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Miami Divorce Law Blog

Parenting agreement: Court approval and violations

When you create a parenting agreement, you do so with the idea that it will keep both you and your ex-spouse on the same page in regard to how you raise your children. While that's the goal, it doesn't always work out that way.

A parenting agreement is submitted to a judge for final approval. After approval, you and the other parent are required by law to follow the terms and conditions outlined by the agreement, such as those associated with parenting time.

Offering your children reassurance during divorce

Divorce is a challenging process before you take into consideration the impact on your children. When you bring them into the equation, you have more things to think about.

Even though divorce is never easy on children, there are things you can say to ease the pain and remove some of the stress from their life. Here are five things you should consider saying:

  • You didn't do anything wrong: Regardless of their age, it's natural for children to assume they did something wrong. It's your responsibility to let them know this isn't the case.
  • Don't hide your feelings: Your children should never have to hide their true feelings from you or anyone else. Let them know it's okay to feel however they feel.
  • I'm there for you: Depending on age, your children may feel that they are more alone than ever. Be clear that you're there to provide them with whatever they need.
  • We'll get through it together: This is something you can say to ensure that your children never feel alone. Let them know that divorce is difficult on everyone, but that it's nothing that all of you can't get past.
  • Both of your parents still love you: Just because you don't get along with your ex-spouse, that doesn't mean your children have to take sides. Let them know they'll always be loved by both of you.

Co-parenting mistakes: They’re common but you can avoid them

There's nothing simple about co-parenting. Even when you feel good about where things stand, you know that something could go wrong in the future. This is why you always need to be on your toes.

Despite the fact that there are many common co-parenting mistakes, the right strategy and approach can help you avoid each and every one. Here are a few to watch out for:

  • Putting your children in the middle: Don't ask your children for information on the other parent, such as if they are dating. Don't tell your children about all the bad things the other parent has done to you. It doesn't always sound harmful at first, but putting your children in the middle will come back to haunt you in the future.
  • Turning your children into messengers: It's up to you and your ex-spouse to find a way to communicate. If you can't do so in person or over the phone, opt for email or text messages. This is much better than asking your children to carry messages back to their other parent.
  • Fighting against flexibility: Yes, you have a parenting agreement in place. And yes, you should follow it as closely as possible. However, maintaining some sense of flexibility is critical. Things can and will happen that impact your schedule. Flexibility can help both parents better raise their children.
  • Always looking for a fight: You're still upset about your divorce, so you look for reasons to argue with your ex-spouse. It's tempting, but don't let this get in the way. If you do, it'll bog down your ability to successfully co-parent.
  • Fighting in front of your children: There will be times when you have disagreements, but you never want to argue with your children around. This puts them in the middle, and that's not a good place for them to be.

Are you familiar with these common divorce myths?

Once you decide in favor of divorce, it's imperative to learn more about the process and what's expected of you. Also, separating fact from fiction as soon as possible is of utmost importance.

Here are five of the most common divorce myths, all of which could hold you back from moving forward in an efficient manner:

  • You can't always get what you want: Even though a judge has to grant you a divorce, you're not likely to be turned down by the court. This holds true even if your spouse wants to work things out.
  • Your children get to choose who they live with: If your children are old enough, their thoughts will be taken into consideration by the court. However, the court makes this decision based on what's in the best interest of your children.
  • Every divorce is ugly: Even if you aren't getting along, it doesn't mean your divorce has to be full of hostility and blame.
  • You won't get anything: The property division process is often a sticking point, as this is when you work with the other person to determine who gets what. While you won't get everything, you can negotiate to secure your fair share.
  • Most divorces end up in litigation: This isn't true, as many people are able to work through their differences in mediation.

Parallel parenting: Tips for getting started

Going through a divorce with children is a difficult task. Not only do you have to care for yourself, but you need to do whatever it takes to shield your children from the stress and impact of the divorce process.

Once your marriage is officially in the past, you'll turn your attention to co-parenting. While this works for many people, you may find it impossible to get along with your ex-spouse. In this case, parallel parenting is your next best option.

Common divorce mistakes you don’t want to make

Once you decide to divorce you'll soon realize you're moving in the right direction. However, you're a long way off from putting your marriage in the past. You still need to make your way through the divorce process, which means avoiding a variety of mistakes that could set you back.

Here are three divorce mistakes that you don't want to make:

  • Ignoring the future. You get so caught up in the here and now that you ignore the impact of your decisions on your future. For example, the assets you secure in your divorce today could impact you later, such as forgoing fighting for retirement savings.
  • Big lifestyle changes. There will be plenty of time to make changes to your lifestyle once your divorce is complete. Don't rush to buy a car or home or start dating again.
  • Neglecting your finances. Regardless of your situation, you can expect your finances to change after you divorce. For instance, if your ex-spouse was the primary breadwinner, you'll need to adjust your budget post-divorce to ensure that you have enough money to get by.

How can you make your divorce as simple as possible?

There is nothing simple about the divorce process, but there are steps you can take to avoid complications that will slow you down. By moving forward in an efficient manner you'll find yourself with less stress and anxiety.

Here are several of the best ways to simplify your divorce:

  • Gather all the necessary information: Once you know you're moving forward with the divorce, it's time to collect information such as pay stubs, debt statements, bank account information and tax returns.
  • Close joint accounts: Any purchase made from a joint account during the divorce process will cause problems. Avoiding these are as simple as closing these accounts.
  • Know your goals: You have an idea of what you want to accomplish, so write down both your short- and-long term goals as to keep you on track.
  • Create a budget: Divorce will alter your finances in many ways, so you need a budget to put your mind at ease. Have a clear idea of your income and expenses after your divorce.
  • Use a property division and debt checklist: List out all your assets and debts, as this gives you a clear idea of what you'll have to negotiate with your soon to be ex-spouse.

Will you avoid these prenuptial agreement slip-ups?

Deciding to create a prenuptial agreement is a big deal, as both individuals need to agree to the terms and conditions. Furthermore, there are things you can and can't include in the agreement, so knowing the legalities that govern this type of document is critical.

Here are five prenuptial agreement slip-ups to avoid:

  • Forcing the other person to sign: You can work with your soon to be spouse to create a prenuptial agreement, but you can't do so on your own and force this person to put their name on the dotted line.
  • Forgetting to sign the agreement: A prenuptial agreement is a contract, meaning both individuals must sign and date. If they don't, it may be considered void in the future.
  • Adding provisions for child custody: For example, you may want to include language saying that you'll receive physical custody of any children in the event of divorce. You can't do this, as custody is granted based on the best interests of the child at the time of the divorce.
  • Adding child support provisions: Just the same as custody, you can't add any language about who will or won't pay child support. It's up to the court to decide.
  • Chore requirements: You can't state that one person will be responsible for particular chores, such as cleaning the house, cutting the grass or taking the kids to school.

Divorce, property division and financial assets

Going through a divorce means you'll have to divide property and debt. Property division negotiations are never easy, but with a bit if compromise and the right approach, you can settle on an agreement that works for both individuals.

When preparing for property division negotiations, don't focus all your time on tangible assets such as the family home, cars and jewelry. These things are important, but you need to turn just as much attention to the many financial assets you hold with your soon to be ex-spouse.

Do you know how to create a post-divorce budget?

Going through a divorce will change your life forever. Even if you're glad to put your bad relationship in the past, you need to plan for everything that will change in the future. This includes your finances.

A post-divorce budget is critical to your long-term financial success. When it comes time to create a budget, here are five things you should do:

  • List all your income and expenses: Don't cheat yourself here. Accuracy is important when listing your income and expenses, as this will dictate many big decisions down the road.
  • Track everything: With a budget in place, it's time to start tracking your income and spending. This will help you determine if you're on track or need to make changes.
  • Revise as necessary: If you're spending more than you earn, make immediate changes to avoid this in the future. The longer you wait to adjust your budget the more trouble you'll find.
  • Hold yourself to it: A budget isn't something you create today and forget about tomorrow. If you want to keep your finances in order, you must "hold your feet to the fire."
  • Pay yourself first: You need to pay your expenses, but you must also save money for the future. Setup your budget so you're able to pay yourself first.

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From our law offices in Miami, Florida, we represent clients in North Miami, Miami-Dade County and throughout the South Beach area.

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