island.