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Rhode Island Family Law Blog

A parenting agreement will help you after divorce

Even after your divorce is finalized, there's a chance you will still have contact with your ex-spouse. This is absolutely the case in the event that you have a child together.

Since co-parenting can be full of many challenges, it's imperative to create a parenting agreement that suits both individuals. Most divorcing couples are able to create a parenting agreement through mediation, as opposed to litigation. When working through this process, there are many details to consider.

Don't forget about your reward programs as you divorce

Amid the negotiations with your spouse over child custody, alimony and property division, it's easy to overlook some valuable assets. Among these are airline frequent flyer miles and reward points.

If you and your spouse have spent your marriage flying around the country and, perhaps, overseas on business, you've likely accumulated many thousands of miles — possibly even millions — of unused frequent flyer miles. You may have accumulated additional miles just by using airline credit cards.

What you should know about seeking a custody modification

It's not uncommon for child custody agreements to be modified over the course of children's formative years. What was best for your young kids when you divorced may not work as they get into their teen years. Perhaps kids' lives get too filled with extracurricular activities to be moving back and forth between homes every few days. Sometimes kids go through phases where they simply need or want to be with one parent more than the other.

Further, parents' circumstances often change. One parent may move some distance away. Another parent may remarry.

What parenting schedule is best for 50-50 custody?

You and your soon-to-be-ex have agreed to share custody of your children equally. The next thing to do is put a parenting schedule in place. Your kids need that so they can regain some predictability in their lives. It's also important for your own schedule to know when you'll have the kids, when they'll be with your co-parent and when you'll be picking them up or dropping them off.

The two most common parenting schedules for 50-50 custody are biweekly and 2-2-3. Which one of these you choose or whether you and your co-parent create your own unique routine will depend on multiple factors, including your kids' ages, their extracurricular activities and how far apart your two homes are.

Helping your adult children deal with your divorce

Over the past two decades, the divorce rate among couples in their 50s and older has almost doubled. Many of these couples don't have young kids or even teens, so they don't have to worry about custody division and child support issues. However, these couples often have young adult children who will feel the impact of their parents' break-up, even if it doesn't impact their daily lives.

There are a number of issues that divorcing parents with adult kids need to think about and work together to minimize as your family moves forward. First, don't be surprised if the divorce hits your kids hard. They may be angry at one or both of you. They've always known their parents as a couple, and they probably assumed that since they made it this far, they'd always be together. The shattering of this assumption can be difficult for them.

Planning a summer vacation with your child after divorce

Most people look forward to summer because that is when they take their annual vacations. If you're planning a big trip in the near future, you probably have made a lot of plans. This is particularly true if you're divorced and want to take your child with you.

With a parenting agreement in place, you should have a clear idea of what you can and can't do in regards to vacationing with your child. Even so, you may need some further guidance.

Don't let divorce derail your kids' college dreams

If your kids are very young when you divorce, paying for their college education may not be uppermost in your mind at this time. However, divorce can have a devastating impact on their goals if parents don't include college savings provisions in their divorce agreements.

Even in-state public university expenses (including tuition, room and board and other costs) run an average of almost $21,000 a year currently. Private colleges, of course, can be significantly more costly.

Helping your teens through your divorce

As a divorcing parent, you may be more worried about how your younger children are dealing with the break-up than your teenagers. After all, teens are old enough to understand at least some of the factors that lead adults to end their relationships. Further, they have the communication skills to express their concerns and ask questions that your little ones don't.

However, parental divorce can be extremely stressful on teens -- particularly if they're already dealing with problems with friends, peers, teachers and their own boyfriends or girlfriends. Often, teens' feelings about their parents' divorce manifest in anger. Sometimes their school work suffers. They may lose interest in sports and other extracurricular activities.

Is your co-parent guilty of 'voluntary impoverishment?'

Divorce can bring out the worst in people. Sadly, some divorced spouses take out their feelings about their ex on their children.

One strategy for doing this is something called "voluntary impoverishment." This refers to when people earn less than they're capable of earning or, perhaps more commonly, hide income to avoid paying the child support they've been ordered or agreed to pay. State child support enforcement agencies like Rhode Island's Office of Child Support Services take the failure by parents to pay child support very seriously.

Women are increasingly paying their husbands alimony

We often hear of women paying alimony to their ex-husbands only when they are extremely wealthy. For example, earlier this year it was reported that "Modern Family" star Julie Bowen's estranged husband was seeking support from the actress, who earns somewhere around $500,000 per episode of the hit comedy.

However, almost half of family law attorneys responding to a recent survey reported that they're seeing more cases where women are asked to pay alimony. Over half are seeing an increase in child support requests of female clients.

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