Articles Posted in Children

co-parenting-400-06522675dIn a co-parenting custody arrangement, parents work together to maintain equal roles in raising their children. Proponents of this arrangement believe it provides a healthy environment particularly for the children by minimizing the disruption to their lives. There are other benefits, too. For one thing, children are exposed to positive interactions between their parents rather than negative ones. This type of arrangement may also put less of a strain on relationships with extended family members if no one feels pressured to “take sides.”

Co-parenting requires a level of cooperation not all couples can achieve, so it may not be the solution for everyone. However, because of its potential benefits, it is worth considering provided the circumstances of your divorce permit. To learn more about how co-parenting arrangements can work, check out “Mayim Bialik gets real about co-parenting: ‘Divorce isn’t the end of family’.” The actress, currently appearing in the television hit, The Big Bang Theory, explains how she and her ex-husband have made co-parenting work for their family.

Photo of child holding cutouts of family separated by divorceDivorcing couples may severe ties with each other but not with their children — once a parent, always a parent. Children depend on mothers and fathers to fill certain roles in their lives and they see their parents’ relationships with each other as a partnership. When children watch that partnership dissolve through divorce, the impact on their emotional and psychological well-being can be great.

How parents decide to approach their divorce can help lessen the negative affect the divorce can have on their children. Whether the divorce is cooperative or contentious can influence the type of parenting plan the couple can hope to have. To learn more, read Dr. Jamie Williamson’s blog, “Marriages Dissolve, But Parenting Partnerships Are ‘to Death Do Us Part’…

coping-400-06888385dFor some people, divorce is the only solution to the problems in their relationship. Still, it is difficult for everyone involved as they adjust to changes in family finances and lifestyles. Children can be most affected since they very often don’t understand the circumstances that led to this change in their family life.

Children react differently to their parents’ divorce – some act out behaviorally at home or in school; others keep their feelings pent up, only for these feelings to surface at a later time in their development. Most parents go to great lengths to protect their children from being traumatized by their divorce. One of the best things they can do is consider their children’s needs first, according to Dr. Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of child psychiatry. To learn more about how you can help your child adjust to your divorce, read Dr. Pruett’s article, “Helping Children Cope With Divorce.”


custody-400-04369363dWhen facing divorce, many parents will go to great lengths to arrive at custody agreements that protect the daily routines of their children as much as possible. Allowing children to remain with the friends and schools they’ve become accustomed to can prove helpful as they adjust to their parents’ divorce. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.

Sometimes parents are faced with unexpected circumstances – a change in finances or employment, for example – that jeopardize their ability to live up to the terms of even the most well-planned custody agreements. Ignoring the terms spelled out in your custody agreement can have costly consequences, a lesson one New Jersey couple is learning the hard way. For details, read “Parents ordered to pay N.J. school district $55K tuition in residency dispute.”

One way to avoid a similar situation is to return to court to seek a new or amended custody agreement and keep the terms of the new agreement in mind when making modifications in your life to meet your changing circumstances.

bullying-400-05696906dMost people would agree that bullying needs to end. How to best accomplish this and protect our children is the question.

After a number of well-publicized suicides by victims of alleged bullying, New Jersey passed what has been referred to as the nation’s toughest anti-bullying legislation. The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights was adopted on Sept. 1, 2011 and replaced much weaker legislation that had been on the State’s books. The Bill attempts to prevent bullying through the education of students and school staff about what constitutes bullying; the creation of teams of school personnel and parents to whom these behaviors can be reported; and the investigation of all reported acts of bullying.

Some may say New Jersey’s law is too rigorous, while others may think it doesn’t go far enough. Consider the case of one Wisconsin town that recently made the news by passing legislation allowing for parents of children found guilty of bullying to be fined. Read “Wisconsin Town Will Fine Parents of Bullies $366” to learn more about this most recent anti-bullying measure.

Joint Custody -- photo of pen and corner of eyeglasses lying on a Child Custody agreementDivorce may be the answer to a troubled marriage but when children are involved, the relationship between spouses never truly ends. Although divorce negotiations can sometimes be bitter, custody arrangements require cooperation if they are to work.

There are various forms of custody designed to suit the unique circumstances of individual families. However, most people believe that joint custody, if possible, is best for the children. For this, couples need to put aside their differences and focus on the needs of their children. To learn how to do that, read “9 Rules to Make Joint Child Custody Work.”

Child custody -- photo of girl with her back to camera staring out windowWhen it comes to making decisions regarding child custody matters, courts take into account the ‘best interests of the child.’ However, what is actually in the child’s best interest may not always be easy to ascertain. Consider this recent case out of California.

The Page family of Santa Clarita, CA, lost custody of a young girl they had been fostering since 2011 when the Department of Children and Family Services of Los Angeles County took her from their home last month and placed her with extended family in Utah. The reason? The girl has traces of Native American ancestry – 1/64th percent – and as such, the court ruled that her custody is determined by the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978. That Act states, in part, that Native American children should be kept with Native American families. For more details about this custody battle, read “6-Year-Old Girl Taken From Longtime California Foster Family for Being 1/64 Native American.”

Tri-parenting custody: photo of man and child walking in water along beachWith the growing acceptance of surrogacy, same-sex marriage and unwed relationships, the definition of family is not so simple these days. There was a time when family meant mother, father and children; today there are not only biological parents, but surrogate mothers, adoptive parents, and even psychological parents. This new definition of family may have opened doors for non-traditional couples looking to create families, but it raises greater questions of who has the right to custody if and when these relationships dissolve.

A New Jersey case recently released for publication concerns a group of three friends – one female and two males – who entered into what has been coined a “tri-parenting arrangement.” According to reports, the friends agreed to conceive a child using the egg of the female and sperm of one of the males, making them the child’s biological parents. The male’s same-sex partner was considered the child’s psychological parent and given an equal role in the child’s upbringing. In the beginning, all went well but everything changed when the female sought to relocate from New Jersey to California and bring the child with her.

The ultimate decision of who had rights to custody of the child was left to a New Jersey family court, which decided the issue based on the best interest of the child. To read more, see “‘Tri-parenting’ in New Jersey family court.”

grandparents-rights-400-06098211dIn an ideal world, grandparents and grandchildren share nurturing relationships that can prove beneficial for both generations. Sometimes, however, rifts in the relationship between the grandparents and their own children and/or their children’s spouses can adversely affect the relationship between grandparent and grandchild. In extreme cases, the courts may be called upon to determine whether or not the grandparent/grandchild relationship can be saved. In those instances, it may fall to the grandparents to show proof that preserving their relationship with their grandchild would be in the best interest of that child. See the New Jersey law case Major v. Maguire.

snow shoveling bill -- photo of person shoveling snow from walkway of a homeIt isn’t unusual in winter to see teenagers shoveling their neighbors’ sidewalks and driveways in exchange for a little extra spending money. In fact, most people would applaud these teens for their hard work. And if they take the initiative to schedule snow removal jobs in response to a snowy forecast, most people would congratulate them for their entrepreneurial nature; however, this advance scheduling could put them in danger of breaking the law. Some New Jersey lawmakers want to change that.

The State Assembly was expected to vote today on a bill, a version of which gained unanimous approval by the State Senate last May, allowing New Jersey’s teens to solicit snow removal jobs without regulation. This bill was drafted in response to an incident last January in which a couple of Bound Brook teens were stopped by local police from handing out flyers in their neighborhood announcing their snow removal services. According to reports, the teens were warned that their actions were in violation of the municipality’s anti-solicitation laws. To read more on this issue, read “Could your kids be breaking the law when it snows?