Sunday, August 30, 2015
As kids return back to school, it's important for moms and dads to each be actively involved at the school whether it's signing up to bring snacks for the class, scheduling parent-teacher conferences or just checking in with the school. Oftentimes, one parent relies on the "other parent" to communicate how the child is doing in school, when the child is late or absent, or school events. This is a minefield rife with frustration for the communicating parent who is tired of being the communicator and the recipient of the communication who feels there isn't enough communication or that isn't timely. All parents have the right to talk with school officials and to receive information unless the controlling order says they don't have a right. The best way to stay involved is to get involved at the outset beginning with Parent Teacher night. Introduce yourself or make time to talk with the teacher if you were unable to attend. Let the teacher know that Jimmy has two homes and that you are excited about the upcoming school year and would love to help out. Above all, do not talk negatively about the other parent. If the school doesn't already have a copy of your order, provide one to them so that if the need arises, the school has what they need to assist both parties and to avoid disputes.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Ms. Cochran recently hosted a Lunch and Learn, entitled "Learn a New Way to Communicate with a Difficult Ex" for women who are in the midst of a high conflict divorce or custody suit. The Lunch and Learn featured pampering at a glamorous studio where the women received beauty tips from Teresa Danforth, an Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. She spoke to the women on the Power of Lipstick and how looking good on the outside can inspire confidence on the inside. Ms. Cochran spoke about high conflict and how what you do or don't do can make or break your case in litigation especially when it comes to the best interest of children. Mary Katherine Kaiser, a Counselor and Psychotherapist, lectured the group on how to effectively communicate with a high conflict personality in difficult situations or when emotions are high. Ms. Cochran is working on a series of lectures to educate her clients and the community. Stay tuned!
Saturday, May 30, 2015
This post is a follow up to my previous post about designating summer possession. Summer camps are often a hot button issue for co-parents who are struggling to get along or who are very territorial about "their" time with the kids in the summer. As most parents know, premium camps require registration earlier in the year - January, February, March which is earlier than the standard language in most divorce decrees or final orders in which the noncustodial parent must designate his/her extended summer possession by April 1st. If the noncustodial parent fails to designate at all, then the default is typically July 1 - 31st for the noncustodial parent. Prime camp time. This creates pressure on the custodial parent (and the children who enjoy camps) to assume the risk of that the noncustodial parent will designate (or default to July 1-31) his/her time to be DURING the camp time and the ultimate disappointment of the children if they cannot attend. This disappointment could also be misdirected at the noncustodial parent who is simply following the court order. The wiser course of action is begin talking about camps as early as possible, maybe even a year ahead of time so that that everyone is happy in the summer.
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
It's that time of year to file tax returns and to designate periods for summer possession and vacation. Most orders provide that the non-custodial parent, let's say John, must notify the primary parent, Jane, by April 1st of when and how he plans to exercise his 30 days of summer possession (if he has a standard possession schedule). He can choose 30 consecutive days or he can break it up into two periods such as 1 week/3 weeks or 2 weeks/2 weeks. If John does not notify Jane by April 1st, then his extended summer possession defaults to the period of possession outlined in the order which is normally the entire month of July. Then Jane must notify John of two weekends that she wants in the summer during his regular possession and extended summer possession. For example, if John has the kids during the entire month of July, Jane can designate July 4th weekend as the weekend that she chooses to exercise. She can also designate a weekend of John's regular periods of possession (1st, 3rd, 5th weekends) in June or August so long as she doesn't choose Father's Day. Please note that the above is based on Standard Possession language. Refer to your Order for specific provisions related to Extended Summer Possession. And remember, you and the other parent can always agree to a possession schedule above and beyond what is in the order, just be sure to get it in writing!