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10 Pro-Tips

Custody/Divorce

Hi!

We hope these tips help you save stress, time, money and if you are a parent, they help you have significant custodial time with your child.

TIP 1:   

Divorce is one of the most emotionally difficult events a person can endure.

You and your ex shouldn’t allow it to be financially devastating as well.

Legal fees in the Northern Virginia Area range from $285 to $650 per hour.

Litigation can drive ANYONE into the poor-house.

Try to be reasonable and SOLVE your differences with your ex.

TIP 2:

Never spend money, in legal fees or otherwise, to get even or be right.

Never.

TIP 3:

Kids come first.

As a co-parent one must put the aggression, competition and pettiness in the past and parent with one’s ex like a rock-star.

That’s what you should expect of yourself, your family-law attorney should expect of you and what your child or children deserve.

TIP 4:

One won’t fair well, in my experience, in front of our family-law judges if their communications with the other parent are snippy, overly-polite, sarcastic, finger-pointing, blame-gaming, gas-lighting, selfish, and mis-focused on the parent’s own interest BEFORE the child’s. This type of parent is not really trying to co-parent but instead is really trying to “win” some “point” about the other parent being “bad” or a “liar” or in some way “unfit” because of something being blown way out of proportion. This type of behavior can, in my experience, lead to less custody and time with one’s child.

TIP 5:

Don’t involve kids in adult problems.

Don’t alienate.

Don’t withhold.

Don’t be a drama llama.

Don’t seek a Protective Order for advantage in your divorce.

TIP 6:

The more your lawyer does – the more it costs.

I have NEVER met a client that loves or even likes litigation. I have met plenty that SAY they want to litigate.

However, in my experience, the suffocating stress that comes with litigation tends to make clients edgy ALL THE WHILE wiping out their retirement accounts.

Most clients think they will get it back in awarded attorney’s fees. Well, maybe. No guarantees though.

TIP 7:

Be kind to the other parent even though you don’t want to be.

This does not hurt your case – it strengthens the argument that you are the reasonable one.

TIP 8:

Be the reasonable one and compromise, A LOT!

Do not keep score.

TIP 9:

When the other parent is running late, is a jerk, tries to tell you how to parent, sends kid back without any of the stuff the kids went/were sent with and is just being an overall nuisance do not respond in kind.

You have to respond as if they are the JUDGE IN YOUR CASE because that is the ONLY audience you care about when writing your communications to the other parent. Be polite, not weird and appropriately mature in your response.

TIP 10:

EXAMPLES OF HOW TO COMMUNICATE WELL WITH THE OTHER PARENT:

  1. Example #1  -Other parent sends a text saying “Sorry Sheila – Gonna be 20 minutes late to drop the kids off!”

DO: “No worries Jonathan! I’ll grab something while waiting! Take your time.”

DO NOT: “Sure, why not Mr. President Jonathan? Scott and I were just sitting here doing nothing. Yep, nothing to do here because we are not important like you! So please Your Highness, whenever you deem it CONVENIENT for you to bring the children back we peons will be waiting, doing NOTHING and just happy to be in your PRESENCE again, Mr. President. OH AND by the way…this is only the 18th time you have been late in a row. I’m sick of it! YOU DON’T CARE ABOUT ANYONE but yourself JONATHAN CLEMENTINE JONES. You are a NARCISSIST! And I don’t like my kids around your mom. THAT WOMAN spanks my kids. Tell her to stop. Or I will go back to court…so help me! And I'm telling my lawyer right now. And calling the police for a WELLNESS CHECK."

  • Another example:

You want to swap or get more time with your kids(s) to do something special with them – on a day that is not yours on the custodial schedule:

DO reach out like this: “ Hi there! Hey, Miss Sheila how about we swap Wed. for next Sat so Katrina and I can take the kids to the Newseum to see the Exhibit that will be off display by Sunday. Or are you & Scott planning on taking them or somewhere or have plans already? Please let me know at your soonest. Also, please let me know if a different night would work better instead. Hey, I know you met Katrina last time but did you want to grab a coke with us at next drop? I’ll bring the kids and everyone drinks from McD’s. Thanks. Jonathan.”

DO NOT: Good Evening Sheila. I'm being overly civil b/c my lawyer said I had to be. Advise your husband to stop contacting me and my fiance. We want NOTHING to do with either of you. We know you dropped your brother, Johnny on his head when he was 5 months old and that to this day, Johnny does not forgive you for that! He told me at his 35th birthday last week. You weren't even invited were you? Can you blame him? SHEILA, this is my FORMAL REQUEST - I WANT the children on Saturday. You MAY REMEMBER that I allowed you to see the children for an extra hour last Saturday because your Mother was in town? Even though your Mother says TERRIBLE THINGS ABOUT ME IN FRONT OF AND TO ALL OF THE CHILDREN! Make her stop this SHEILA! I EXPECT you will return my courtesy and allow me this formal request. AND IF YOU DO NOT, I shall cut off the children’s phones so you can NO LONGER facetime with them. Sincerely, Jonathan."

Good luck and hope these tips help you!

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