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Newark Family And Estate Law Blog

There is nothing easy about separating families, especially when these separations involve children. However, there are ways to make the process easier.

In fact, many courts want to see children spend quality time with both parents, and if the separation is not amicable, child custody transitions can be challenging. Therefore, these are a few co-parenting tips that should process easier for you and your children.

Maintain open, effective communication

Divorce often results from poor communication practices in the marriage. If you and your former spouse have difficulty communicating, you can experience child custody and co-parenting challenges. However, you should agree on major issues, such as education preferences, healthcare and mental health. Also, set guidelines for friends, schedules and appropriate behaviors.

Find the most effective method of communication, e.g., phone calls, in-person meetings or text messages, and create an open dialog. Share your children’s highs and lows with each other, solve problems together, and never argue in front of your children.

Build a consistent schedule

Agree on a set schedule in your parenting plan. Then, keep it. If an emergency comes up, be amenable, and if you want to change your custody periods temporarily, give your co-parent enough notice to make arrangements.

Keep accurate documentation

For legal purposes, you should document every visitation and interaction with your children and co-parent. However, you should also write down information about your children to share with your spouse. For example, if you find that your child is allergic to foods, insect bites or vegetation, it is vital that you document and share this information with your spouse.

To create a positive co-parenting environment, foster quick, positive child custody exchanges, but protect your children by leaving major discussions for private conversations. Set aside your hurt and anger, and focus on your children’s needs.

If you need to pay child support, it is imperative to stay current and understand all of your options. Aside from potentially modifying your child support order in the wake of major financial changes, it is important to have a clear understanding of other child support issues, such as your payment options.

In California, many parents who owe support have payments taken directly from their wages through an income withholding order. However, you might have to find another way to pay if you do not have a withholding order due to self-employment or you lose your job.

Different ways to pay child support

California Child Support Services provides information on your child support payment options. You can use your credit card, debit card, savings account or checking account to pay support online, over the phone or in person at a child support agency kiosk. However, you should note that credit card and debit card payments result in service fees.

You can also pay support using cash by visiting a child support agency or certain retail locations located around the state. However, if you pay at a retail location you should pay attention to processing times and convenience fees. Furthermore, you can mail a money order or check to the state.

Finding the right child support payment method

It is crucial to go over your options if you need to find a different way to pay support since this can make it easier for you to stay current. Make sure you weigh the advantages and possible drawbacks of each child support payment option and make payments on time to avoid serious penalties.

No one expects to suffer debilitating injuries from a vehicle accident or to fall into a coma that could last indefinitely.

However, if the unexpected happens, your powers of attorney (POA) for healthcare and finances will provide the assistance you need. When is the best time to draft a POA?

About POAs

A power of attorney allows the person you choose to act as your agent and make healthcare or financial decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so. A durable POA becomes active as soon as you sign it in your capacity as the principal. The POA for healthcare enables your agent to make medical decisions for you. The POA for finances gives your agent the authority to balance your checkbook, pay your bills, file your taxes and make financial decisions on your behalf.

Creating your documents

The earlier the better is the idea to keep in mind with regard to creating your healthcare and financial POAs. First, an accident or severe illness can strike regardless of age causing incapacitation. Second, the possibility of some level of dementia becomes a consideration as the years pass. You must be mentally competent to establish and sign a power of attorney document.

The proactive approach

Owing to circumstances beyond your control, you may not know your POAs have gone into effect and that your agent has stepped up to manage your healthcare and financial decisions. But your mind will be at ease once you create these documents, and should your care ever become an issue, your family will avoid the expense and complexities of obtaining guardianship.